7 Common Pitfalls of Construction Projects

7 Common Pitfalls of Construction Projects

When starting a construction project, it is imperative to consider potential challenges that may derail the project. Most pitfalls can be addressed during the planning process since poor planning leads to poor execution. To achieve the best possible outcome for your project, here are common pitfalls to be prepared for during the construction process:

  • Inadequate task management
  • The importance of scheduling
  • Challenges in procurement
  • Lack of clear communication
  • Understanding scope and complexity
  • Ignoring site conditions
  • Inaccurate costs and budgeting

Inadequate Task Management

Completing a construction project requires input from various parties, such as contractors, sub-contractors, designers, and architects. Managing these parties and delegating tasks effectively should be thoroughly planned out. Otherwise, the disorganization may lead to unassigned jobs, unclear details, and project cost overruns due to inaccurate estimations.

To avoid this, be sure to plan out a solid foundation with all the necessary details. Create benchmarks at each stage of the project and assign the right team to tackle those goals. Having project management software can be incredibly useful for managing tasks as well.

The Importance of Scheduling

Next, create a schedule that lays out the activities and sequences of your project. Establishing these details ahead of time will help to keep your team and project on track. Consider tasks that are dependent on one another or that may overlap. You might find tasks can take advantage of shared resources, which can expedite timelines and reduce cost.

At this stage, identify potential scheduling issues that may occur and take proactive steps to overcome them. Here is where permitting headaches can be overcome or altogether avoided, as long as the right preparation takes place first! Contacts at your contractor or with design agencies can also help you navigate the permitting process. Remember, in Houston, Texas, the average construction permitting time has been known to be delayed by months.

If any scheduling details change along the way, make sure to update those times on your project’s schedule. Staying on top of changes is a vital part of proper project execution. According to a 2023 report, only 20% of respondents updated their schedules within 1-2 days of becoming aware of the change. When timeliness is key, don’t delay on updates.

Challenges in Procurement

Issues that may arise with procurement of resources can result in long lead times. This issue prevails ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, which made all of us more aware of how shaky our just-in-time systems are. If the proper plans are not made in advance, a project can be delayed while you must wait for the necessary materials.

Aside from supply and demand issues, inaccurate procurement is another problem to be aware of. Not procuring enough of the right material or ordering incorrectly can lead to longer waiting times for your project. To overcome such issues, try to diversify the supply chain by using multiple suppliers—while keeping track of all the moving parts! Be communicative and stay connected with everyone involved to promptly address any challenges that may occur.

Lack of Clear Communication

Lack of clarity can be frustrating for anyone, so it is important to maintain regular communication with everyone involved on the project. This allows for the project manager to monitor progress, address any issues that may arise, and keep all involved parties informed.

Effective communication begins early. Establish relationships between all of your stakeholders, including the general contractor, architects, engineers, and suppliers, at the beginning of your project.

Building a communication strategy can help you to meet your project goals. When making a strategy, set expectations on how often and through what modes you may need to communicate. Evaluate as you progress through the project so you can identify areas of improvement and adjust as needed.

Understanding Scope and Complexity

All projects, no matter what size they may be, require a blueprint for success. Because of this, a project that expands beyond its original plan is one of the most common pitfalls you can encounter. To circumvent this, conduct a feasibility study to help you identify all the potential benefits, barriers, and constraints that could affect your project. 

When conducting such a study, be sure to consider what is vital to the project’s success. This will allow you to define and set realistic expectations for your construction project. Additionally, it is also recommended to have a contingency plan to fall back on.

Ignoring Site Conditions

Other typical complicating factors that you may run into include: high-altitudes, flood prone areas, ground obstructions, adjoining buildings, demolition, debris clearance, remediation, underground services, and roads. Keeping your project plans in mind, consider how the site’s conditions can help you achieve those goals.

