5 Challenges that Hinder Effective Cost Control in Construction Projects
Construction costs are ever-rising, and things have become even more challenging in the pandemic era. The labour shortage is rampant, and supply chain disruptions have led to an unprecedented rise in material costs. Even before the pandemic struck, construction costs went up by a whopping 5% in 2018 alone. Considering these trends, construction companies are going the extra mile with cost control.
Businesses seek solutions that offer greater visibility into project performance in terms of a complete overview of expenditure. They want to know whether the funds are being spent well and according to the estimates. Fortunately, it is all possible by implementing smart cost control software in construction that addresses the entire challenges of cost control effectively. Before you embrace the solution, it is imperative to understand these challenges and know how the solution will resolve them. Let us explain these in detail.
Inefficient processes and systems
A typical project has multiple processes and systems, each of which is associated with specific costs. Inefficient and outdated processes and systems lead to an increase in costs, which may cumulatively result in massive losses. Switching over to project cost control software is a smart move if you want to overcome the challenges of a legacy system that is based on complex spreadsheets. Upgrading to a new system saves time and effort and also cuts down the possibility of errors. In the long run, managers end up controlling project costs to a significant extent.
Frequent scope variations
Although project budgets are estimated and prepared beforehand, scope variations are a common occurrence. Variation in scope leads to change in the budget, making it harder for the manager to control costs. Change orders, for example, affect the cash flow of the projects. Needless to say, timelines will also get disrupted with change orders and varying scope. It makes sense to automate the system with cost control software that manages the complexities in forecasting, budgeting, and reporting after the scope creep or change order.
Another challenge that makes cost control harder for project managers is inaccurate reporting. Building timely and accurate reports is a massive task that takes a great deal of time and effort. A manual solution always entails a risk of errors because data must be pulled from various sources to prepare a report. Even the most seasoned project managers are susceptible to making mistakes. Things get even riskier for large projects with multiple spreadsheets. Adopting a software solution is the smartest way to overcome this challenge and steer things in the right direction.
Flawed budgeting and forecasting
As projects extend over a while, managers struggle with mapping budgets over a timeline with only a spreadsheet. Forecasting too becomes a tough job, and you may feel like finding your way around in the dark. It is much easier to stay a step ahead with both budgeting and forecasting by moving over to cost control software in construction rather than using multiple spreadsheets and complex calculations. Whether your project lasts for only a few months or extends over the years, the system will resolve all the challenges of preparing budgets and making forecasts.
Inability to track progress effectively
Tracking the progress and performance of the project is another major concern for project managers. Since there are thousands of tasks involved, and you have to gather data from diverse sources, progress tracking gets far tougher than you can imagine. While using estimates and formulas sounds convenient, they bring biases to the process, and you may end up making mistakes with progress tracking. It can translate into problems with cost control in the long haul. Investing in a solution that enables you to automate progress tracking reduces friction, drives accuracy, and standardises the progress measurement methodology.
Cost management and control are critical aspects of managing construction projects, and going slack with them can affect the bottom-line. Automating it with cost control software can empower project managers looking after individual projects and enhance the business as a whole.
Cost control is a crucial element of a successful construction project, but it is often a challenge for managers. Several pitfalls stand in their way when it comes to managing and controlling costs. Thankfully, implementing construction cost control software can go a long way in addressing these challenges.
The author is a senior project manager with a reputed construction company based in Dubai. He is an avid writer and often shares his insights on industry-leading blogs and platforms.