Category: General Interests

Risks on Infrastructure Projects

Risks on infrastructure or construction projects present many type of challenges. The impact of getting it wrong right at the start of any project could bring years of headaches. But, by taking a proactive approach, stakeholders can reduce uncertainty during the planning stage. This gives project managers insight into mitigating risks on future infrastructure projects using lessons learned to save on future project costs.

Risks on infrastructure projects are predictable. These can include the insecurity of funds, cost of project overruns, failing to source materials and workers, and delays. These are the common challenges stakeholders face during large infrastructure projects.

It takes hands on project management to juggle all moving parts of a long-term infrastructure to keep it on track.

Risk performance influenced by uncertainty

According to the Institute of Risk Management research, Managing cost, risk & Uncertainty in infrastructure projects, project managers face many challenges. This most important phase of a long-term, infrastructure project is during in the early, planning stages. A lack of transparent risk assessment during this phase can mean high risk and uncertainty throughout the project. This can cause:

  1. completing a risk analysis with different possible outcomes

  2. poor decision-making

  3. stakeholder optimism – delusion or deception

  4. loss of focus and sub-optimal risk mitigation.

Risk analysis challenges

A risk analysis is subjective, especially on infrastructure projects. Why? There is no clear way of progressing hypothetical risk analysis to project specific cost analysis within a commercial structure. There is also a tendency to exaggerate how well mitigation strategies work. So, project managers identify unnecessary risks or overestimate the effects of mitigating project risks. This leads to overestimating costs.

Challenges of poor decision-making

An Institute for Government (IfG) report, What’s wrong with infrastructure decision making? found the following key flaws in stakeholder decision-making for infrastructure projects:

  • No strategies for investing in infrastructure. Stakeholders      often do not have clear strategies for investing in infrastructure      projects. Without infrastructure investment strategies, it is difficult to make good decisions. Also, there is nothing to measure project outcomes against.

  • Little attention paid to assessing options at the start. Stakeholders spend too little time during project development looking at all the options. This can result in missing better project options causing project cost blow outs.

  • Misunderstanding project risks. Decision-makers can misunderstand project risks. This can mean there is little forward planning for when things go wrong.

  • Winners and losers. Infrastructure projects can divide communities and create winners and losers. These groups can have a lot of influence on decision-makers and cause project delays.

  • Lack of project measurement. Stakeholders fail to measure infrastructure project outcomes against the costs when completed. Having key performance measures is an invaluable tool for future use. This helps stakeholders to learn from past mistakes when commissioning new infrastructure projects.

Challenges of stakeholder optimism – delusion or deception

Reducing risk on large infrastructure projects depend on whether:

  • the assumptions stakeholders adopt are strategic misrepresentation or genuine optimism

  • financial managers ignore/misunderstand real risk levels while pressuring for cost reductions to meet short-term financial goals

  • there has been an overestimation of the risks by project managers to secure a larger contingency fund and, thus, cover all bases

  • pricing from contractors is low to remain competitive but they may use other means to maintain a profit

  • there is resistance from project managers to processes and procedures that reduce contingencies and risks.

Complex projects increase these risks. Taking control and ensuring transparency from the start helps reduce infrastructure project risks. You can mitigate risks during the contract phase.

Reduce risks during the contract phase

It can take years to fully complete infrastructure projects, so they have long-term project plans and phases. During this time legislation and regulations can change. This needs careful consideration during the contract phase, especially if dealing with European contractors. Consider the following:

  • Are there higher costs related to dealing with a European contractor? Look at the different legislation between the two countries.

  • If there are changes to immigration legislation that impacts the contractor’s access to workers, who is responsible for this?

  • Who is responsible for paying the taxes between the UK and the EU?

You should also consider the risks associated with currency variations, as well as the continuity and cost of a skilled workforce. If sourcing skilled workers from overseas, can you maintain the workforce for the duration of the project?

It is important to mitigate these types of risks at the contract stage. Having these set out in contracts before starting the work can reduce costly potential conflicts during long-running infrastructure projects.

Overcome challenges on infrastructure projects using transparency. Good construction risk management software or Infrastructure project management software can give all stakeholders the transparency required. Planning a realistic acquisition program allows all stakeholders to fully investigate all the options. Once these are clear, you can take a logical approach that accounts for emerging technology and changing economic times.


Social Selling Training Course

Source: » Social Selling Training Course


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Construction Risk Assessment

Source: Construction Risk Assessment

Construction projects can be dangerous places so understanding risk assessments and safety management is vital.  Everyone from the project manager to the site foreman need to be aware of any and all risks at every stage in the construction process. So, controlling risks takes good risk management to prevent or minimize the realization of any risks.

A construction risk assessment should be first addressed at the design stage to address any potential risks before the project ever begins. Next up, the project managers should complete a project risk assessment before any worker sets foot on the site and also have a method to monitor any risks at each stage of construction, a tool that can consider all the risks and possible risks. The tool or system should also be able to help the project manager mitigate any perceived risks and the financial cost associated with each risk. Also, it is important to be able to consider the cost to the whole project if they were to occur.

This brings us to the question; how do you stay on top of managing project risk assessments? The answer is you need good processes, procedures and construction management software. Here are some steps to help keep construction risks under control.

Know the source of potential risks

To manage construction risks, complete a construction risk assessment. Be thorough and consider the following areas:

  • Contractual risks. Missing milestone deadlines can cost time, money and a business its reputation.