If your project takes place on a historical site or with protected wildlife (i.e. protected trees or landscaping), give the right people a seat at the table to ensure planning goes smoothly. GSD Construction recently worked on a project re-developing a historical house in downtown Houston into a school. The construction project required special protection of the building and the surrounding trees. The end result was a beautifully restored structure with the original tree-cover, exactly as the client imagined it.

Inaccurate Costs and Budgeting

When you inaccurately budget for your project, it can lead to budget overruns. Complications can lead to increased costs as well. Fluctuations in pricing can even occur due to supply and demand, economic conditions, and geopolitical factors.

Considering all of these things, it is clear that costs can fluctuate at any time, so stay informed. Be prepared for these occurrences by planning ahead and having alternative material options selected in advance.

Planning for a construction project can be a complex process, as it requires you to consider all aspects of the dynamic task to ensure it will be properly executed. With all these potential pitfalls in mind, make sure to leverage the correct strategies with your team of contractors early-on in the planning process. If you can plan ahead to account for these common pitfalls, you can significantly increase the likelihood of your construction project’s success.

Conducting a Feasibility Study

Conducting a Feasibility Study

Planning is the key to success in any commercial construction project. One of the first steps in the design and idea stage is to conduct a feasibility study. A feasibility study will be different for each project, but they all have the same end goal: minimizing the risks and unknowns and providing guidance for the viability and success of the project.

Before starting your next construction project, learn more about a feasibility study and its importance.

What is a Feasibility Study?

A feasibility study is a detailed assessment that produces information to decide whether you should proceed with the proposed project or not. It can also identify potential issues that may impact the outcome of the project.

An effective feasibility study will show all the potential benefits, barriers, and constraints that could affect the project. It will also help to set the course of the project.

Conducting a feasibility study can produce many benefits to a commercial construction project such as

  • Minimizing risks
  • Preventing cost overruns
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance
  • Refining the project design and scope
  • Establishing realistic timelines

Things to Consider

Think of a feasibility study as an evaluation of the entire project, including market conditions and the technicality of the project itself.

A comprehensive feasibility study will focus on areas such as:

  1. Technical
    • Site analysis
    • Workforce plan
    • Driveways and traffic patterns
    • Geological risks
    • Utility plans
    • Stormwater drainage mitigation
  2. Legal
    • Building codes
    • Legal requirements and approvals
    • The organization of the business (LLC, corporations, LP, etc.)
  3. Economic
    • Cost/benefit analysis
    • Financial projections
  4. Market
    • Industry climate
    • Competitor analysis
    • How you will compete

Is a Feasibility Study Always Necessary?

While a feasibility study is not a required part of the construction process, not conducting one can lead to further issues down the road.

Michelle Patton, owner of MPCE, finds when companies don’t complete feasibility studies, they face increased project costs and delays. Oftentimes, developers want to assume their design is fine and skip the feasibility stage. This assumption can lead to bottlenecks later in the process as plans have to be reworked to meet a certain requirement or delays in the approval process. She urges that a feasibility study can benefit even simple and straightforward projects.

When conducting your feasibility study, it can help to consult an industry expert. At GSD Construction, we’ve had over 13 years of experience in commercial construction and can offer you guidance on your project. Contact us to learn more.

Navigating the Pre-Construction Process

Navigating the Pre-Construction Process

Whether you’re deciding to build a new commercial building or renovate an existing one, it can be an exciting time.

The most crucial part of the construction process is the pre-construction phase, as it lays the foundation for the project’s success. During this phase, important decisions are made, obstacles are defined, and plans are prepared. Navigating the pre-construction can be challenging, so we’ve simplified it to be more manageable. 

What is the Pre-Construction Process?

The pre-construction process is the preliminary process the determines the framework how the job is set up and run. During this phase, your team of professionals meets to discuss the project plan, design, and logistics.

Here are 6 phases to the pre-construction process.

