When the scope of construction projects grows or changes during delivery sometimes it can seem like a good thing. Contractors and subcontractors may get to deliver products and services beyond the original scope, and in some cases changing the scope is necessary for clients to achieve the solution that they need.
However, scope creep can also be a major factor in the failure of construction projects. It can blow out project budgets, push back construction schedules and complicate design and certification. When scope creep creates additional and unnecessary work it can also affect team morale and prevent contractors from moving on to deliver on other project commitments.
While it isn’t always possible to entirely prevent scope creep, here’s how it can be minimised.
Some degree of scope creep or change is inevitable on construction projects, but changes can be minimised and managed more effectively with good communication practices in place.
Investing in good project management and collaboration software can facilitate better communication. It also helps to manage input and approval from stakeholders when changes need to be made.
Project management software also allows consensus to be more easily reached on what needs to be delivered; when it needs to be delivered; who it needs to be delivered by; and at what cost.
Holding regular project meetings (physical or virtual) with all project stakeholders is another way to facilitate communication. Regular meetings help to address issues early and prevent miscommunication around project scope and expectations. Meetings also create a forum for flagging design issues early, to reduce the impact of any changes on the project scope, schedule and budget.
By effectively managing change, construction teams can prevent small scope changes from compounding and becoming a bigger issue than they need to be.
To keep scope creep at bay, all scope changes must be managed. This means tracking major design amendments through to the many minor and often unapproved changes that happen daily when delivering construction projects.
Using project management software can also improve the ease of tracking and approving changes to project design, budget or construction schedule in real time.
Clients usually want to start on site as soon as possible, but to minimise scope creep it’s essential that adequate time and resources are allocated for project planning. Taking time to achieve clarity around all project requirements and deliverables before work commences will reduce the amount of changes that need to be made once construction begins.
Before finalising the project scope and most certainly before starting construction:
Thoroughly scope out and formally document all design requirements;
Complete feasibility studies, site surveys and cost-benefit analysis for project viability; and
Ensure all project designs, schedules and budgets have been approved.
Choosing the right project partners
When changes catch you off guard, or when scope creep is unavoidable, partnering with suppliers that have the breadth and reach to respond quickly and provide additional support can make all the difference to project outcomes. As Australia’s largest equipment hire business, Coates Hire has whatever you need, whenever you need it, to help get the job done.
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