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Civil Engineers at construction site are inspecting documents in snow during weather delay

Construction delays are a costly headache with widespread impact that result in immediate and longer-term repercussions to builders and anyone else in their supply chain, like clients, employees, vendors and subcontractors. Builders who can minimize construction project delays are rewarded with higher profitability. They deliver projects on time and on budget, and can more confidently take on a larger number of projects and grow the business.

Construction Delays are Costly

Construction delays can throw an entire project off track, sending costs skyrocketing. Because projects are carefully planned and scheduled in multiple layers of activity (labor, supervision, materials, subcontractors, permit inspections, etc.), a change in schedule can have a cascading effect on the rest of the project. Sometimes, that tangle of impacts is hard to unwind and get back on track.

Here are just some of the cost impacts that can happen when construction projects are delayed:

  • Salaries, benefits, insurance and equipment lease costs for the days the project must be extended
  • Shortage of management and skilled labor, since they may be committed elsewhere
  • Rescheduling subcontractors, or having to have them work simultaneously in congested work area, or having to pay delay fees or overtime costs to play catch up
  • Materials and supplies price increases or shortages during the delay period
  • Extra storage costs and double handling costs of materials that were delivered but could not be deployed
  • Having to extend the work days into unfavorable weather periods, when winter storms or extreme summer heat can cause more delays
  • The potential domino effect on other scheduled projects that causes a cascading situation of extra costs and complications

It’s clear that the costs of construction project delays can add up quickly. Delays can also lead to contract disputes with materials suppliers and contractors, leading to court battles over delay fees and other issues.

Common Causes of Construction Delays

Winter construction site equipment in snowy field

Construction delays are a fact of life and have many causes. Savvy project managers know how to minimize the possibility and impact of delays. Construction delays are caused by a range of situations, some organizational and some external to the organization. Here are just a few:

  • Weather delays
  • Unforeseen ground conditions at the work site
  • Lack of communication between contractor and client
  • Supply chain disruption/material delays
  • Personnel shortage
  • Equipment shortage or breakdowns
  • Delayed payments/cash flow issues
  • Unplanned price increases
  • Poor, inexperienced or overly-optimistic planning

Careful planning and project management includes contingency planning for problems such as the above. A good communication network to keep all parties up to date can help managers keep all the pieces moving and avoid short delays becoming longer ones.

Weather delays are among the most common causes of construction delays. Planning for contingencies also means keeping abreast of weather forecasts to minimize the potential for unforeseen weather delays.

Winter Weather Delays in Construction

Severe weather, in winter or any time of year, can wreak havoc on traffic, power lines, air and ground traffic, and many other routine systems that keep our society moving. With bad weather increasing in frequency in some areas due to the changing climate, the construction industry is seeking solutions to help limit the impact of weather delays on the bottom line.

Weather delays and weather-related damage cost the American construction industry billions of dollars annually. While major storm damage can’t always be avoided, the increasing frequency of major storm events has government and industry teaming up to build digital tools that will help builders. These online apps will allow builders to obtain accurate weather outlooks in order to factor weather conditions into the project planning process. One tool being developed in conjunction with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will allow users to input the location and timing of a planned project to get a customized forecast of weather conditions including temperature, wind speed and precipitation. This data can then be used to fine tune construction schedules and related activities. Being able to include a forecast of weather conditions into a construction schedule will allow firms to better allocate resources and build expected delays into schedules so that projects are delivered on time.

Of course, not all weather can be accommodated. Builders need options to allow for project work to continue during inclement weather. They also need help to protect unfinished projects from damage by precipitation or high winds. Tension fabric construction shelters are a fast and efficient solution for construction project weather protection.

Tension Fabric Construction Shelters Help Minimize Winter Construction Delays

Weather delays and exposed worksites left to the elements can leave builders with cost overruns and slipped schedules. One way to protect a vulnerable worksite is a construction shelter that is quick and easy to install, but that stands strong, even in extreme weather conditions. Tension fabric buildings provide excellent, open span covered or enclosed work space to protect a worksite from weather events.

Allsite’s tension fabric construction shelters are lightweight, modular, highly engineered structures. Their reliability and durability come from the high-strength aluminum alloy frame and heavy-duty, flame retardant PVC tensioned fabric cover that, reinforced by horizontal tensioning across the frame, is as strong as a traditional building structure.

These customizable structures can be erected in just a few days to cover and protect excavation sites, structures and equipment and shelter them from bad weather. With a covered worksite, workers can stay on task and on schedule even during bad weather, avoiding the undesirable impacts of construction delays. And, the tension fabric shelter lets you can keep your trades working through winter when normally they don’t have work, letting you keep your core team employed, together and productive. With fewer seasonal and weather-related stoppages, you can have the project to market much more quickly, so you’ll be wrapping up your project when other builders are just starting.

Versatile Allsite Tension Fabric Structures

Tension fabric construction shelters are available in widths from 15m (48’) to 48m (157’), and in any length required with the addition of modular panels in increments of 5m (16’). With a variety of anchoring systems available, structures can be installed on any type of ground, hard, soft, dry, wet, rocky or frozen. These structures meet traditional building wind load and seismic standards. The highly tensioned, durable framed construction means the structure sheds heavy snow, rain, sleet and hail. The fabric is UV resistant, making the shelters good protection against the rays of the summer sun. If an enclosed structure is selected, the interior can be climatized for a comfortable work environment, whether in winter or summer.

Tension fabric structures can be used to cover and protect the construction worksite or unfinished new structures. They can also be used as temporary buildings for such functions as onsite office and administrative space, for storage of equipment and supplies and to provide a crew rest area when a break from the weather is important.

Due to their modular construction, these structures can be installed in less than a week and quickly de-installed when no longer needed. They are quickly relocatable around the site, usually with a crane lift, as work progresses to new areas. The structures can be leased for short or long term use. Plan to protect your construction site, crew and your bottom line from the adverse effects of bad weather. Give Allsite a call today to find out how the tension fabric construction shelter can work for your project.



Author Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan is a Business Development Manager at Allsite, with degree in Psychology from Lafayette College and 14 years experience in matching customers with Tension Fabric Structure solutions. Read more about Peter and the rest of our team at

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