Define the Scope

The first step is to determine the feasibility and scope of the project. This can include a suitability analysis and feasibility studies. A few key questions to answer are:

  • What am I building? Why is it needed?
  • What location is most suitable for the building I want?
  • What can you afford to build?
  • What are the factors that will make my project viable?
  • What resources will be required to complete the project?
  • What sources of financing are available to me?

Selecting the Right Team

A construction project can require a lot of different skill sets. Your general contractor will work with you to select the additional members needed, such as architects, consultants, and sub-contractors. When selecting a team, set criteria to score each potential firm and ask for project references.

Our contractor scorecard can be a great reference when selecting your team.


After determining the feasibility of the project, a budget is defined. Here, the contractor and design team work together to bring your vision to life with a realistic budget, including alternatives.

This budget will contain hard and soft costs. The hard costs relate directly to the physical construction, such as general contractor costs, subcontractor costs, and materials. Soft costs are necessary to the project but don’t relate directly to the physical building.

Details and Scheduling

Now that you have a building planned and a clear budget, the finer details can be determined. Details can include:

  • Size
  • Layout
  • Style
  • Utilities
  • Materials
  • Other essential details

From this, a schedule can be created. This schedule defines stages of the project with deadlines for requirements such as materials, permits, and more. Your general contractor will refer to this throughout the entire construction process to ensure the project is on schedule and take preventative action for potential risks.


Sourcing the right materials can be time-consuming, especially if there are supply chain delays. During this phase, your contractor will detail the number and types of materials needed for the project. They will also keep track of lead time lengths to keep the project on schedule and on budget.

Permits and Inspection

It’s important to know what permits are needed for the project and when to obtain them. Permit acquisition times have increased and can lead to issues and delays further down the line. Avoid disruptions with proper planning and phased permitting.

Once permits are purchased, initial inspections can start. This is to ensure all activities and plans meet code before the actual construction begins. Some of the key inspections are:

  • Site investigation and soil test
  • Building plan and document inspections

A successful pre-construction process helps lay the groundwork for a successful project, ensuring it is completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of the client. GSD Construction works with you throughout the entire process, from inception to completion.

Stay tuned for more information as we dive further into the pre-construction processes. In the meantime, if you have questions or want more information, connect with us.

Building For The Future: Adapting Commercial Spaces To Changing Business Needs

Building For The Future: Adapting Commercial Spaces To Changing Business Needs

The business landscape is constantly changing, driven by technological advancements, evolving work dynamics, and changing customer expectations. Businesses must adapt their commercial spaces to meet the evolving demands of the work landscape. Adapting commercial spaces goes beyond mere aesthetics; it involves creating environments that foster collaboration, productivity, and employee well-being and align with the demands of the digital age.

Understanding Changing Business Needs

To effectively adapt commercial spaces, it is essential to understand the changing needs of businesses:

1. Shifting Work Dynamics 

The rise of remote work and flexible work arrangements has become increasingly prevalent. Companies now require commercial spaces supporting in-person and remote collaboration, offering flexibility and seamless connectivity. Office layouts must be designed knowing that teams may sometimes be physically present in different spaces. The optimal hybrid workspace includes integrating technology to facilitate virtual meetings, digital communication, and collaboration tools that bridge the gap between remote and on-site employees.

2. Flexible and Collaborative Work Environments 

Traditional rigid office setups give way to dynamic and adaptable spaces that encourage teamwork, creativity, and innovation. Commercial spaces should include flexible furniture arrangements and communal areas. Modular furniture allows easy reconfiguration to accommodate different work activities and potential changes in needs. By creating open rooms and shared spaces, businesses can promote interaction and cross-functional collaboration, essential for problem-solving and knowledge sharing.

GSD Construction’s Conference Room is a great example of incorporating natural elements into the buildings design.

3. Employee Well-Being and Productivity 

Modern businesses recognize the importance of employee well-being and its impact on productivity. Ergonomic workstations, adjustable furniture, and supportive seating contribute to employee comfort and reduce fatigue. Incorporating design elements such as plants and natural materials can improve employee’s moods, reduce stress, and increase productivity. 

