Everyone wants a job finished as quickly as possible. When you have a detailed timeline that your following eagerly, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing it slip.
The problem is once it starts slipping it can be difficult to bring it back on track as most elements of a build are dependant on the others being finished (i.e the roof can’t go on until the walls have been built)
Some builders will give a verbal time of how long they think it will take, but its much better to receive something realistic agreed on paper. Even this can be problematic though as its difficult to tell during the build whether they are on track or not.
A better option that is that they provide a more detailed timeline or Gantt chart, such as in the example below.
This shows exactly what parts of the build are happening & when. This can be very useful as its easy to identify if the project is running behind at a glance & if needed can be raised as a concern.
But sometimes it’s also a case of managing expectations of a timeline.
In the building industry, things do not always run smoothly. There are so many outside factors that can affect a timeline & some things may be out of the control of the hands of your builders : –
- Adverse weather conditions
- Finding unexpected drains/ pipes/ cables underground when excavating
- Finding woodrot
- National shortage of certain building materials
- Delays from supplier deliveries
- Delays in the manufacture of external windows/ doors
Any or all of these problems are common & will negatively affect a timeline.
What will you do if this happens on your project?
Overrunning can be stressful, you are sick & tired of the dust in the house & it looking like a building site & you just want your home back.
There are a couple of ways of dealing with an overrun during a project.
You could slap a penalty clause on the contract
This certainly is one that keeps the builders motivated & keeps the pressure on. Penalty clauses are often found on architect issued JCT contracts to protect the client.
Sometimes there will be a figure each week that needs to be paid to the client if the job overruns. This can be any figure that’s agreed. On a £50k type project it’s not uncommon to see a penalty clause of £200-£500 or more per week
Cons- Not all builders will agree to this & may withdraw from pricing the works (not good if you have a particular one you want)
Most will add in a contingency to their price anyway to cover this, costing you more money if they come in on time.
They have a right to ask for an extension of time if any of the unforeseen problems mentioned above apply.
The problem with the above solution & putting pressure on them to finish is that it can ruin a good job. The end of the project is where the real time & skill comes in. You want the joinery to be neat & straight, the paintwork to be immaculate, the tiling to be level & smooth
If the builders are under great pressure to finish due to a penalty clause or otherwise, it will have an impact on the quality at the end.
Often what can be a better solution is to identify slips in the project early & have a meeting to agree a revised timeline & then ensure they stick to it.
If it does overrun you have a decision to make- is it worth ruining the quality for a rushed job, or in the scheme of things will an extra couple of weeks really matter when you look back in a few years time?