5 Common Causes of Residential Construction Delays

Have you decided to build a new home? That’s exciting news! New construction offers so many possibilities when it comes to customizing your dream home. However, residential construction is also an imperfect process prone to challenges and delays, no matter how much planning and preparation goes into a project.

Understanding common reasons for delays can help you deal with them and the stress that may result.

Common Reasons for Delays

There are home builds that remain on schedule but in most cases, a hiccup or two is a normal part of the process of bringing together thousands of components and man-hours to create a new structure. From permitting issues to material delays to labor shortages, there are many factors that contribute to construction delays. Here are some of the most common.

  • There are inaccuracies in budgeting. The reason it is so important to have an accurate construction budget is that most projects have a limited amount of funding. Any extreme increase in the budget means that the project will have to be suspended until more money is found or prices of labor, materials, etc., decrease. In the worst case, a project stops altogether. To estimate costs accurately, it’s essential to find a proven contractor with deep experience in the Cheyenne residential construction industry.
  • The buyer changes the project scope. If you have second thoughts about the backsplash tile you chose or you decide to finish that basement after all, but construction is already well underway, this will result in a change order. A change order amends the original contract to accommodate additional work, substitutions, adjustments to work or any other variation to the original agreement. Very often, this results in costs for additional materials and labor and an extended timeline, so it’s best not to implement a change order unless necessary.
  • Materials are unavailable. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, material suppliers shut down factories and orders were cancelled, leading to serious material shortages, dramatic price increases and construction delays. The National Association of Home Builders reported in the summer of 2023 that pricing for key building materials has returned to normal levels. But while shortages and costs have eased, it’s still not uncommon to experience delays in shipments of some materials and products.  
  • Weather delays the construction schedule. Inclement weather can have a serious effect on a construction project by making it difficult or unsafe to work on a residential construction site. In Wyoming, experienced contractors know to include extra time in a project schedule to account for short but inevitable winter weather delays. However, on occasion, a larger storm pattern can stop operations for days, pushing back project timelines.
  • The buyer experiences financing issues. As a project comes to an end, one of the most common causes of delays is financing. If you are not paying with cash, you will need to secure a mortgage loan from a lender to pay for the home. We recommend working with our preferred lender, Fairway Mortgage, for prompt, professional service and competitive rates.

How to Minimize Unexpected Setbacks

There are many steps proactive homebuyers can take to minimize the risk of issues that cause project delays.

  • Set realistic expectations. An experienced builder can help you plan a timeline based on their standard construction process and normal weather patterns — but expect that there will be delays! Being realistic can save you from future frustration.
  • Work with your builder. Choosing a builder that has established relationships with local material suppliers can alleviate the chance of an issue arising in the first place. If a certain material becomes scarce or unaffordable, maintain an open line of communication with your builder to find a solution. Be open to material substitutions that may have shorter lead times and save time and money.
  • Stay informed. Connect with your builder’s point of contact, such as a project manager, to stay in the loop about your project’s progress and any issues that could become problematic. This will help you make informed decisions and plan proactively to minimize construction delays.
  • Choose a reputable lender. To avoid delays, communicate with your lender regularly and respond promptly to their requests for information and documentation. You should also avoid making changes to your financial situation until after the closing, such as applying for new credit, financing a car or making another large purchase, or changing jobs. Such changes could put your mortgage approval at risk.
  • Consider alternative arrangements. If you are faced with an extended delay, line up alternative housing arrangements such as a short-term rental property, a hotel or extended-stay facility, or staying with family or friends. Having a back-up plan ready can help you manage your living situation with minimal stress and disruption.

Partner With a Builder You Can Trust

In a perfect world, all home builds stay on schedule but, in general, a few delays are to be expected. It’s easy to become frustrated when you are eager to move into your dream home but by knowing what to anticipate and how to manage any delays that occur, your experience will be a positive one.

Are you interested in working with Gateway? We are the largest staffed home builder in southeast Wyoming and we know a thing or two about residential construction! We do everything in our power to deliver new construction homes to our clients on time and on budget. To discuss your next project, contact our sales team at (307) 632-8950 or reach out online.

For the latest on our company and Gateway’s current homes for sale in Cheyenne, WY, and surrounding areas, follow us on our socials, including FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn!


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