A carefully designed snag list is a prerequisite for successful defect management in commercial construction. We therefore provide you with a free MS Excel template, which you can fill in and adapt according to your individual needs. Simply fill out the form below to receive the free Excel Snag List template. This spreadsheet will save you time, give you a better overview and ensure that no important points are forgotten when it comes to documenting and fixing snags.
Construction defects, also called snags, occur more often than is commonly assumed. It doesn’t take much for a snag to occur; a misunderstanding, lack of qualifications, or a well-intentioned oversight. Construction defects in commercial construction are therefore unavoidable. But thanks to a proper defect management system, contractors and subcontractors can document and correct snags in such a way that solutions can be reached in a satisfactory manner. That is exactly what this article is about. Learn what a commercial construction inspection checklist might look like, what challenges commercial construction faces, and what contractors can do to improve the quality of their work.
What are the common challenges when it comes to the construction of commercial buildings?
In the last four years, the commercial construction market in the UK has shrunk by almost 16 per cent. However, commercial construction remains significant to the construction industry, delivering thousands of projects across the UK each year. Compared to the industry in the 20th century, several things have improved, both for contractors and for clients and construction workers. However, there are also new challenges that the commercial construction sector is currently facing. It is these challenges, among others, that contribute to construction defects. Admittedly, a single economic development can rarely be blamed for the emergence of a snag. However, at least some of the current challenges are related to the development of construction defects. In order to know the reasons why construction snags occur, one has to become familiar with the developments that the market is currently facing.
In the following section, we therefore present a selection of current challenges in the commercial construction industry.
Building projects in time and in accordance with quality standards
The goal of every construction company is to complete its projects on time and in the quality that has been ordered. By doing so, the customer is satisfied, and the company has been able to prove its reputation. However, experience has shown that it is becoming increasingly difficult for many companies to meet the requirements in terms of quality and time. This has been partly due to the fact that quality requirements in the UK and many other countries around the world have increased tremendously over the last few decades. Together with growing competitive pressure, it therefore becomes more and more challenging for numerous companies in the commercial construction industry to reconcile the requirements regarding time and quality together with competitive prices.
Hence, a dangerous source of snags is created. When time is of the essence and standards are rising at the same time, achieving these standards becomes difficult. Moreover, as standards are rising, snags are created that would not have been considered snags a decade or two ago. This may at least partly explain the increasing number of construction snags.
The excessive price increases we have been seeing for about a year are another huge challenge for commercial construction. In the UK, the prices of energy and building materials have risen massively over the last twelve months. The price increases of construction materials go hand in hand with the disrupted supply chains. With the lockdowns in Asia, factories were closed, transport routes to ports were cut off and ports were shut down. In addition, the war in Ukraine led to supply stoppages from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.
One cause of the general inflation, which drove up labour costs and operating expenses, was the increase in the money supply through the Covid relief funds during the first year of the pandemic, which served to mitigate the economic impact of the lockdowns.
However, the most significant driver of increased prices for commercial construction in the UK at the moment is considered to be high energy prices. They are a consequence of the war in Ukraine, and are driving up the production of building materials as well as transport and direct construction costs. Employees’ private costs are also soaring, which is why workers are demanding higher wages, which further increases labour costs. In order to still remain competitive, construction companies must try to limit their operating costs without compromising the quality of their projects. This poses a particular challenge when building for business clients who calculate with fixed budgets. If the management of the construction companies does not create and enforce well-defined strategies, then snags are pre-programmed.
Staff shortages, especially shortages of skilled workers, are a lingering issue in the United Kingdom. Not only commercial construction, but the construction industry as a whole and multiple other industries, are suffering from the depleted labour market. The shortage of skilled labour presents a real problem for businesses across the UK. Numerous companies are having to delay or even cancel their orders because there is simply not enough staff. For the commercial construction industry, this situation is far from ideal, but what has caused the current problem?
