Article Date: 10/04/2013

Experts Offer Advice for Minimizing Rework in Construction Projects

By Steve Rizer


During a webinar that WPL Publishing held last month, Navigant Construction Forum Executive Director James Zack reported that the average cost of rework in construction projects ranges from about 7.3 percent to almost 11.0 percent. The organization’s review of existing literature on the topic also indicated that the median cost of rework runs about 9.0 percent and that the typical amount of delay caused by rework totals roughly 10 percent.


“Those percentages are unacceptable,” Zack told a target audience of architects, engineers, public and private owners, construction managers, contractors, subcontractors, and others. “Money is too tight. Projects are too critical. We don’t have time for delay in many areas.”


Zack asserted that "owners, designers, construction managers, and contractors have got to work together to reverse this trend." During the 90-minute webinar, entitled “The Impact of Rework on Construction Projects and Some Practical Remedies,” he acknowledged that his suggestion of increased teamwork “sounds so trite,” but he believes that significant inroads toward resolving this problem can be achieved through enhanced collaboration.


“Some practical remedies are available, but they have to be implemented, generally by the owner at the outset of the project,” Zack said. “These are not remedies that can be brought up later on during construction. You’ve got to think about this stuff in advance.”


To calculate the overall cost of rework, the organization sought to average “the results of all the studies that have been published previously and also to look for trends within these results,” webinar co-presenter and Navigant Consulting Inc. Associate Director Nigel Hughes explained. Navigant found and reviewed 20 such studies that were completed between 1997 and 2011. The studies were conducted in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Each study employed a Construction Industry Institute formula (whereby the total field rework factor equals the total direct cost of field rework divided by total construction cost), or a variation of it, to determine the results. Some of the studies “provided a single rework factor for all of the projects whereas others provided rework factors for different types or groups of projects or different stages of projects.”


Earlier in the webinar, Zack and Hughes discussed the causes of rework, the schedule impact of rework, the potential for building information modeling and virtual design and construction to reduce rework, “design freeze,” and other areas.


To purchase a recording of the 90-minute webinar, visit



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