4. Embracing Technology and Digital Transformation 

The digital age demands technology integration into commercial spaces. High-speed internet, innovative office solutions, and virtual collaboration tools are necessary for efficient operations, streamlined communication, and enhanced productivity. Reliable internet connectivity ensures seamless access to digital resources and supports real-time collaboration between in-person and virtual employees.

Adapting Commercial Spaces

To successfully adapt commercial spaces to changing business needs, consider the following strategies:

Seidel-Schroeder utilized modular cubicles to allow for potential growth or office changes.

1. Redesigning Office Layouts 

Create flexible and modular office layouts that can be easily reconfigured. Add adjustable furniture, movable partitions, and multifunctional spaces to accommodate changing work requirements. Emphasize open areas and collaboration zones to foster interaction and creativity. Design spaces that cater to different work styles, including quiet areas for focused work and collaborative spaces for group discussions. By incorporating flexible design principles, departments can adapt their rooms to the evolving needs of their team.

Seidel-Schroeder’s conference room includes a monitor and smart speaker to accommodate virtual meetings.

2. Embracing Technology and Connectivity 

Ensure robust internet connectivity and infrastructure to support seamless communication and operations. Incorporate smart monitors and 360° conference call cameras for convenient collaboration. Integrating technology into commercial spaces enhances productivity, streamlines processes, and improves operational efficiency.

Overcoming Challenges in Adaptation

Adapting commercial spaces may present challenges, including financial considerations, privacy concerns, and legal and regulatory requirements.

The initial investment in adapting offices can be a significant barrier for businesses. However, companies can explore cost-effective solutions, such as leasing options, shared spaces, or phased renovation plans. Privacy concerns can be addressed by creating designated private areas or implementing soundproofing solutions in open office environments. Adhering to legal and regulatory requirements requires thorough research and compliance with building codes, accessibility guidelines, and safety regulations.

Adapting commercial spaces to changing business needs is essential for businesses to thrive in the future. Successful adaptations require careful planning, flexibility, and a commitment to continuously evolve to meet the changing demands of the modern business landscape. By building for the future, businesses can position themselves for long-term success and remain at the forefront of their industries.

Deliver, Don’t Delay: 5 Recommendations for Avoiding Costly (and Frustrating!) Delays in Commercial Construction

Deliver, Don’t Delay: 5 Recommendations for Avoiding Costly (and Frustrating!) Delays in Commercial Construction

Construction projects are often delayed for various reasons, including inadequate planning, poor communication between stakeholders, changes to the scope of work, unforeseen circumstances, and even disruptions caused by global events (think: the COVID-19 pandemic and supply shortages—remember the 200%+ increase in lumber prices?).

Delays are not only frustrating, but they are typically costly, and they can have a significant impact on schedules and outcome quality. When building on a commercial scale, these negative consequences are compounded even further.

This article will discuss 5 recommendations for avoiding delays in your next commercial construction project.

Always create a written, detailed project plan.

Even if you think you have a clear road ahead, always write down your plan. Writing down your plan can uncover gaps, disparities, or potential conflicts that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Your written plan should include:

  • Detailed timeline, checkpoints, meetings, and deliverable dates
  • Budget, including a buffer to absorb unexpected costs
  • List of tasks and assignments

It is important to consider all the potential risks and challenges that may occur and plan accordingly. Working with your contractor, engineer, and architect can help you understand what storms might be just on the horizon, and they can arm you with the necessary tools to navigate what lies ahead.

Get all stakeholders on board early.

Get the input you need from all stakeholders, including the owner, financing institution, architect, engineer, and contractor as early as possible. It is likely that the needs and demands of each group are interconnected and dependent on other parties, so establishing clear communication lines early will be key.

Communicate regularly with stakeholders.

Your stakeholders can be your greatest asset, as long as you start communicating with them early on in the project timeline.

One of the most common delays—permitting delays—can be mitigated and even altogether avoided with the help of your stakeholders.

