Charlotte Construction

Why Do Construction Projects Take So Long?

Construction projects, especially those large-scale infrastructure improvements and commercial builds, seem to take forever to complete. They can cause traffic to be delayed, lengthy detours, and can be a nuisance to motorists. People often wonder why road construction takes so long and why building construction isn’t completed more quickly. The answer isn’t as simple as one might expect. In fact, there are several reasons that a construction project might take longer than the community would like.

Top Reasons for Construction Delays

Most people don’t realize just how much planning and work goes into building a home, and even less about the time-frame required for larger construction projects like repairing a road. It can take several years, millions of dollars, and a huge team of experts just to get to the groundbreaking phase. Once the work has begun, there are endless reasons that things come to a stop. Here are a few of the most common reasons for construction delays:

Bureaucracy and Red Tape

Major construction projects fall under both federal and state regulatory guidelines and approval must gained from a range of government agencies before construction can begin. While federal laws are quite detailed, oftentimes state regulations are even more stringent. Following are some of the requirements:

  • Environmental Impact – The construction sector is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and in some cases the state, to conduct studies regarding the potential environmental impact of any proposed project. Construction site owners must demonstrate that the project will not have a negative impact on the environment. This pertains to building construction as well as engineering projects such as building new roadways, utility systems, and other infrastructure projects.
  • Quality of Life Impact – Construction projects aren’t just about constructing new buildings or improving the infrastructure, they also have a major impact on the community. Urban residents who are at the greatest risk for negative impacts are children and the elderly. Construction projects can create dangerous conditions and worsen air quality. Community awareness by way of public meetings and notification are an essential, and time-consuming aspect of all projects.
  • Transportation Research Protocols – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA) requires sound research into the potential impact of any large-scale transportation projects. These include, but are not limited to highway, roadway, and bridge construction. Anyone performing studies must accept and adhere to certain widely-accepted research protocols without deviation.
  • Safety Requirements – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict rules regarding the safety of workers, hours of service, and a myriad of other guidelines. Some states, like California, have even more rigid guidelines. Certain conditions must be met before construction begins, and ongoing inspections and reporting is required throughout the project. Any injuries that occur can slow down or halt the project until the situation is rectified.
  • Federal Funding – In order to receive Federal funding for a major construction project, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requires that the project be carefully planned. There must be an accurate estimation of costs, risks must be identified and mitigated, and funding strategies must be clear. What’s more, project managers are required to detail the project participants roles, responsibilities and processes to be followed. Reports must be filed throughout the project as well.

Number of Contractors

A huge construction project cannot be completed by a single contractor. Every project, from the construction of a new building to a new freeway requires bringing many different professionals from a variety of disciplines. In some cases, contractors have to wait for another to finish their part before beginning the next stage of the project. One can understand how that bringing all of those people together is no easy task, and there are bound to be problems when it comes to coordinating and organizing all of the schedules.

Inadequate Planning

Proper planning is essential to the successful completion of large-scale construction projects. Even after all of the environmental and quality of life studies are completed and approved, crews can run into problems that delay progress. Oftentimes this is simply due to working on paper rather than incorporating visual assistance such as aerial drone photos and orthomosaic maps. Construction managers who use this valuable tool are much more likely to anticipate, and mitigate challenges on a construction project. For instance, topography changes may not be evident with a standard map, or plot records, whereas aerial footage brings them into focus.

Unexpected Circumstances

Despite all the advancements in technology these days, there are still things that humans simply cannot control. Perhaps the most difficult challenge that construction crews face when undertaking a huge project is the weather. Unseasonably cold, hot, wet, or dry weather can wreak havoc on scheduling, create unsafe working conditions, and even damage work that’s already been completed. Major weather events like severe thunderstorms, a tornado, or hurricane can completely devastate a project. Once the weather clears, crews have to clean up the damage before they can move forward again.

Public Perception

Ongoing construction can be a frustration to the public who feel inconvenienced by the noise, dirt and debris, traffic detours and heavy equipment moving about. A project that’s been underway for a week or two can appear to be taking months. Investors, who are concerned with recouping their investment might also be nervous about the progress of a project. Reassurances that everything is going according to plan are often not enough to appease their concerns. Aerial construction progress photography can help show the progress that is being made in real-time, which will ease the minds of shareholders and the public. It also acts as a way to keep the crew on track and report on progress to superiors.

Drones In Construction

The construction industry is highly competitive and contractors are always looking for ways to outdo the competition. Drones are fast becoming an indispensable tool of the trade, especially when combined with Business Information Modeling (BIM) software. In fact, these two technologies are changing the way that construction companies, and other businesses operate. From planning projects to progress reporting, these tools are helping construction companies streamline their processes so that they become more efficient and profitable.

Unparalleled Accuracy

Innovative businesses are using advanced technologies, such as mixed reality, to improve the speed and efficiency of construction projects.  Construction photography at ground level can only show a certain level of progress and is limited in its scope. With a human holding the camera and snapping photos, or recording video, there are barriers which cannot be easily overcome. When it comes to data collection, it’s highly inefficient and insufficient when it comes to evaluating the accuracy of the work that’s been completed. A tiny deviation in the trajectory of a trench, for example, will not be noticed which can lead to a major problem down the line; however, construction progress photography from a drone is much more accurate, depicting the entire job site without barriers. What’s more, a detailed flight path can be programmed into the drone and can then be repeated on a daily basis. The data is then translated into a 3D image which can be used to spot even the smallest mistakes. Crews can then make the appropriate adjustments to avoid delays and costly re-dos. That means the project can stay on budget, and on schedule which keeps the public, investors and the contracting company on good terms.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about the benefits of aerial drone photography for the construction industry, or you’re interested in obtaining footage of your project please contact us at Dronegenuity. We offer professional drone services, performed by an FAA licensed drone operator for a variety of customers of all sizes. All of the work that we do is completely customized and we make the process simple and convenient.


About the Author

Adam Shore

Adam is a Central Florida alum who recently left the Orlando area to relocate to Denver, where he enjoys shooting aerial photography of the Rocky Mountains. And to ski. He is a member of the AMA and was been a drone photographer since the early days of the industry. Follow him @dronegenuity.