[originally published in construction review]
Africa’s construction industry is always in a state of constant growth, however most firms and organisations practicing within the industry face a number of challenges hindering their productivity and efficiency which inadvertently affects timely delivery of their projects.
Here are 4 of the most common problems that plague both small and large scale players as well as possible solutions to them.
PROBLEM 1: Lack of Skilled Workers
For a while now this has been the major problem that have been facing Africa’s construction industry, despite the fact that there are many institutions ready to teach, skilled the labour is still not enough. These skilled workers are needed in large numbers to fill a growing demand. The younger generation is being pushed toward college, and not vocational trades. The benefits of a career in construction are not being sold to millennials, and much of today’s existing workforce is closing in on retirement.
Setting up more vocational and technical colleges and highlighting the benefits of a career in construction would go a long way in stemming this scarcity.
PROBLEM 2: Lack of Communication
When things go wrong on a project, it is almost always due to a communication breakdown along the way.
Technology could be the answer to this issue. Using email, text messages, and construction technology apps on a project can get information instantaneously to all stakeholders on the project in real time and reduce the slowdowns and speed bumps of a communication breakdown.
PROBLEM 3: Unreliable Subcontractors
Many contractors have problems finding reliable subs for their jobs. If you are in a pinch and need to find a sub, check with the materials suppliers and vendors that you work with regularly.
They will have the inside scoop, and may have a great recommendation for a sub. You can also ask other subcontractors that you have worked with for a recommendation, too.
Always check a sub’s licenses, make sure they carry general liability insurance, and list your company as additional insured on their insurance before you hire them.
PROBLEM 4: High Insurance Costs
Contractor insurance is part of the cost of doing business, but that doesn’t mean you have to overpay for it.
You can get lower rates on your contractor insurance by combining coverage, not letting your coverage lapse, and reviewing your policies each year for changes that may save you money.