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As the New Year begins, the construction industry is awash in high hopes and the promise of a more fruitful and profitable 2013. As we all know, our bottom lines are more important than ever and all employees, from management to field level, play key roles in the profitability of a company.
It has been well documented that construction delays (or lack thereof) can make the difference between a good or bad project and of course, a good year or bad one. Subcontractor delays, delays in shipping, availability of materials and/or equipment, job scope changes, weather and delays in inspections can all cause major delays and loss of $$ as it pertains to a project.
While these factors cause the majority of delays, other delays cannot be overlooked when it comes to the progress of your construction project.
I have come across hundreds of stories about construction delays caused by the inadvertent unearthing of ancient skeletons and historic artifacts. Some have caused delays up to three months in duration. My company ran into this type of delay about three years ago on a project in Pittsburgh involving the construction of a large downtown connector. Project management staff was not happy at all!
According to the Daily Freeman on Dec. 3, 2012, construction delays were caused by the hacking of the electronic construction traffic warning signs. Instead of the signs warning of road closures due to construction, they read “caution gorillas loose,” which needless to say caused traffic congestion and construction delays due to repeated hacking.
According to ncbuy.com on April 9, 2001, construction of a tiny resort island in S.C. had to be delayed as a result of a voodoo curse laid down by descendants of former slaves. Additionally, further complicating the construction schedule, was the nesting of federally protected bald eagles who built nesting on the jobsite.
And delays are not unique to U.S. projects. According to the Daily Mail UK from Feb. 6, 2010, “essential construction work on planned reservoirs in Zimbabwe has stopped because mermaids have been scaring workers away.” Massive quantities of beer were brewed to carry out the rituals necessary to appease the spirits. Sounds like a jobsite many of us would have enjoyed!
Last, but certainly not least, according to the San Francisco Chronicle in May 2002, the endangered San Francisco garter snake struck again, stalling construction on the BART Airport extension for a second time. Construction had to be halted after workers found a dead snake and had it turned over to biological monitors for research. A similar incident in 2000 halted construction for 18 days and caused the district $1.1 million in construction cost delays.
Speaking of delays, writing this blog has turned my 30-minute lunch into a two-hour lunch, so I better quit before I write my next blog from the unemployment line. Happy New Year to all Site Prep readers, and feel free to share some of your wild and wacky excuses for construction delays.