When you work in construction, you wear multiple hats, juggle many tasks, and have lots to keep track of. In other words, you’ve got a lot going on. You’re not perfect and will make errors. Handling construction mistakes correctly may take more time and effort, but it will salvage your reputation and help keep your project on track.
Common Construction Mistakes on the Jobsite
You’re busy. You may fail to schedule a critical delivery or miss a meeting to walk through the project with your client. In a rush to complete an estimate, you may significantly underestimate the cost of a job or make a critical typo.
From a hands-on standpoint, cutting corners and using questionable practices is another common mistake. Questionable practices include:
- Rushing to install building wrap with little regard to taping and fastening to make it weather-tight
- Estimating ideal HVAC size rather than using Manual J calculations
Take Ownership of Your Mistakes
You’ve probably heard of reputation management. The best way to salvage your reputation when you make a mistake is to own up to it as soon as the mistake comes to light.
- Apologize to everyone affected
- Don’t make excuses
- Present a specific plan to remedy your mistake
If you miss a meeting or forget to schedule a delivery, reschedule it ASAP. If you find shoddy workmanship, redo it the right way. Properly handling estimating mistakes is a slippery slope. If you underestimated a bid, you’ll need to weigh the shortage against the ramifications of asking for more money. Sometimes it makes more sense to absorb the extra cost rather than risk a dispute or negative reviews, but it depends on the situation.
Document Mistakes and Notify Your Team
If your mistake is physical and will impact the job site, document it with photos, videos, and extensive notes. Most importantly, be sure to alert everyone who will be affected. If you’ve discovered, for example, that rainwater has infiltrated the building wrap your crew has just installed, redoing it will stall progress. Let everyone know, redo the work as quickly as possible, and keep all parties updated with visual proof showing you’re working diligently to get the job back on schedule.
Take Steps to Prevent Mistakes from Happening Again
You’ve taken responsibility for your mistake, apologized and fixed it. The final step is to learn from it. Why did the mistake happen? What can you do so it doesn’t happen again? Perhaps you need to set reminders on your phone for meetings and deadlines or download smartphone productivity apps. Maybe you need to review best practices with your crew.
It’s almost inevitable that construction mistakes will happen. But when you deal with them correctly, they can actually make you a better manager, contractor or employee.