  • Occupational risks. The nature of a construction site means there are many risks that can cause injury and possible death. Worker behaviour, technology, working methods, weather or a third party can cause accidents.

  • Project risks. The lack of good project management, workplace procedures, or workplace policies and procedures that are ignored and poor time management are just few project risks.

  • Natural risks. Natural risks (storms, earthquakes) are beyond your control but can shut a construction site down.

  • Financial risks. Financial risks include rising interest rates, a surge in material prices and a lack of sales.

  • Stakeholder risks. Use project management software to bridge communication problems, miscommunication over changes and deliverables.

  • Competition. Competitors can make life tough. They can drop prices to undercut prices and build times. This can put you under pressure to meet the same terms and put the project’s profit at risk.

Assess risks for their order of importance

Assess the risks into order of importance from most likely to occur to the least likely. Also, rate each risk for the level of damage it can do if it does occur and the potential cost to your business.

Dealing with identified risks

Construction sites are busy, dangerous places. Although the risks are varied, there are four basic management techniques to manage risks:

  • Avoid. You may choose to only take on a project in the summer of an area that has winter snow to avoid the risk of time delays.

  • Transfer. Ensure there are good contracts in place with suppliers and subcontractors so they take responsibility for missing deadline agreements with the company. Make sure the project has the appropriate insurances to cover any accidents.

  • Mitigate. Some risks you cannot completely remove. You can reduce the dangers of safety hazards, for example, but you cannot completely remove them.

  • Accept. Seasonal weather can be difficult to avoid. But, with planning and long-range forecasts you can work to reduce the impact on the project.


Use the right software

Once you decide how to deal with the risks arising from a project risk assessment, use technology to help optimize risk management methods. Good construction project management software helps manage all facets of a construction project. From costs to risk management, good software can make all facets of construction management more manageable and save time by:

  • simplifying the project risk assessment process

  • helping businesses comply with legislation

  • assessing and recording all tasks and risks on a risk assessment matrix

  • opening up transparent communication between managers, workers and stakeholders

  • adding everyone involved in the project along with their contact details into a central database

  • producing project-specific risk assessment and method statements

  • customizing the software to meet the needs of individual projects

  • providing a safe repository for project related documents that is available 24/7.

Get everyone involved in risk management

Construction risk assessment and management is everyone’s problem. Good project managers get everyone on the construction site involved in risk assessments and managing the risks.

Consult workers when completing project risk assessments. They are the ones at risk on construction sites. It is good to get their perspective and input on construction risks in their area. This gives workers ownership of the risks and more likely to comply with workplace procedures. Always communicate any changes and updates to keep everyone working with the same understanding.

What is a Construction Punch List

Source: What is a Construction Punch List

A construction punch list, is a list of things that do not conform to contract specifications near project completion. Also known as a snag list, it defines everything that needs addressing before final sign off and occupancy of the building.

As every contractor knows, construction projects can be difficult to manage. They can involve multiple stakeholders, risk assessments, O&M manuals plus lots of other project documentation. If any detail is missing it can delay the project completion with the knock on effect of costing the contractor  both time and money, not to mention the threat of legal action. This is why staying organized at every stage is critical to the success of any project.


When it comes to a punch list, it can be minor repairs to things like finishes and finishing off tiles; installing anything that is still outstanding such as an air conditioning system and cleaning the building ready for use. A punch list includes any final changes to the scope of the project made at the last minute and even warranties or other paperwork that needs chasing up.

The punch or snag list in an integral part of the construction contract. It is a control mechanism to meet the quality standards of the project plans and client’s expectations. There may be penalties if there is something the client is not happy about or the work does not meet satisfactory standards.

Creating an accurate punch list keeps everyone happy. It gives everyone a clear understanding of what work there is to do and timelines for completion. It is also an opportunity for the client to bring up any other concerns. The requirements for a punch list are set out during construction project planning.

It is the responsibility of everyone involved with the project to ensure the punch gets completed on time.

Client’s responsibility

A client has to take responsibility for making sure punch list gets completed. Clients need to make themselves available at this stage of the project. Be prepared to walk through the building making note of any issues or anything you want to question with the contractor. Do ask the contractor and tradespeople questions. It is too late once they sign off and handover the building.

This is a client’s last chance to ensure everyone understands their expectations at the end of the project.

Contractor’s responsibility

It is the general contractor’s responsibility to take the client through the building and discuss the items on the punch list. They will also listen to the client’s concerns and help work through them. The contractor can also use this meeting to show off their work and standard of the finishes on the building. A good contractor will have already picked up all the things that need doing and put them on the punch list. This is the time to let the client know what will happen to address the issues.

Subcontractor’s responsibility

It is up to the subcontractor to follow up and get the work on the punch list completed to a high standard. The point of the punch list is that it gives the expectation that all the work will be completed to a high standard and quickly.

Where things come up at the end of the project changing the scope of the project, the subcontractor needs to provide a quote and new timeline. It is important that subcontractors communicate and follow up and through on what they promise at all times.

Architect’s responsibility

Architects can attend a punch list walk through to check what was in their plans is what was actually built. It is their responsibility to highlight anything that is not within the project plans and specifications. However, some changes may be requested by the client and not added to the plans. The architect should accept this. Architects should take this opportunity to talk with the client. Find out how the final building meets their needs and expectations.

Final handover

The punch list is a critical step in the construction process. Task and Project Tracking means there are few surprises when you get to the end of the project. These are the last tasks to complete the building for final handover to the new owners.