Faith Tangara
Content Writer
7 Causes of Construction Rework | Evercam

7 Causes of Construction Rework | Evercam

Construction rework is a field activity that must be repeated or undertaken again after completing work due to an impending correction that was required to be carried out during the project’s execution. It can be defined as the unnecessary effort of redoing an activity that was not done well the first time.

Rework is performed when a construction element fails to meet customer requirements or when the completed work fails to comply with the actual contract. In either case, the product is modified to ensure compliance. However, the need for rework may not be discovered until some type of quality control check is performed, allowing the type of rework required to be determined.

Causes of Rework

Construction projects, particularly large-scale ones, function similarly to economies. They are complex market-driven systems that must work in perfect harmony to maximize productivity and profitability. However, construction sites, like economies, are not perfect.

Construction rework occurs when construction sites do not run smoothly. It is important to understand the typical nature and underlying dynamics of an error in order to detect and eliminate it. Reworks are typically the result of primary causes such as errors, changes, and omissions.


A change in design can have an impact on the aesthetics and other aspects of the building, as well as the scope and nature of the work. Rework caused by changes can have a negative impact on productivity and overall project performance. The primary source of rework in construction projects is design-related rework in the form of change orders.


Errors in the design process that manifest later in the procurement process have a significant impact on rework. It has been observed that the longer an error goes undetected, the more likely rework is.

The amount of rework required is determined by how long the error went undetected. For example, a spatial conflict or dimensional error in the design credentials could go unnoticed until onsite construction begins.

Design-Related Factors:

Lack of collaboration with the design team leads to design flaws and exacerbates the causes of rework. The most common causes are design errors or changes, labour shortage, lack of professionalism on the part of the designers, and poor document control.

Site Management:

Construction reworks can result from a lack of proper management and supervision, poor employee coordination, unclear instructions to workers, and excessive overtime. Workers should receive proper training and instructions for the assigned task. To avoid mistakes and conflicts of interest each employee should understand their role at the site.

Equipment Failures:

Aside from the materials, the condition and performance of the equipment and machinery should be thoroughly checked ahead of time. These factors include lack of safety, equipment failure, and late deliveries. The majority of these causes can be avoided by ensuring that all necessary equipment is in good working order prior to starting construction.

Client Change Orders:

Client-related factors that contribute to rework include a lack of experience and knowledge of design and the construction process, a lack of client involvement in the project, a lack of funding, inadequate briefing and communication with design consultants, and deficiencies in the contract documentation.

To ensure project completion on time, clients should communicate and coordinate with their project team members. To avoid rework, clients should share the necessary information with the appropriate people and at the appropriate time. The construction companies, as well as the clients, bear responsibility for the project’s efficient management.

Workers at a construction site. Source: Pixabay

Cost of Construction Rework

The construction industry spends roughly $178 Billion on fixing errors according to a PlanGrid and FMI survey. Normally, rework on construction projects has a negative impact on project cost and schedule, as well as project productivity. In the construction industry, rework typically costs about 5% of the total contract value.

And time overruns are even worse, accounting for roughly 7.1% of total work hours. While not every aspect of the project will be reworked, it’s easy to see how these costs can add up. These overruns have an impact on overall relationships among trade contractors, general contractors, and owners, making it critical to reduce the percentage of rework on a project.

In summary;

  • It is estimated that between 4-6% of total project costs can be attributed to rework
  • Construction rework activities contribute directly to (up to) 300% in productivity losses.
  • Up to 70% of all rework in construction can be traced back to engineering and design-related errors.
  • Another study determined that almost 80% of cost deviations on projects are related to design, while only 17% are related to construction activities.
  • Of the rework related to construction activities, 48% is caused by miscommunication and 26% is caused by poor communication amongst team members.
  • An estimated 30% of all work done on construction projects can be classified as rework.
Impact of construction rework. Source: Evercam Construction Cameras
Impact of construction rework. Source: File

Mitigating Construction Rework

Most construction projects involve rework; however, there is a growing consensus that it is avoidable and unnecessary. Many businesses are making a concerted effort to avoid rework by improving communication workflows, streamlining processes, and providing detailed documentation.

Minimize Changes:

Change isn’t always bad; sometimes changes at the start of a project set it up for success. Unnecessary late-stage changes, on the other hand, confuse stakeholders and frequently result in rework. This is why it is critical to include trade contractors in the planning and development stages of a project.

When stakeholders include trade contractors, they gain access to the doers’ professional options. Trade contractors can determine whether a design is constructible. Knowing a project’s constructibility from the start will prevent many change orders and late-stage changes. Stakeholders must also agree on a stop date, which is the date by which all non-essential, non-emergency changes must be completed.

Align Project Teams Early:

When all stakeholders and contractors on a project treat their respective spheres as separate entities, chaos is likely to reign. Rather than allowing chaos to reign, consider implementing more modern and cohesive approaches, such as integrated project delivery (IPD), a collaborative delivery method that treats everyone on the project as if they are part of the same firm.  This will result in improved outcomes of the project.

Adopt Digital Connected Solutions:

Some systems such as Excel spreadsheets and lengthy email chains can cause errors. They do not reflect changes in real time, and workers must travel long distances into an office to find the information they require—by which time it is frequently too late to make good use of it. Instead, adopt digital connected, and cloud-powered construction solutions to automate some of those time-consuming and frequently error-prone administrative tasks. 

Investing in construction cameras and project management technology will help a construction firm in reducing rework by improving accuracy, communication, and job site visibility. Subcontractors and all other stakeholders are able to see everything that is happening on a project in real-time and may be able to spot a mistake before it occurs.

As previously stated, technology promotes collaboration and quick communication, which saves time in decision-making. Technology helps with detailed record keeping and keeps documents in a centralized location, which improves accuracy and increases productivity. Failure to keep detailed records is a major cause of scrap and rework that could have been avoided.