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6 Tips for Preventing Cost Overrun on Projects

Updated: Jul 2

The ideal way to cope with building budget overruns is to avoid them altogether. That is accomplished by preparation, but not only for the predictable dangers, but also for the unforeseeable ones.

Tip 1: Build a risk management strategy.

A risk management strategy is required for any project, no matter how large or small. The strategy doesn't have to be complicated, but it should be as thorough as possible.

Imagination is needed to create a risk management strategy. At each point of the process, you must understand what might potentially go wrong. If you really want to be thorough, you should consider the risks associated with each WBS object.

You'll soon learn two valuable lessons: there are risks for which you can plan ahead of time and risks for which you can't.

If there are risks you can prepare for, make a list of your choices for eliminating or minimizing them and consider which path to take.

Unforeseen uncertainties necessitate a study of the insurance policies and contract terms. You may either insure against the possibility or transfer it to another party.

If you want to delay the harm, bear in mind that transferring it to those who have no leverage over it is unlikely to provide adequate protection. You'll also gain some new enemies as a result of the transfer.

If you want to delay the harm, bear in mind that transferring it to those who have no leverage over it is unlikely to provide adequate protection. You'll also gain some new enemies as a result of the transfer.

Tip 2: Track your budget

One of the most common sources of cost overruns is a lack of budget control, which is also one of the easiest to prevent. You'll be able to see how the budget is progressing if you keep track of the progress of different projects, labor, supplies, and other factors. You'll now be able to see early signs of budget overruns, giving you the opportunity to fix problems before they get out of reach. It is much better to fix a 10% cost overrun than a 50% cost overrun.

Help from an outsourced accounting firm can help you with these issues. They can help you use accounting software proficiently, record spending budgets, and show the progress of your construction project.

Tip 3: Estimate accurately

One of the most important sources of cost overruns is inaccurate budget projections. If you proceed with erroneous schedules and budgets, the project will be doomed from the start. Estimating a project can be difficult because there are too many variables to consider, such as time, expense, materials, and so on. Don't get into the trap of using a one-size-fits-all solution.

Using a budget template that is focused on related programs instead. Examine if other programs have gone over budget and use the information to inform your future predictions.

Above everything, maintain a sense of realism. Obtain feedback from all stakeholders, contractors, and other team members who have worked on related projects in the past. This will help you create a budget that is more practical and accurate from the start.

Tip 4: Stop works when payments are late

There are some situations when the client fails to pay the invoices on schedule and the General Contractor continues to work patiently. Then, all of a sudden, the client declares bankruptcy, and the legal process begins, resulting in yet more expenditures.

If a client does not pay his invoices on time, speak with him right away to attempt and figure out why he is late. It's possible because this client lacks collateral or isn't receiving checks from his or her trustee. In this case, the rational option is to postpone working before you are paid, giving you the opportunity to suggest someone else should take over.

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Tip 5: Know Your Vendors

Often projects may work with outside contractors to complete particular assignments or include supplies and equipment. Any outside vendor partnership exposes the project to cost overruns that are frequently beyond your influence.

To begin, determine the vendor's capability and whether or not they will be able to meet the requirements. Make sure the cost quoted by the vendor is right. Then, before signing the deal, do some research to see how the vendor follows deadlines and what people have to say about their experience dealing with them.

Tip 6: Expect the Unexpected

Delays — and resulting cost overruns — in large-scale building projects can be caused by a variety of factors, including change orders, inclement weather, financial problems, and supply chain disturbances. It's not uncommon for building contractors to discover unexpected issues after work starts that were not anticipated.

Make provisions in the contracts for natural disasters and the unexpected, and have a mechanism in place to deal with them. This necessitates considering several "what-if" possibilities, looking ahead, and engaging with those involved — the essential aspects of a successful business continuity strategy.

Most schemes need a reserve of 10-15% of the overall cost estimate. The contingency should be bigger the larger the undertaking. If the weather delays the foundation pouring by a week, for example, you'll have to reschedule vendors, which may be costly. This should be part of the backup plan.


Are you ready to get help, or are you still not sure if you need help to run your construction business? Contact Construction Cost Accounting to have a free 15-minute consultation!


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