risks in construction
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What are the various types of risks in construction projects?

Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Admin

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project risk in its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) as ‘‘an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on at least one project objective, such as time, cost, scope, or quality. A risk may have one or more causes and, if it occurs, one or more impacts.’’ Read this article to learn more about the various types of risks involved in the construction project.


A risk is a potential event, either internal or external to a project, that, if it occurs, may cause the project to fail to meet one or more of its objectives.

Risks In Construction Projects

Construction projects are very complex and can pose various internal and external risks, filled with uncertainties and at times unpredictable. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid risks as there are bound to be unknown factors that arise over the course of a project.

Managing risks in construction projects has been recognized as a very important process in order to achieve project objectives in terms of time, cost, quality, safety, and environmental sustainability.


One of the best ways to manage risks is to know the various types and how you can manage them. If you can identify and categorize risks before you start a project, you can enhance your risk management and escape any possible losses.

Risks in the construction sites are categorized into various types like physical risk in construction, design risks in construction projects, financial risk in construction. The risk factor in construction projects needs to be studied properly for every construction site.

It is very necessary for the analysis of major risks in construction projects and risk identification in construction projects. Risk management in construction and risk identification in construction projects is important to step before starting any project.

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Types of Risks In Construction

Construction risks can be categorized into the following various categories. Kindly check the below mentioned major types of risks in the construction sites.

types of risk in construction management
Image: Types of Risk in Construction Projects

1. Environmental Or Acts Of Gods Risk

The environmental risk which we could also call Acts of God is the risk arises due to Flood, Earthquake, Landslide, Wind Damage, Epidemic, Pandemics, and the occurrence of any type of Natural disaster.


2. Financial & Economic Risk

These risks involved Investment risk, Inflation, Non-availability of funds, fluctuations in currency exchange rates, change in tax structure, change in royalty structures of stone and sand, Effects of time and cost overruns, etc.

3. Socio-Political and Legal Risk

The site area is politically motivated, Presence and participation of union labor, local personnel are to be engaged, shifts in political leadership, change in laws and regulations, import-export restrictions, and procedures. The requirement for licenses and permits, pollution & safety norms, etc.

4. Design or Technical Risk

Technical risks include anything that restricts you from creating the product that your customer wants. This can include uncertainty of resources and availability of materials, inadequate site investigation, or incomplete design. These risks can commonly occur when there are changes in project scope and requirements, and if there are design errors or omissions.

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5. Logistics Risk

Logistic risks can be considered in any form from every global supply chain perspective. These risks include the availability of transportation facilities and the availability of construction equipment such as spare parts, construction machinery, fuel, and labor. Without addressing these logistical issues, you risk huge project delays and losses.

It is also referred to as uncertain probabilities or threat of damages, injuries, liabilities, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities.

6. Physical Risk

Inadequate or low-quality procurement of resources, Non-availability of the material – quality as well as quantity, Weather conditions; like extremely hot or cold temperature/ Heavy rainfall, Unsafe working conditions, Fire, Wastage, and theft, etc.


7. Contractual Risk

Unrealistic time schedule, Conflicting conditions of the contract, Delay in possession of the site, Payment problems, Extra works/ variations, Claims and disputes, Differing site conditions.

8. Management (leadership and organizational) Risk

Management risks involved the wrong selection of project team, No project manual/ documented procedures/ processes, a project being too complex for the available resources, Inadequate communications infrastructure, poor quality control, unsatisfactory control o status review meetings, Inability to take timely corrective actions, Lack competent/ experienced persons in the project team.

Identifying risks, that are present in your project is the first and perhaps the most important step in the risk management process.

If there is a failure to identify any particular risk then other steps in the risk management cannot be implemented for the risk. It is highly recommended to consider the above-listed types of risks before starting any construction activity.

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Final Thoughts

Construction projects inherently involve a variety of risks, each requiring careful management and mitigation strategies. The types of risks in construction projects pdf documents offer a comprehensive overview of these risks, providing vital information for project managers and stakeholders. These documents typically analyze common risks associated with construction projects, ranging from financial and operational to technical and environmental factors.

