How to Reduce Rework in Construction
1/20/2022
Construction
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Rework in construction is referred to as the unnecessary effort of redoing a process or activity that was incorrectly implemented the first time. It is at the top of the list for the most inefficient activities that take place at a construction site. Rework can have a wide range of negative consequences, including growing costs, schedule delays, and negative impacts on productivity.

Below we detail common causes of rework and present several best practices that can be implemented to reduce rework in construction.

Understanding Common Causes of Rework in Construction

To understand how to reduce rework in construction, it is important to understand why rework occurs to shed light on the underlying root causes. The most common causes of rework include the following:

  • Poor project controls 
  • Missing or incorrect documentation 
  • Poor communication or lack of transparency
  • Poor scope definition or insufficient front-end planning
  • Lack of communication and coordination between the engineering and construction teams
  • Poor quality work or materials
  • Lack of well-established and detailed work processes and procedures
  • Engineering design is not optimized for constructability

The above causes of rework typically originate from several overarching root causes. The Construction Industry Institute identified five key cause and effect variables that most strongly correlate to field rework and cost growth, as listed below.

  • Owner alignment
  • Design rework
  • Constructability commitment
  • Interdisciplinary design coordination
  • Degree of project execution planning

Best Practices to Reduce Rework in Construction

To address common causes of rework in construction, several best practices should be followed, including ensuring an early and robust scope definition, implementing strong project controls and reporting as well as rework reduction programs, and having a well-established quality department.

Below, we detail how each of the above best practices can be utilized throughout a construction project to reduce rework and ultimately contribute to owner satisfaction and project success.

Ensuring a robust scope definition: Like many common capital project challenges, rework frequently arises due to late or insufficient scope definition. Rework can be significantly reduced through early and robust scope definition. It is also crucial to verify the project scope with all stakeholders to reduce the likelihood of changes to the project scope during the execution phase.

Implementing strong project controls and reporting: Strong project controls allow all involved parties, including the contractor’s team and the project owner, to have full visibility into a project’s status. Project controls are the processes that include all resources, procedures, and tools required to plan, monitor, and control each phase of a capital project life cycle. This process involves estimations, risk management, schedule and cost management, change management, forecasting, and earned value progressing. The ability to see all aspects of a capital project’s progress in real-time is critical for making informed decisions. Utilizing an integrated location, such as a dashboard, to view all data in one place provides all parties with full transparency.

Implementing constructability programs: Involving construction personnel early in the project life cycle is key to minimizing rework, schedule changes, and cost overruns. Constructability should be applied to all project phases. The overall project design and project schedule should be construction-driven. The design and overall layout of equipment, piping, components, and instrumentation should promote construction feasibility and efficiency as well as future site maintainability. All lead engineers from each department, including mechanical, piping, electrical, civil, structural, instrumentation, and fire protection, should be involved in constructability meetings.

Having a well-established quality department: Well-established quality departments that incorporate Total Quality Management, quality assurance and quality control procedures, and strong communication skills to ensure quality alignment can reduce rework resulting from poor quality materials or workmanship. They should work closely with the procurement department to ensure all materials and components meet the specified quality standards.

Establishing rework reduction programs: Rework reduction programs aim to reduce rework by managing a continuous improvement loop with four processes:

  1. Rework tracking and cause classification
  2. Evaluation of rework and its causes
  3. Corrective action planning
  4. Integration of changes into the total management system

The H+M Approach to Rework Reduction

“At H+M Industrial, our in-house team of engineering and construction experts, construction-driven approach, strong project controls department, and highly-established quality department allow us to effectively minimize rework in construction and meet your project deadlines. With hundreds of years of combined project execution experience across multiple industries and geographical areas, we’re here to help drive your project to success.” 

Archie Alexander

Director of Construction

About the Author

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To find out more about how H+M Industrial EPC reduces rework in construction, contact us today.

To find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of turnkey projects and how H+M Industrial EPC can meet your capital project needs, contact us through our website today.

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The H+M Industrial Team

For over three decades, we have provided best-in-class capital project management services to Energy and Chemical industries through our proven EPC approach. We are dedicated to providing trust, experience, and efficiency through all stages of engineering, procurement, and construction--on budget and on time.

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