The benefits of fast track construction are many and well-documented, especially the potential speed to revenue benefits for the owner/developer. Certain delivery methods that facilitate fast track construction, such as the increasingly common “design-build” method, call for untraditional ways of operating. And while the potential cost and time savings of fast track construction are real, there are some inherent risks. Owners and general contractors (GCs) must be aware of these risks in order to see through a smooth fast track construction project to its completion.
Premature Bidding of Work Can Raise Issues
In a rush to get subcontractors involved in a fast track construction project as quickly as possible, it’s not uncommon for owners and general contractors to fail in completing the terms of agreement before bidding out the work. If the terms are not exactly defined from the get-go, the lines can easily be blurred regarding what work remains in the scope of the project. Specifically, since the design of a project is typically not finalized when construction begins, it can be unclear if work on the adjusted design is in or out of scope. Owners and general contractors would argue that the work on adjusted design is within scope and simply the finalization of the original design, while subcontractors could argue on the grounds that the rules of the game were changed on the job. Owners and GCs must be as clear as possible when defining terms (with the understanding that it is occasionally impossible to clarify terms without a completely finalized design in place).
Change Order Claims Can and Will Cause Delays
Change order claims can create the worst problem a fast track construction project could face outside of litigation — delays. Again, the fact the design of a project is still under revision during construction can present problems for the subcontractors. If a subcontractor believes work is out of scope, they could (understandably) dig their heels in and create a domino effect of unfinished work. Subcontractors could imply and execute work that isn’t yet listed in the design that they feel is necessary to complete their job. Worse, they could also imply unspecified work must be done by another subcontractor in order to begin or complete their own work. Both the owner and the general contractor must keep consistent communication with the subcontractors to understand their expectations of a project. If unspecified work is requested by a subcontractor, an owner signing off early (with the help of the designer) can mitigate change order claims down the road.
Simplifying the Installation of Concrete Slabs
Speaking of implicit work, concrete subcontractors using rapid-drying concrete shouldn’t fret about topical moisture mitigation solutions. In the case of conventional concrete, moisture mitigation solutions are a must before flooring can be installed (in order to prevent the erosion, cupping, cracking and expansion of flooring materials). Rapid-drying concrete dries within 45 days, giving the subcontractor and the general contractor an understanding of when other trades in the construction process can continue with their own work. In an industry where change order claims and vague contract terms can derail a project, using rapid-drying concrete can save a headache or two while dramatically cutting down project completion time.