Tall buildings top list of shame as research shows high proportion of complex schemes are delayed

About two-thirds of high-rise construction projects are completed late and almost a fifth are more than six months behind schedule.

These are the findings of research by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) into more than 2,000 schemes.

In a report to be published today, the CIOB said “poor time control” was responsible for the industry’s dismal record on delays.

About half of the engineering projects examined were not finished by the completion date, and 18% were more than six months behind schedule.

High-rise building projects performed particularly poorly, with a fifth completed more than six months late and a third finishing on time.

Meanwhile, simpler projects, including low-rise offices, educational buildings and shopping malls, were deemed to have a “reasonable chance” of completing on time or early.

The CIOB said better facilities were needed to train and accredit planning engineers and project schedulers in time management techniques.

Keith Pickavance, the CIOB’s senior vice president, who will become the institute’s president later this month, will present the findings today.

He said: “We have to accept that respondents regarded the time-management on construction projects as generally poor.

“The growth in training, education and skill levels in the use of time management techniques has not kept pace with technology. This should be of concern, as there is a trend towards developing contracts which are increasingly punitive if not executed efficiently.”

He added that the construction industry used the latest technology in “virtually every other field” but time control, where software was used ineffectively, if at all.

Contractors – who usually got the blame for delayed completion – were found to have consulted design teams about the time management strategy in 10% of projects surveyed. None of the respondents said a scheme’s electrical engineer was consulted.

The CIOB also found that delays were not often announced “promptly or widely”. Only 20% of those surveyed said delays had been declared when it was not required by the contract.