“You know what would be cool?”
These six words can signal the insidious onset of scope creep, which causes considerable pain and suffering for project managers and general contractors.
Scope refers to the initial agreed-upon and documented work plan for a specific project. The scope includes the key deliverables of the finished project, the general schedule, and other project requirements. Scope creep occurs when, mid-project, the scope changes. The schedules extend or shrink. The expectations about deliverables shift or grow.
This isn’t the only way a steel building project can get out of hand. Your project can also be thrown off the scope, which implies an external, undesired change that affects your project’s scope.
Whether it’s scope creep or an unexpected change, one thing is true: You’re going to have to find a way to manage changes to your project’s scope (or find a way to get back to the original plan). Unwanted or unconsidered changes in scope are bad for contractors, stakeholders, companies, and clients: They drain resources, kill trust, and disrupt further schedules and project timelines.
Let’s talk about a few different situations that could affect your project’s scope – and what to do to stay in control.
Be Prepared for These 7 Ways Your Georgia Steel Building Project Can Veer Off Track
1. Unclear scope
It may sound obvious, but if you start a project with too vague or general a work plan, your scope will get out of hand before you know it. Even simple tasks, if not scoped out clearly, could net contentious discussions and impactful issues down the road. For example, one contractor ended up suing their city after a botched library renovation – citing a 54-week delay after last-minute, out-of-scope changes.
Nobody plans to hit a water main, experience machinery malfunctions, or deal with falling debris. However, these events do occur – and, unfortunately, the project timeline will only continue.
3. Treacherous weather
Whether it’s an unseasonably warm winter or weeks of heavy rain, sometimes you get weather that doesn’t allow routine construction activities. As a result, you could have to delay the project or significantly alter what you’re able to deliver.
4. Unavailability of supplies or material delays
Sometimes, after all, materials for a project have been approved, something gets discontinued, delayed, or otherwise becomes unavailable. This could necessarily change the scope of your building project all by itself. You might also have to spend much time and money figuring out a good alternative.
5. Financial concerns
Building projects can be expensive – not all expenses are entirely predictable. Suppose the cost of a necessary material rises. In that case, a crucial (and budget-friendly) vendor decides to back out at the last minute, or if the project takes longer than expected, it’s not uncommon for financial, scope-affecting issues to arise.
6. Lack of communication about problems and issues
Poor team communication or lack of trust between contractor and client can throw an entire project off course. When building the Denver International Airport, all involved parties ignored imminent issues with the project, refused to make decisions together, and didn’t communicate. As a result, the airport had an unusable baggage system. The project was millions over budget – and completed sixteen months after its deadline.
7. Unforeseen conditions
It’s always possible to plan everything impeccably, have the weather you need, and enjoy perfectly synced communication – and then realize that the blueprints you based your plans on were inaccurate or to break ground and discover your real estate sits on a sinkhole.
Focus on honest, immediate communication; make sure everyone involved understands the entire scope of the project from the very beginning; and allocate extra time, materials, and financial resources to your project wherever possible. That way, when scope-altering issues arise, you can deal with them.
When looking for a hard-working, trustworthy contractor to manage your next steel building project, turn to Peak Steel Contractors. We can design your structure, help you navigate construction, and more. Check out our past projects and contact us for more information.