As in so many cases, British policymakers disagree on what the causes of the skills shortage are. While the left blames it on Brexit and restrictive immigration policies, the right sees structural change, high taxes and regulatory challenges for businesses as the reason. Arguably, the truth lies somewhere in the middle and comprises all of the above to a certain extent. However, it is a fact that commercial construction companies and numerous other industries are struggling due to the labour shortages. When projects have to be completed with fewer people than necessary, as a result, the workload increases and workers have to fill in for jobs for which they are not or not sufficiently qualified. This creates a perfect breeding ground for snags.
Adoption of technology
The implementation of new technologies is absolutely necessary for the commercial construction industry in the UK in the 21st century in order to remain competitive. Unfortunately, this is where many companies struggle. Regrettably, the construction industry is one of the sectors that is known to be extremely critical of new technologies. Sometimes it is ignorance and fear of the new, but often it is simply a lack of knowledge about the potential of these applications.
Many of the problems that the commercial construction industry is currently struggling with, such as rising costs and the shortage of skilled workers, could be eliminated or at least drastically reduced with the application of modern technologies. These modern application opportunities also include construction software such as PlanRadar, with which construction companies can work more efficiently, cost-effectively and in a more organized manner.
Digitalization in construction is not yet where it could be. Meanwhile, however, the ball has started rolling and more and more construction companies are discovering the advantages of modern and digital application possibilities in commercial construction. It is to be hoped that this development will continue to evolve in the future.
What can builders do to maintain a high building quality?
As mentioned earlier, many companies in the commercial construction industry are currently struggling with challenges that can lead to construction defects. Nowadays, it is difficult to keep the balance between increasing quality requirements and competitive prices. So, what can affected companies do to still be able to deliver the necessary quality?
Of course, there is no general answer that applies to all companies in the commercial construction industry. However, there are various approaches to increase quality: First and foremost, it is important to minimize the source of errors and to identify, document and professionally rectify any defects that occur at an early stage. One of the best ways to do this is with a snagging list, such as the one we offer free of charge. In addition, it can also be worthwhile to work with professional construction software, with which defects can be documented and monitored. Furthermore, it is important to use the limited resources as efficiently as possible and to use the required work and materials where they are needed. Of course, this is easier said than done, but at the moment companies in the commercial construction industry are forced to have strong management, leadership skills and to prove themselves in the current times.
Who uses snag lists in commercial construction?
The Snag List is essential for contractors and subcontractors to successfully manage deficiencies. With this document, construction companies check the quality of their work and try to locate snags to document and rectify them. The inspection takes place before the construction is handed over to the commercial client. It is important to allow enough time for any defects to be corrected in time. Special attention is paid to snags that occurred during construction and were subsequently corrected, as well as other vulnerable spots. It may also be worthwhile to carry out such inspections after the completion of critical construction phases and not just before handover. This is especially true for commercial constructions. In contrast to the construction of single-family houses, here the building acceptance usually takes place in individual stages, which means that a corresponding check is necessary each time.
A commercial building construction checklist is therefore used by the construction companies and the subcontractors. But also the clients and their construction experts use commercial construction inspection checklists to find snags.
What information should snag lists for commercial construction contain?
There is a range of information that a snagging list for commercial construction should contain. These include outstanding issues, settling, poor quality craftsmanship, design issues, incorrect materials and latent defects. In addition, there are other specific points to consider in commercial construction snagging lists. These points depend on which part of the project is to be taken over by the client. Since the takeover in commercial construction usually takes place in stages, it is important to check the individual sources of defects of the corresponding building section. These can be, for example, lifts, heating systems or escalators.
Commercial Construction Snagging List Template: Conclusion
Snags are part and parcel of the commercial construction industry. This has been the case in the past and will remain so in the future. However, in recent years and decades, other challenges have emerged that commercial construction companies have to deal with and which may lead to construction defects. These challenges include the increasing quality requirements, time pressure, inflation, the lack of skilled workers and the slow implementation of modern technologies. The latter point in particular, i.e. the new technologies, would in numerous instances have the potential to alleviate existing problems and reduce the risk of construction defects. Some companies have already recognized the potential of new technologies, while others are still wary.
With modern applications and a snagging list, as offered by us, you can reduce the risk of snags and prove yourself with your company even in the currently very challenging times. Convince yourself and download our Excel snag list template or test the construction software PlanRadar here for 30 days free of charge.