6 tips to make sure a new build housing project stays on schedule
There are many factors to take into consideration when developing a site for new build housing. Due to this, it is common for originally anticipated timescales to slip. Delays not only cause stress and hassle but can also cost money, so it’s crucial that you stick to the program as much as possible, or your profits could be affected.
There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of a project taking longer than anticipated. Here are 6 tips to make sure a new build housing project stays on schedule.
Host a pre-start meeting
A new build housing project requires many different teams, such as construction, technical and commercial (to name but a few), to ensure its success. A pre-start meeting is a great way to bring those departments together to discuss the project before works commence.
If there are issues that could prove problematic or areas of particular concern, a pre-start meeting is an ideal opportunity to address them. It is also the perfect time to establish where things stand concerning planning permissions, road construction consents, and any other permissions or works that need dealing with before getting started.
Realistic build program
There will be pressure on construction teams to have properties ready by specific dates to ensure that financial parameters are met. However, it is pointless working to an unachievable program. If it is realistic from the outset, then there is a far higher chance of success. You will likely hit a few bumps in the road further down the line, so if you can add a contingency of a few weeks, then do so.
It’s also a good idea to review the program during the financial year and change it if you encounter unavoidable delays and know that you are unlikely to claw this back.
Commercial and finance teams will be working in the background to project income and expenditure, and they will use the current build programs to do this. Communicating with them is crucial, or your financial year-end could end up looking a lot different from your original projections.
Make sure groundworks are taken care of
Various elements need to be dealt with in terms of groundworks before building works can begin, which is where the role of engineers plays a part. If these works are delayed, it could impact the building program, so it’s worth having regular on-site meetings and deal with any issues asap. Civil engineers deal with site surveys, garden levels, drainage requirements, sewers, cut and fill, and a range of other things.
Many experienced professionals are looking for civil engineering jobs, so it may be worth considering bringing in your own engineer to oversee things. Many housing developers do this to make jobs far more streamlined and ensure they have an experienced in-house point of contact, should any issues arise. It could also save money in the long run, particularly if dealing with contaminated land.
Ensure color selections are made in advance
Site managers need to call off things like kitchens, tiles, and countertops at specific points during the construction process, so it’s essential that these are available whenever the site team needs them. Customers will usually be given the opportunity to make their own choices for these, so your sales staff must be on the ball when it comes to having this done.
Setting timescales for these to be picked by and ensuring that clients have made their choices in advance will ensure that there are no delays when it comes to these being ordered by the site manager. If this isn’t done, it could cause all manner of issues and could ultimately result in customers not being able to occupy their homes within the timescales originally proposed.
Where a plot remains unsold, sales representatives should make the color selections for these plots…just make sure they choose something that will appeal to the masses!
You are far more likely to finish a development on time if your staff are happy so try to keep them motivated and make sure that there is a good atmosphere in your office and on-site. It’s also wise to check that there isn’t a disparity in workloads. If one member of staff is rushed off their feet while another has very little to do, it can cause animosity. If work needs to be reallocated, then do so – you are far more likely to keep things on schedule if workloads are fairly distributed.
Another great way to motivate staff is to ask for and give feedback. If an employee isn’t happy with something but doesn’t feel they can discuss it, it could exacerbate the issue. You don’t have to do this formally – even sitting down once a week with your team or with specific departments and asking how things are going could do the trick.
Employ a good sales team
You may be able to build the houses on time, but if you can’t sell them, you won’t make any money, which is why having an excellent sales team is crucial. Although it isn’t essential, employing staff who have experience working in new build sales is a good idea. It can be very different from standard sales as they will mainly be working off-plan. If they already know how to read a floor plan and the information they need to provide to customers, it will make things a lot easier.
When it comes to the time of color selections being required, the plot would, ideally, already be sold. If that isn’t the case, then, as we touched on earlier, choices need to be made in-house. It is not ideal as it can make a plot harder to sell, and also locks up valuable cash the longer it stays unoccupied, so selling fast is paramount.
Never underestimate the power of a good sales consultant. It could make all the difference when it comes to a project being finished on time.