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3 Causes of a Project Delay (Before & During Your Build)

Trex deck in Michigan

An unexpected project delay isn’t necessarily the most fun for anyone, but the reality is it’s a possibility during any build. And what’s most important is being aware of these potential delays to better plan for them.

As deck builders with years of experience, we’re already very familiar with what to look for and expect. And that allows us to be more accurate with our scheduling (more on that in a bit). But as a homeowner, maybe you’ve had bad experiences and weren’t given a proper explanation of what delayed your project? Or perhaps you’re just curious about what could cause your start date to be pushed back so you can plan accordingly?

Whatever the case! Today we’ll discuss three of the more common causes of a project delay and what you should expect when scheduling with your builder. 

Let’s get into it!

What to Expect With Scheduling

First, a reputable builder whose been in the industry long enough should be able to roughly project how far out they can start accepting new work. But you’ll rarely be given a specific date.

Because projects are often completely custom for each client, sometimes it can take a little more time than anticipated to complete any given build. And as we know, there are also unknown factors to consider that can delay a project. But, those should still be accounted for as much as possible by any builder.

So what you should look for when hiring a builder is a date range to start your project (although sometimes you won’t get a clearly defined one). If a contractor says, “we’re currently scheduling new projects for around mid-April to early May,” my interpretation would be that your build should start somewhere in that range. It could be sooner or slightly later, but it’s likely to be within that date range. 

Common Causes of Project Delays

As we’ve all seen through the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes there are factors that are simply out of anyone’s control. We (as in all or most builders) try our best to account for them when we’re providing you with an estimated start date.

Here are three factors that commonly cause project delays:

The Weather

The weather is very unpredictable at times. Just think about how often the forecaster says, “there’s only a 50% chance of rain”, and they won’t be wrong either way. Forecasters can rarely be 100% certain of the weather, especially when predicting farther into the future.  

Now Spring is known to be a rainy season, but some years can be especially wet compared to others. And even one single rainy day will delay everyone’s projects for the rest of the year by one day. (Though I hope we’ll figure out how water and electrical tools can play better together one day!)

Also, if our beloved groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts a long winter, that can cause some serious project delays! All jokes aside, some winters are simply colder and last longer than others here in Michigan. If we’re dealing with 12 or more inches of solidly frozen frost in the ground, that doesn’t make digging easy. And it could delay our Spring start time to say mid-March to early April.


Clients sometimes ask for last-minute changes, including design alternations or color changes, after we’ve begun the installation. And doesn’t it make sense to stay at a project a bit longer to ensure the client is 100% happy? Of course, we’ll share the same respect for you and your project!

Another client-initiated delay could be related to other contractors as well. For example, we may not be able to start the week that we initially planned due to the clients having their house siding replaced.

Permits & Inspections

A permit submission that usually takes one week can take 3-4 weeks if there’s limited staffing available at the building department. The same goes for scheduling inspections. It could take 1-2 weeks instead of the typical one day due to increasing building projects and short staffing. 

With new construction, a home’s closing date can be set back. Or the house was closed on, but the builder hasn’t done the final grading due to weather, inspections, or other reasons. And we can’t build a deck until the final grading has passed inspection. 

Lastly, there are delays with your HOA. Most approvals take a few days, and some up to 30 days. But on rare occasions, we’ve had HOA’s take 60 days to approve a deck!

How We Handle Delays

We always do our best to account for anything that might affect our projects. And because of our team and our processes, we’ve been able to communicate accurate estimates with clients who trust us to build them a new beautiful deck. Within the last 12 months, we’re proud to say that not even one project started later than the estimated starting week we gave our clients!

So if the timing is an essential factor for your project, please reach out to us; we’d love to help you! We’re scheduling 8-12 weeks out most of the time. But contact us today to see our current projected scheduling time frame!


Many factors can cause project delays, such as the weather, project modifications, or timing with the building department. Some of these are easier to predict and account for, while others may come out of the blue. 

Even so, a reputable deck builder should be able to give you a rough date range for when they’ll be able to start your project and clearly communicate any potential for delays. 

What Next?

Are you ready for a brand new deck? Let’s chat!

At Custom Deck Creations, we build composite decks for clients across SE Michigan. Our builds are all custom-made, so please share your vision and ideas so we can help you design your dream deck.

When you’re ready, please get in touch! We’ll chat about your project and give you a free over-the-phone estimate. Or take a look through our most recent projects first for inspiration.

Did you enjoy this post? Share it with a friend in the area who’s considering building a deck. Want to keep reading? Check out these posts next:

Trex deck in Michigan