70% of Construction Pros Blame Poor Jobsite Coordination for Delays and Cost Overruns

Matt Schneiderman imageMatt Schneiderman  •  

According to most construction professionals, miscommunication and poor coordination on jobsites are causing project delays and cost overruns. These issues plus disputes over work quality are delaying specialty contractors’ payments — and that jeopardizes everyone’s ability to pay workers and fund new projects.

With COVID-19 regulations further challenging construction teams’ productivity, addressing the inefficiencies contractors are reporting — shortcomings in communication and coordination as well as a lack of indisputable evidence of jobs completed as expected — is the only way to keep businesses profitable and the industry afloat. Adopting the right technology now, more than ever, is the best way to do that.

The Jobsite Coordination and Payment Speed Survey

Earlier this year — February through March 2020 — Fieldwire and contractor payment service provider Levelset surveyed and collected data from more than 540 construction businesses. Nearly all who responded are general contractors (GCs) or specialty contractors. Here’s what they told us.

Key takeaways

  • Contractors report a general lack of planning before a project starts, causing issues and delays from the start
  • There is agreement among GCs and specialty contractors that miscommunication and poor coordination during projects are the primary cause of delays and cost overruns, resulting in wasted time, rework, and loss of money
  • Specialty contractors, in particular, say disputes over work quality often delay payments

These issues limit contractors’ ability to proactively plan, manage, and prove work. That, in turn, is delaying projects — and payments.

For the full report, check out The 2020 National Construction Payment Report: Spring Spotlight on Jobsite Coordination.

Insufficient planning

To finish a project on time and under budget, contractors need first to plan and schedule their work. But approximately 40% of survey respondents report that they don’t work from a set budget or timeline in advance of their projects.


It’s no surprise, then, that projects are typically late and over budget. Fewer than 30% of construction businesses say they finish projects on time and within the budget.

“The most important factor for completing the job on time and under budget is an efficient, productive, realistic SCHEDULE and PLAN activated from the very beginning of the project.”

Survey respondent

Poor project management

Managing on-site work isn’t easy — nearly 80% of survey respondents say that coordinating field work is “somewhat” to “very challenging.” But it’s the jobsite management that makes or breaks a project.

Nearly 70% of contractors surveyed say that poor jobsite coordination often causes projects to run over budget or past deadlines.

Circle graphic

According to survey respondents, construction teams spend less than half their time doing actual construction work, or in “wrench time.” Instead, they spend their days chasing down information and waiting around.

Efficient communication and coordination tools are lacking on jobsites, resulting in delays, mistakes, and rework — all of which are costing construction businesses big-time.

“To successfully complete a project on time, we need site communication management and site monitoring and tracking.”

Survey respondent

Lack of proof

Completing a job is one thing. Proving the work was done correctly can be another thing entirely. For contractors, being unable to verify and document completed work can hold up payment for services rendered.

More than a third of contractors say that payments are delayed because of disputes over the quality of work.

Quality disputes

Without a way to prove work was done correctly, specialty contractors are prone to disputes and payment delays, further limiting their ability to make payroll and bankroll new projects.

“Cash is the lifeline of a construction business.
When there is no cash, work doesn’t move.”

Survey respondent


Overwhelmingly, survey respondents say they need better jobsite communication and coordination. And yet, only about half of construction businesses (53%) use some kind of digital application to manage tasks or coordinate field work in real-time.

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, requiring even more careful planning and managing of projects as well as more consistent documentation of completed jobs to avoid costly delays and rework. That’s why construction teams need to embrace technology to plan, manage, and prove their work — now more than ever.

Plan, manage, and prove work proactively with Fieldwire — designed with specialty contractors in mind. Click to schedule a demo.

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