What causes delays?
There are many things that can impact on timescales when it comes to delivering a project, regardless of size or the nature of the works.
Before we begin construction work, we often drill bore holes and take ground samples for analysis. This helps us determine the conditions below the surface and the structural details of the ground. In spite of this, there are occasions when what we actually encounter differs from what was anticipated, which can cause delays to the construction programme.
Heavy rain can significantly affect the underground water table flow, changing ground conditions quickly and making progress difficult, sometimes impossible. Landscaping and excavation is also impacted when we experience heavy downpours, plus materials such as tarmac and road paints will not bond when the surface is wet.
Similarly, concrete and other aggregates cannot be poured or applied in low temperatures, triggering setbacks in the work sequence. High winds can seriously affect difficult access schemes. Cranes, mobile platforms and roped access methods can all be stopped for long periods in windy conditions, for safety reasons.
Existing structures can prove to be structurally less sound than anticipated during the design process, subsequently demanding more extensive works than originally planned.
Plants such as Japanese Knotweed or Himalayan Balsam can be hidden within a site, particularly during the winter when they are reduced in size and less apparent. If discovered, removing them can be costly and time consuming to deal with in the correct way.
Quite rightly, British wildlife often has protected status, but this can sometimes affect works progress quite severely. The discovery of wildlife and other protected species can impact a programme if they have made their home within a site boundary. Often we know of their presence, but their habitat may be more extensive than initial investigations revealed. Works may be stopped until after a nesting period has finished, bats may be relocated and licenses obtained to carry out restricted works in the area.
Cornwall is a historic mining county, but there is little recorded information in regards to locations, depth and extent of mines. The discovery of mine-workings within a site boundary can have huge implications on cost and programme duration, and can even stop the works entirely.
Underground utility service records are generally good, as are location techniques. However, older services which may still be in use are often not as well recorded and their ducts less easy to locate. Redirecting services is expensive and time consuming and requires liaison with utility companies. If they are discovered after the initial site investigation, they can cause significant delays.