5 Ways to Keep Your Construction Project on Track and Budget


Hiring a Quantity Surveyor (QS) and Project Manager (PM) is standard practice in construction projects. However, not all QSs and PMs are created equal. The difference between a project that meets its deadlines and budget and one that doesn’t often lies in the quality of these professionals and how well the process is managed.

We’re sharing common pitfalls in construction projects and how the right Quantity Surveyor (QS) and Project Manager (PM) can navigate these challenges successfully.

1. Not Involving a Quantity Surveyor Right From the Beginning

Common Pitfall: Projects often face early setbacks from unrealistic budgeting and planning. This usually happens when budgets are set before there is a full understanding of project scope, or when the QS is brought in after critical decisions are made such as starting the design process. 

Professional Solution: It is always best to involve a QS from the very beginning, to create thorough and realistic budgets that leave no stone unturned. It’s not uncommon to see 6 months of architects fees, to then find that because realistic cost discussions were not brought in sooner, that the drawings are not feasible – incurring more design fees and delays to the project. 

With all of that said, in the not ideal scenario when a QS isn’t brought in early, a good one should be able to assess the situation, identifying where previous planning has fallen short. They then work diligently to realign the project’s financial outlook, using their expertise to renegotiate costs, reassess and optimise resource allocation, and implement rigorous cost control measures. While not a perfect solution, a great QS can really turn the project around, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

2. Inadequate Risk Anticipation and Mitigation

Common Frustration: Not adequately anticipating and planning for potential risks can lead to costly project setbacks, as anyone who’s been involved in a construction project can attest to. These problems often come in when a Project Manager has missed important details in the early planning stages – sadly not an uncommon event. 

A Project Manager who doesn’t thoroughly understand current market conditions and supply chain constraints, or doesn’t use this information to manage risks, can leave the project open to unexpected costs and time delays. This not only jeopardises the project’s overall success but also demonstrates just how important it is to have a very good PM on the job. 

Expert Mitigation: A PM should proactively identify potential risks, including cost volatility and potential supply chain disruptions, and work with the project team to develop contingency plans. Thinking ahead and spotting potential issues before anyone else in the project team ensures the project is prepared for uncertainties, keeping it on schedule and within budget. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon to find issues continually taken to the PM by others in the project team that should have been seen, this usually happens when a PM has too many jobs on and simply can’t give the time to being proactive rather than reactive.


3. Project Changes That Aren’t Managed Well

Typical Scenario: Unanticipated changes or scope creep can quickly derail a project, often due to the absence of a structured change management process.

Professional Approach: By implementing a robust change management framework from the start, an experienced QS ensures that all changes are accurately costed, and the PM ensures these changes are reflected in the project plan. It sounds simple, but projects often falter when there’s a delay in updating the project plan to reflect changes. This level of rigor in managing changes is crucial for maintaining project integrity and preventing costs from spiralling.

For example, regular cost updates are critical. If your quantity surveyor isn’t consistently updating and reviewing project costs, you might encounter significant budget spikes and situations where the design ends up driving the costs out of control, rather than the costs guiding the design.

However, this ideal scenario doesn’t always occur, especially if the QS lacks experience or isn’t paying close attention. Treating the project merely as a series of numbers, without anticipating or accounting for potential changes, they might overlook critical details. This oversight can lead to a rush to address issues later on, potentially derailing both the budget and the project timeline.


4. Poor Communication and Co-ordination

Frequent Issue: Misalignment among project stakeholders is perhaps the most common cause of delays and budget overruns. This frustrating scenario often results from inadequate communication skills from the PM. Symptoms like waiting for updates, not receiving regular check-ins, and having to chase for information are signs that the PM may not be effectively managing the project.

Solution with the Right Team: The right PM prioritises clear, frequent communication, ensuring everyone is informed and collaboratively working towards the project goals. Effective communication is not just about preventing mistakes; it’s about building a team environment where everyone feels valued and informed.

However, good communication goes beyond just timely updates; it involves connecting with the project team, finding common ground, and managing without causing friction. 

Challenges arise when there’s a lack of openness within the team, leading to a culture where everyone agrees without voicing concerns or potential issues. Recognising that construction is an inherently imperfect process can foster a more open, realistic approach to project management.

At TC Consult, we understand the importance of having a PM who embodies these qualities. We tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of our clients and focus on building strong partnerships. This philosophy keeps our projects on track, aligned with our clients’ objectives, and ensures outcomes that everyone can be totally confident in.


5. Poor Procurement Process and Contract Selection

Common Complaint: The repercussions of legal disputes and misunderstandings around contracts can drastically derail a project’s timeline and inflate its costs. Often, these complications arise from not dedicating enough time to thoroughly review and negotiate contracts.

Solution: A skilled QS and PM possess extensive knowledge of construction contracts and legal frameworks, ensuring all agreements are transparent, fair, and fully reflect the project’s needs from the outset. Their detailed analysis of each contract is crucial not only in establishing terms that protect your interests but also in maintaining vigilant oversight throughout the project’s duration to ensure adherence to these terms and the smooth progression of work

The importance of choosing the correct procurement route, the right contractor, and establishing an accurate initial cost cannot be overstated. Inadequate contract setup can lead to projects doubling in price, extending far beyond the intended delivery schedule, and experiencing further delays. 

Conversely, a carefully selected and costed construction contract can prevent or significantly reduce unforeseen expenses and complications later on. There’s a risk with selecting a contractor based solely on the lowest bid, for example, as it might lead to increased costs down the line. Ensuring the contractor is both reputable and the client is satisfied with the initial costing can circumvent issues afterward. Developing a procurement report that outlines various procurement strategies and recommends the most suitable approach is essential.

These insights show how important good Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers are for dealing with construction project challenges. TC Consult offers expertise in quantity surveying, project management, and acting as the employer’s agent, positioning us to help you avoid common problems.

Our team is on the ball, knows how to get the job done and really understands construction projects inside and out, ensuring we’re always ready to tackle issues before they grow. 

We work hard to make property development and construction easier.

Choosing TC means your project benefits from meticulous care and expertise, giving you total confidence your project will stay on course and within budget from start to finish.

Explore our case studies or services to see how we can help you, or contact us to discuss your project challenge.

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