What are the main design management risks in construction?

Design management risks should be factored into project delivery from the outset, to keep construction on schedule and on budget, and to avoid any health and safety risks.

Some elements of design management risk are mandatory for regulatory and compliance purposes, while others are a means to protect investment and ensure the success of the project.

In general, design risk management (DRM) spans three main areas of activity:

  • Design and preparation by the design team and contractors
  • Health and safety throughout the duration of the project
  • Risk management in tenders and pricing

The end goal is to manage risks that may arise not only during the construction phase, but also due to changes in the design and during subsequent use and maintenance of the building.


Common risks in construction design management

There are several common areas of risk in construction design management. Some of these are specifically design-related, while others are general problems that might arise on any kind of project.

  • Errors and omissions in the design
  • Delays and missed deadlines during delivery
  • Last-minute changes (including requests from stakeholders)
  • Failure to deliver according to contract
  • Scheduling errors and third-party subcontractor delays

Some common risks arise externally, but should still be anticipated and mitigated as far as reasonably possible, for example:

  • Environmental risk, impact and analysis
  • Public objections and changes in local laws
  • Organisational risks (staff absence, employee turnover)
  • Project management risks and personnel conflict
  • Excess costs and changes in technology

Identifying all the relevant risks that apply to the design of your project, and to the successful delivery of that design, can allow you to manage your exposure to avoidable delays and financial losses.


How to mitigate design management risks

A four-step framework is usually applied to identify and mitigate design risks:

  1. Identify risks, working collaboratively with stakeholders and subcontractors across all areas of the project planning and design.
  2. Assess risks on a sliding scale, to estimate potential impacts and to rank the areas of highest priority.
  3. Mitigate risks by developing plans to reduce the chance of incidents occurring and to react to them quickly if they do.
  4. Monitor risks to identify emerging incidents and prevent them from escalating where possible.

Effective project management and design risk management should not be considered a luxury or an additional investment, as it is critical to confident delivery of construction work.

To benefit from hebs Group’s DRM expertise and risk mitigation strategies, contact us today on 0151 236 0707 or info@hebs-group.co.uk.

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