15 Questions to ask before starting your next construction project
(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Many construction projects end badly because they aren't planned properly or because the basics haven't been done correctly at the start. Here are 15 questions to ask yourself before starting your next construction project:
- Is there a signed legally binding contract in place which will adequately protect our rights?
- Do I understand the contract, the scope of works and our responsibilities under this contract?
- Are all the permits and permissions in place (including environmental and local planning permissions), do I understand their conditions and have these been communicated to the project team?
- Do we know the position of services (particularly underground services) which could be impacted or damaged by the works and have these positions been adequately marked and communicated to the team?
- Have we chosen an appropriate construction methodology which takes into account the design, site restraints, the available resources, project milestones, permit conditions, the scope of works, quality controls and safety - is this the most efficient methodology?
- Have we prepared a construction schedule/program which takes cognisance of site conditions and restraints, the project milestones, the available resources, construction methodology and safety? Furthermore, has this schedule been agreed and approved and communicated to the project team?
- Do I understand the safety risks and the hazards involved with the project, and have these been communicated to the project team? (This should include preparing adequate risk assessments.)
- Are all the required insurances in place, do I understand the particular conditions of these policies and is the insurer aware of any particular risks of the project (such as flooding or possible damage to 3rd party property)?
- Do we have the resources required to carry out the work (or have arrangements been put in place to procure them in accordance with the requirements of the schedule)?
- Have orders been placed for long-lead items so they will arrive on site when they are required?
- If you are responsible for the design or preparing drawings, have these been checked and received the necessary approvals? (If others are responsible under the contract to supply this information, will it be available on time and be of a suitable quality and detail to enable construction works to proceed?)
- Will the necessary safety and emergency equipment be on site and are there people trained in their use, and is the site adequately protected to prevent unauthorised access?
- Are the site conditions as per the contract (and tender) including the levels and locations of existing structures and services (and those provided by others)?
- Will our work impact, cause damage to, or be deemed to damage the surrounding roads and neighbouring structures, and if so, has a survey of these structures been carried out to verify and agree their condition before construction work starts so we aren't liable for pre-existing damages?
- Have the appropriate authorities been advised construction work will start, and have neighbours and others who will be impacted by the work been notified of the potential disruptions and impacts?
Paul Netscher is the author of the popular books 'Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide'and 'Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide'. Paul's new book 'Construction Claims: A Short Guide for Contractors' has just been published. These books are available on Amazon and other online book stores. Paul publishes articles regularly on LinkedIn and his website. Visit www.pn-projectmanagement.com to read other similar helpful articles.
Paul writes regular articles for other websites, gives lectures, mentors, and is available for podcasts and interviews.