01 Mar 2023

Top causes of construction rework that affect your profitability

Top causes of construction rework that affect your profitability

Construction rework

Most of us have heard the expression “measure twice and cut once” and it makes sense both literally and figuratively to construction. It can apply to the thorough process of pre planning a large complex build or applied down to the level of cutting the right size piece of wood for a frame. The aim of everyone involved on a complex project should be to get the work done right the first time however rework is prevalent on most sites with an estimated 30% of all work done on construction sites being classified as such. 

Rework is an unnecessary effort to redo an activity that has failed to meet the clients requirements and/or standards or fails to comply with the contract. It has a detrimental effect and it is estimated that rework accounts for 4-6% of total project costs and has been known to contribute directly up to 300% in productivity losses. Rework was also the cause of 52.1% of the overall cost growth on construction projects according to studies by Navigant Consulting (and published by the University of Alberta).

That’s why it’s important to recognise some of the causes of rework so that they may be avoided entirely. Causes of rework can be grouped into the following: 

Causes related to work process

  • Changes, modification and revisions in design / construction changes
  • Error in design, drawings and specifications / error in construction
  • Incomplete design, any omission in the design or construction process
  • Inadequate procurement methods / poor contract execution
  • Improper contractor and subcontractor selection
  • Lack of document control

Causes related to human factors

  • Lack of experience and personal expertise in design and construction
  • Inadequate supervision staff
  • Inadequate manpower to complete the task
  • Insufficient skills level
  • Poor knowledge and workmanship and lack of education and training
  • Labour reallocation, alteration and staff turnover

Causes related to materials & equipment

  • Defective materials, non-adherence to material specifications
  • Poor-quality material or substandard products / prefabrication errors
  • Replacement or misplacement of material and equipment
  • Inefficient equipment use or altered material
  • Untimely deliveries of materials and equipment

Causes related to technical factors

  • Ineffective use of quality management practices / deviation due to poor monitoring
  • Poor technology application and lack of information technology use
  • Poor communication system for coordinating between relevant parties
  • Inefficient management process, poor site management practice
  • Poor project documents, unclear instructions, poor contract documents
  • Conflicting and incomplete information
  • Inadequate planning and poor scheduling of workload

Causes related to general/external factors

  • Lack of client involvement
  • Unclear line of authority
  • Time pressure, schedule acceleration to finish the task, insufficient time to prepare contract documentation
  • Damage / defects / deviations in the product due to poor handling and safety considerations
  • Financial issues such as lack of funding, low contract or payment fee, delay in payment and cost pressure
  • Governmental regulations / changes and policies
  • Environmental conditions and poor site condition
  • Unpredictable factors from different sources

Whilst there is a comprehensive list of causes above, there are some solutions that can help minimise and manage rework. Communication is key throughout the ecosystem of a large and complex project and of particular importance in planning and scheduling. Appropriate and relevant stakeholders and contractors should be involved and informed from an early stage so they can determine whether a design is constructible.

Knowing a project’s constructability from the start will prevent many change orders,  late-stage changes as well as rework activities. Project communication is greatly aided by utilising a powerful construction management, turnover and commissioning software that is set up with deep functionality that streamlines collaboration and reduces response times. Good communication can improve team working skills, lead to positive collaboration and result in an optimistic project journey that minimises rework.

Excel spreadsheets, lengthy email chains and hardcopy documentation/checklists are notoriously error-prone particularly on large and complex projects. Failure to keep detailed records is a major cause of scrap and rework, costs soaring and time lost that can be avoided. A fully digitally connected and cloud powered software like EIDA’s reduces rework by improving communication, accuracy and job site visibility. Stakeholders are able to see what is happening on a project in real-time and may be able to spot a mistake before it occurs. EIDA’s software provides these key features that deliver structure, quality and scheduling to your projects and mitigates against the negative impacts of rework.


  • Vendor Documentation Management 
  • Document Control
  • Quality Management 
  • CTOP Turnover
  • System Progress Tracking
  • Project Change Control

In conclusion, there are a myriad of different causes for rework but many are becoming obsolete and avoidable. Businesses are now more keenly aware of the effect rework has on profitability and the bottom line and are taking the appropriate steps to avoid it. Why not reach out and speak to one of our senior consultants today and discuss how EIDA will help you reduce rework and its negative impacts.

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