The costs of construction are growing every single year, as everything from fuel to materials becomes more expensive. While we can pass some of these expenses on to the consumer, it’s up to builders to reduce construction costs and prevent delays from causing problems. Here are our top tips for cutting down construction costs and preventing expensive delays.
Consider Adopting Lean Techniques
At a glance, lean manufacturing might look like a challenging set of techniques to adapt for use by MEP design engineers and construction companies in CA. But you don’t have to go completely lean. Instead, feel free to cherry-pick the techniques that work best for you. The core tenet of lean manufacturing is the elimination of waste.
This can take a number of different shapes, from reducing the amount of waste a project generates, to eliminating wasted time. The latter isn’t just costly — it can also make it more difficult to meet deadlines, leading to expensive delays. Start by assessing your current processes and figuring out where you should make changes to maximize productivity and reduce waste, thereby reducing costs.
Look at Alternate Building Materials
Building materials are some of the biggest costs in the industry. It can be challenging to reduce material costs, but some promising options are becoming more popular among MEP engineering firms and commercial/residential structural engineers in CA.
Recycled or reclaimed construction materials don’t just cost less than their new counterparts. They’re just as effective, but they have the added benefit of reducing the project’s carbon footprint and being more environmentally-friendly.
The latter might not directly help you reduce costs, but it does make for great public relations when you’re looking for new clients. Consumers are willing to pay more or go out of their way to use recycled materials and reduce their carbon footprint, making choosing these materials a win-win for any company that adds these materials to their repertoire.
Shop Around for Materials
As a consumer, you wouldn’t make a big purchase without doing a little bit of research. Similarly, as a contractor, you shouldn’t be buying construction materials without doing the same.
As a construction specialist or structural engineering consultant in CA, don’t settle for the first seller or supplier that crosses your path — especially when cutting costs is a concern. Shop around. Compare what different sellers have to offer and make your decision based on the companies that are capable of offering you the best value for the highest quality supplies.
This is also the perfect opportunity to start building strong supplier relationships. Building a professional relationship with your suppliers often gives you the chance to negotiate better deals and prices. This is the case, especially if you’re making frequent orders for similar projects. Take the time to find a supplier that matches your company’s values and is willing to work with you to create a healthy and productive relationship for both parties.
Perfect Your Cost Estimation Techniques
It’s impossible to know exactly how much a construction project might cost, but creating detailed estimates can help you prevent things from sneaking up on you once you break ground and start building. Learning how to estimate costs might not help you cut costs directly, but it will prevent unexpected expenses from cropping up as the project progresses.
Take the time to practice and perfect your cost estimation techniques. Choose the technique that works best for you. You may need to tweak it a little bit to accommodate each new project. However, in general, once you perfect your cost estimate, you won’t need to change it too much.
Opt for Used Instead of New Equipment
Construction equipment is a necessity for every project. But if cutting costs is your ultimate goal, you shouldn’t necessarily invest in the newest toys on the market. Purchasing used equipment from a licensed reseller is a great way to get everything you need without paying for new equipment.
Make sure you’re inspecting each piece of equipment before purchase, even if you’re buying from a reseller. Refurbished used equipment is a great option, but if you don’t take the time to carry out a comprehensive inspection, you could find yourself on-the-hook for equipment that doesn’t do everything you need, with no way to get your money back or purchase a replacement.
Limit or Eliminate Change Orders
Consumers are often fickle and may change their minds during the project. Small changes or customizations are one thing, but if you find yourself working with a customer that constantly demands changes after plans are finalized, you’ll find yourself struggling to meet deadlines and running over on costs.
The easiest way to prevent problems is to limit or eliminate change orders once your plans are finalized. Some flexibility is permissible for errors that might crop up. However, don’t allow your clients to have free reign when it comes to making changes. You’ll end up spending a lot more and may still end up with an upset customer in the end. The hassle of changing orders simply isn’t worth it.
Always Be on the Lookout for Ways to Cut Costs
Cutting costs and preventing construction delays doesn’t necessarily have to be a difficult task. Sometimes, something as simple as offering recycled building materials can make an enormous difference. This includes both cost savings and consumer relationships.
For construction companies, the primary focus is the health of your equipment fleet and your ability to estimate costs. For the former, opt for used equipment rather than new. It’s just as good as what you’ll buy brand-new off the lot without the added expense.
For the latter, take the time to practice and perfect your cost estimation techniques. It might sound simple but having a plan in place for cost estimation prevents unexpected expenses for you. You will never cut costs directly with an estimation plan. However, you will end up saving yourself a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
Rose Morrison is an AEC industry writer and the managing editor of Renovated. To read more of her work, check out her site.