Construction project risks and mitigation examples include issues like budget overruns, where mitigation may involve more accurate cost forecasting and contingency planning. Design risks in construction projects, such as inadequate design details or non-compliance with standards, can be mitigated through thorough review processes and employing experienced design teams.

The analysis of major risks in construction projects involves evaluating potential obstacles that could impact the project’s timeline, cost, and quality. This analysis is crucial in developing effective risk management strategies. Financial risks in construction projects, such as cash flow issues and market fluctuations, require robust financial planning and management to ensure the project’s economic viability.

Operational risk in construction refers to the day-to-day challenges that can arise during the execution of a construction project. These can include site accidents, equipment failure, and labor disputes. Mitigation strategies typically involve safety protocols, regular equipment maintenance, and effective communication channels.

Commercial risks in construction involve factors that affect the commercial success of a project, such as market demand fluctuations and competition. Contractual risks in construction projects relate to the agreements made between different parties involved in the project, where issues like contract disputes or non-compliance can pose significant risks.

Understanding the Types of risks in construction projects with examples helps project managers and teams prepare and implement effective strategies to handle these risks. Construction risk management is an integral part of project management, involving the identification, analysis, and response planning for potential risks throughout the project lifecycle.

The top ten risks in construction typically include safety hazards, environmental impacts, legal issues, and technological challenges, among others. Technical risks in construction projects, such as issues with construction methods or technological integration, require specialized knowledge and careful planning to manage effectively.


In summary, risk management in construction projects is a multifaceted and critical aspect of project planning and execution. It involves a thorough understanding of various risk types, from financial and operational to technical and contractual, and implementing appropriate mitigation strategies to ensure construction projects’ smooth and successful completion.

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What are the various types of risks encountered in construction projects?

Construction projects typically face several types of risks, including:
Financial Risks: Related to budget overruns, cash flow issues, and economic fluctuations.
Operational Risks: Such as on-site accidents, equipment failures, and labor shortages.
Environmental Risks: Including unforeseen natural disasters or weather conditions that impact project timelines.
Legal and Compliance Risks: Arising from non-adherence to regulations, permits, and contractual obligations.
Design Risks: Associated with flaws or errors in the project’s design phase that can lead to major issues during construction.

Can you identify at least three common project risks?

Three common project risks include:
Budget Overruns: Where the actual costs of the project exceed the initial estimates.
Schedule Delays: Caused by various factors like delayed permits, supply chain disruptions, or labor issues.
Quality Risks: Relating to the construction not meeting the specified standards or requirements, potentially leading to rework and additional costs.

What risks are commonly associated with infrastructure projects?

Risks in infrastructure projects often include:
Political and Regulatory Risks: Changes in government policies or delays in obtaining necessary approvals and permits.
Technical Risks: Challenges related to the project’s complexity, innovative technologies, or construction techniques.
Financial Risks: Such as funding uncertainties and cost overruns, especially given the large scale of infrastructure projects.
Environmental and Social Risks: Including the project’s impact on local communities and the environment.

How can construction projects mitigate risk?

Construction projects can mitigate risk by conducting thorough risk assessments, engaging in detailed planning and budgeting, implementing robust safety protocols, and ensuring clear communication among all stakeholders.

What role does insurance play in managing construction risks?

Insurance plays a critical role in managing construction risks by providing financial protection against a range of potential losses, from property damage to liability for accidents and injuries on the construction site.

How do changes in technology impact construction project risks?

Changes in technology can impact construction project risks both positively and negatively. While new technologies can improve efficiency and accuracy, they also bring new challenges in terms of integration, training, and potential technical failures.

What is the impact of supply chain management on construction risks?

Effective supply chain management can significantly reduce construction risks related to delays and cost overruns by ensuring timely delivery of materials and services, maintaining quality standards, and managing supplier relationships effectively.

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