How Do I Recover a Delayed or Distressed Construction Project?


When a construction project is delayed or distressed, it can cause serious problems for the client and the builder. Unfortunately, this happens more often than not. The first step in determining whether or not a distressed project can be recovered is to acknowledge early on that you have a problem. To do this, you’ll want to ask yourself some specific questions:

Identify the Cause of the Delay

  • Identify the Cause of the Delay

The first step in resolving a construction delay is to determine what caused it. To do this, you’ll want to investigate the root cause of your project’s delays. By investigating how and why delays occurred, you’ll better understand how they might be prevented in future projects.

  • Understand How the Delay Occurred

Once you’ve identified that there was an issue with your construction project, it’s important for you as a project manager or owner to understand exactly how those issues affected your schedule and budget projections. It can be helpful here if you work with a third-party inspector who has experience with similar types of projects so that together, they can provide insight into best practices for preventing future delays on site.* Identify Who Is Responsible For The DelayIn addition to identifying why delays occurred on site (and potentially learning from those mistakes), it’s also important for PMs and owners alike not only identify who was responsible but also whether or not any disciplinary action needs to take place based off past performance records.* Determine Impact Of The Delay On Your Project Schedule And Budget

Investigate and Create a Plan of Correction

Once you have determined that a project is in distress, you need to investigate the reasons for delays and cost overruns. The first step is to determine if there is any way that the project can be salvaged or if it needs to be terminated and a new one started. For example, if there has been a delay due to weather conditions, this may not have any bearing on whether the project can be saved or should be terminated. However, if there are more serious issues such as lack of funding or labor shortages (both of which will likely result in additional costs), then these problems can cause your construction project to fail completely.

You should also take time during this investigation period to consider what steps could be taken in order for your company or organization’s goals related to this construction project (e.g., increasing employee productivity) still meet their objectives even if work continues past scheduled completion date(s).

Create a Project Schedule and Budget

It is important to create a project schedule and budget. A detailed, accurate project schedule will help you manage the project effectively. The cost of your project should be included in this budget as well. The more time you spend planning out your tasks, the less likely it is that any delays will occur in completion date or cost overages.

A plan for mitigating damages and losses should also be created before starting construction on any project. This includes insurance coverage options that cover loss or damage during construction as well as general liability insurance coverage if injuries occur during construction work on site (such as slips and falls).

Coordinate Resources for Mitigation and Repairs

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of managing a distressed or delayed construction project, there are several ways to get your contractor back on track.

  • Utilize the expertise of a certified project manager. If you’ve hired a certified project manager (CPM), they should be able to advise and assist you with an effective approach as they have extensive training and experience in these matters.
  • Utilize the services of a qualified construction manager. If your contractor is not using a CPM, then it may be possible for them to hire one on behalf of their client if necessary. They can provide valuable insight into what went wrong, why it happened and how best to move forward without incurring further delays or other damage caused by poor management decisions made during construction activities that were not properly supervised due to lackadaisical oversight from company executives who didn’t realize how serious things had gotten until now

Perform Quality Control Inspections

Every construction project should have routine inspections. These are performed by an experienced contractor or engineer who is hired to ensure the quality of your construction project and identify any deficiencies in the work being done. They are also responsible for ensuring that your construction project stays true to the original plans and specifications, as well as identifying any potential safety issues or risks.

Inspections can be done on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis depending on how closely you want to monitor your progress. The more often these inspections are conducted, the greater chance there is for finding flaws in the process early on so that they may be corrected before they become major problems later down line.

The first step to determining whether or not a distressed project can be recovered is to acknowledge early on that you have a problem.

The first step to determining whether or not a distressed project can be recovered is to acknowledge early on that you have a problem. The sooner you can identify the symptoms, the better. Once you know what’s wrong, then it’s time to develop a plan for how you’ll fix it.

This might seem obvious—but it can be difficult to admit that something isn’t going right on your construction site when there are so many other demands on your time and resources. In such cases, it helps if everyone involved has shared goals and objectives in mind (including contractors).

Here are some things every company should do when faced with an underperforming project:

  • Identify problems and create solutions
  • Communicate with clients/stakeholders regularly about progress/challenges/changes * Develop schedules/budgets based off realistic expectations * Coordinate resources like materials or equipment for efficient workflow
  • Perform quality control inspections throughout all stages of production


If you can’t recover a distressed project internally it may be time to call the experts at The GeoFocus Group for assistance. We are “fixers” with experience to analyzing, recovering and completing distressed, delayed, deficient and disturbed construction projects.


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