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Mitigating Risks: 10 Micro Practices that Threaten Your Daily Objectives


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If you ask any risk management consultant, they’ll tell you the truth: the real silent killers aren’t nightmarish doomsday risks but the poor processes that plague your team every day.  

In a study called “Identifying Key Risks in Construction Projects: Life Cycle and Stakeholder Perspectives," researchers analyzed the top 10 risks that are most likely to occur and have a significant impact on your project objectives.  Here they are in order of importance and some tips to actively mitigate their risk of becoming a pain in your bottom line.

#1: Tight project schedule 

Organize your documents in a central location. This will make it easier to categorize and prioritize important project information, as well as build out a well-defined project schedule. This will result in a better foundation for a structured approach to plan and identify problems before they arise. 

#2 Design variations / Variations by the client 

Avoid lost productivity by using a centralized cloud-based system. Allow your teams to monitor change orders affecting prime contracts and commitments in real-time from anywhere. This will also ensure proper documentation and authorization from the chain of command.

#3 Excessive approval procedures

Your project management system should offer, or integrate with, a collaborative platform that has controllable permission levels to control access and limit viewing rights to your desired contributing personnel.

#4 High performance and quality expectations 

Long before you outline your quality control plan and start measuring the quality delivered on activities and tasks, you should be focusing not only on what the quality measurements mean to your customer, but also how they expect them to be delivered. By doing this you’ll execute better and more profitable work while also creating better customer relations and retention.

#5 Poor project management 

Even the best project managers need help sometimes. Mobile project management systems can automate the collection of real time information so that you can make sure orders are communicated and followed even when you’re not around. When risks are threatening your project, you’ll be able to reroute and reassign duties quickly to avoid delays and an angry phone call from your project owner. 

#6 Lack of coordination between project participants

Embrace new technologies that are helping to break down silos between roles. By harnessing all project participants’ collective talents and insights you can create stronger links between project stages. 

#7 Unavailability of sufficient skilled professionals

Implement work programs on your jobsite that encourage young workers and women to apply. Create an apprentice program with a local university or trade school. By introducing these untapped labor sources into the industry, the loss of veteran workers to retirement won’t have as dramatic an effect on your job site. 

#8 Incomplete approval and other documents 

A digital document retention policy is key to the operation and success of your construction business. In the unfortunate event of litigation or arbitration, you need everything from drawings and specs, to personal email chains and jobsite photos to be properly documented and easy to find.  

#9 Incomplete or inaccurate cost estimates

One of the biggest culprits behind poor estimates is lack of pertinent information and background. Understand the economy of pricing fluctuations, and utilize a solution that either has estimate capabilities or integrates with an app that can help you make informed decisions.

#10 General Safety

Falls, electrocution, being struck by an object, or being caught in between dangerous objects are known as the fatal four. Building a proactive safety culture can decrease the likelihood of injury by 50%. That means low incident rates, low turnover, high productivity, and better margins.

The Takeaway

Although you can never completely eliminate risks, we can come up with a plan that allows teams to minimize their impact. You can achieve this by mastering two themes present in each of the top ten risks above: communication and collaboration.

When paired with a proper risk management plan, communication and collaboration allow owners, designers, field, and office to respond with agility to effectively avoid or mitigate risks. 

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