Complaints on the Jobsite

Too often, risks are identified as complaints and not taken seriously or addressed:

“We hired that subcontractor again! (in a voice of disbelief). If he the owner’s brother-in-law?”

“Where is that material coming from? Overseas? It’s never on time!”


These statements sound much more like complaints and not the risk identification that they are.

To properly frame and communicate a problem, more precision is required. Add precision by:

  1. Describing the risk event
    • if the subcontractor does not have the skill or expertise required
    • if the delivery of the material is late
  2. Describing the impact
    • the rework required will cause delays, and add 3 weeks to the schedule. Extra supervision will be required, in the amount of 1.5 weeks
    • work will be delayed by about 2 weeks, and cost overruns can be expected as workers are idle ($5,000/day)
  3. Explaining the timeframe
    • prior to building the roof
    • prior to installation of the curtain wall
    • within the subproject commitment dates

When the problem is described in terms of numbers and quantities, the impact is clearly communicated. A delay of 2 weeks or a cost of $5,000 is much more meaningful than “expensive” or “late”. Clarity in the definitions of a problem is difficult and time-consuming, but worthwhile to achieve.

This structure of problem definition is the tried and true method of using risk statements. Its effectiveness has been proven in project management progress.


What are some of your favorite jobsite complaints? We would love to hear from your typical experiences in risk misidentifications.



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