Permitting and the permit approval process is commonly misunderstood, as we describe in our article, “Build Without Fear: What to Expect In Your Commercial Construction Project.” Even the most prepared and experienced professionals can’t always avoid the extra hassle and patience that permitting approvals require. Lean on your architect and contractor for help through this process for the least number of delays possible.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

No matter how well you plan, something unexpected will always happen. As long as you have the right resources and processes in place, you can overcome these not-so-fun surprises. 

There are many common reasons for delays. In 2008, 21% of respondents selected weather as a reason for construction project delays.

For delays like those caused by weather, contingency plans can help mitigate the effects.

Monitor the project closely.

It is important to monitor the project and all of its moving parts closely from early on. Keeping an eye on potential delays will allow you to correct and redirect as needed to make sure you stay on schedule.

For example, GSD Construction worked on a project that required an elevator that had a lead time of 30 weeks! Because we ordered it well in advance for our client, it didn’t result in the nightmare of a situation that could have happened without close monitoring. If you’re not diligent about these kinds of delays, your schedule and your budget could turn into something more like a pipe dream than a reality.

In addition to the five recommendations above, make sure you are always looking for trusted, reputable partners in the construction process. Here are some additional tips to keep you on schedule with your next project:

  • Choose a reputable, experienced contractor who will be able to guide you through a complex project process
  • Be clear about your expectations and your project scope early on with your contractor. Change orders are a leading cause of delays in construction projects.
  • Use a written tracker to monitor the project’s progress, and allow key stakeholders to collaborate on the tracker.

By following these key recommendations, you’ll have a smooth-sailing commercial construction project process, and you’ll end up with the office, industrial, retail, or educational space of your dreams.

5 Strategies for Managing Construction Costs

5 Strategies for Managing Construction Costs

Effective construction cost management is crucial for completing projects on time, within budget, and to the required quality. However, balancing the need for quality with cost control can be challenging. With these five strategies, you can take a few steps to ensure your project stays within budget. 

1. Develop a Detailed Project Plan 

A detailed project plan is essential for managing construction costs. It can help accomplish several goals, including: 

  • Establishing a roadmap for the project
  • Identifying critical milestones
  • Keeping everyone on track. 

When developing your project plan, consider all the resources and timelines required. Planning upfront can help you stay on track and avoid any unexpected expenses.

2. Conduct a Thorough Site Analysis 

Conducting a thorough site analysis before construction can help identify potential challenges and limitations that could impact the project’s costs. For example, if there are existing underground utilities that need to be relocated, this construction effort could start to rack up surprise expenses. You can plan accordingly and minimize unexpected costs by identifying potential challenges early.

3. Hire a Reliable Contractor 

Selecting a reliable contractor is crucial for managing construction costs. A good contractor has a reputation for managing costs effectively and can provide you with accurate estimatesnegotiate with suppliers, and find cost-effective solutions. You should look for a contractor with a proven track recordreferences, and a portfolio of completed projects.

Read our article on the benefits of working with a local construction company to get more insight into your options for contractors.

4. Manage Resources Effectively 

Managing resources effectively is critical to minimizing construction costs. Overstaffing can lead to unnecessary labor costs, while underutilizing equipment can lead to longer project durations and increased costs.

5. Embrace Technology 

Technology is revolutionizing the construction industry, and construction companies can use technology to manage costs effectively. For instance, project management software can help you keep track of expenses and avoid overspending. Building Information Modeling (BIM) can also help you detect potential cost overruns early.

Bonus tip: Plan for Contingencies 

Construction projects can often encounter unexpected events that drive up costs. It is crucial to plan for contingencies to minimize their impact on the project’s cost. For example, you can allocate a contingency fund to address unforeseen events or include a schedule buffer to deal with schedule delays.

Managing construction costs requires careful planning and execution. By following these strategies, you can effectively manage construction costs and ensure your project stays on budget.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more strategies and tips!