Asphalt Driveway Resurfacing: Risks Mitigation

Introduction

The current paper is the description of how a properly risk management plan is developed and evaluated. The goal is to identify the risks associated with resurfacing an old driveway with new asphalt and choose the most appropriate mitigation strategy in regards to the risks identified. The work that has to be done is to resurface a 2,100-square-foot driveway with new asphalt and try to overcome or, at least, to mitigate the threats possible in this project. Risk mitigation is an important step of any management project because it helps to reduce the possibility of a risk and its effects on the way of how a driveway is resurfaced (Heldman, 2005). It cannot be avoided or replaced with any other activity. As soon as the risks are identified, it is time to discuss the peculiarities of a risk management process and develop a risk management plan.

Risk Identification

Taking into consideration the fact that the work analyzed in this project has to be performed outside, a number of risks of different types can be mentioned. For example, there can be environmental risks, construction problems, technical challenges, and external effects that may take place when the process of resurfacing a driveway begins. Each risk has its characteristics and impact on the project that should be discussed and mitigated. In this paper, there are six main risks identified: weather conditions, equipment problems, poor new asphalt quality, challenges with old driveway removal, poor workers’ physical conditions, and financial costs. Further, the description of each will be given.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions are usually hard to predict. Even if a certain work is done with a weather forecasting company, it is impossible to be sure of the predictions made. It is mentioned that some weather changes can take place within a short period of time. Still, it is hard to understand if it is a long-term event, or the possible rain is temporary and not severe. Therefore, it is wrong to neglect the risk of worsening weather conditions and think about the precautionary steps that should be taken mitigate the risk of worsening the place or the material for resurfacing.

Equipment

Equipment problems are hard to predict as well. It is 50-50 if the chosen equipment can or cannot be broken or arrived in time. Still, it is also possible to take several actions to predict the risk or try to reduce its negative effects. The problems with equipment may be of different nature. For example, the delivery company may not meet the deadlines and deliver the required equipment with delays. As a result, other stages of the project should be shifted, additional financial costs are required, and inabilities to control the process appear.

Asphalt Quality

New asphalt quality risks are possible because of the possibilities of being cracked after resurfacing or being poorly accepted by the ground. It is also risky to believe that the offered material is of high and appropriate quality. Even if the quality of asphalt is good, it may happen that working sand or other supplementary material can impact the creation of a driveway. The challenges with a new asphalt quality may vary, and it is necessary to consider some precautionary ideas in order to save money and time.

Old Driveway

The problems with old driveway removal can be observed. This particular risk depends on other risks mentioned before. For example, an old driveway may be poorly removed because of poor weather conditions, broken equipment, or even badly established deadlines so that the workers do not have enough time to complete this stage properly meeting all the demands and expectations. It may happen that one small piece of old asphalt left or poorly elaborated ground can lead to the problems with new asphalt resurfacing.

Workers’ Health

Workers’ physical conditions are also important in this project because ordinary people are responsible for the majority stages to be complete. As soon as some workers get sick and turn out to be unable to complete their work, it is necessary to look for extra workers, replace them, and even postpone the deadlines. As a rule, such risk is possible and cannot be neglected. People may suffer from a high temperature, blood pressure problems, or a cough. Therefore, it is necessary to think how to prevent workers from getting sick.

Financial Costs

As soon as some of the risks mentioned above take place, the possibility of increased financial costs is evident. The manager has to think about some additional sources of money to pay for delays, postponements, and an additional amount of work. The whole project may be failed in case the risk of additional financial costs is not analyzed, prevented, or mitigated. Besides, some external financial changes may take place: the prices on some material or equipment may be higher than it is expected. Such changes are hard to prevent or predict. Therefore, this kind of risk remains to be the most important in the project under consideration.

Cost in Time

The current risk management project has to be properly organized and plan. Therefore, it is necessary to consider not only a financial aspect of the work but the organizational one as well. Much time and energy should be spent on the project to complete it properly (Hyden, 2011). One of the factors to succeed in risk management is to divide time accordingly and make sure all people involved in the process have enough time and space to work. Taking into consideration the risks identified, the following time division is possible:

  1. One day is necessary to contact a weather forecasting company and make the notes about possible weather changes. As soon as weather worsens, it is necessary to take several minutes (30 min approximately) to cover the ground with a canopy and protect the already done amount of work.
  2. One week is usually necessary to order the required equipment and make sure it is delivered in time. Still, these conditions should also be discussed with a delivery company and make the adjustments if necessary.
  3. Two days are necessary to check the quality of new asphalt and its correspondence with the ground.
  4. Five days should be given to the workers to remove an old driveway and make sure all work is done properly. Still, the adjustments are also possible and have to be discussed with the workers. It may happen that workers are able to do the work before the deadlines, or, vice versa, they may need more time to correct all shortages.
  5. One day may also be necessary to substitute the workers, who get sick.
  6. The risk of financial cost increasing should not take much time. Time is necessary just to make additional payments. Regarding the current technologies, payments can be made in a moment.

In general, the process of covering an old driveway with new asphalt is the work of one week. Still, the whole process (planning, organizing, choosing the material and equipment, managing risks, overcoming the threats, and evaluating the results) may last for one month.

Materials

As soon as the time frame is defined, it is possible to discuss the details concerning the material that is necessary for the risk management plan. Not to lose the right way, it is better to analyze the required material in regards to each risk taken separately.

Closed Canopy for a Driveway

The risk of weather conditions getting worse can be mitigated by a specially prepared protecting material. It does not matter if the ground is already partially covered with new asphalt or some preparations take place to remove an old driveway. As soon as it starts raining or snowing, the driveway should be covered with a special canopy to make sure it is not spoiled and can be resurfaced any time in accordance with the deadline.

Resurfacing Driveway Machine and Supplementary Tools

The risk of equipment problems or doubts concerning its delivery has to be considered as well. It is useless and too expensive to buy a new machine just to resurface one 2,100-square-foot driveway in case any similar projects are not planned. Therefore, nowadays, it is possible to rent a rolling machine for a certain period of time (Drew, 2015). Besides, a number of supplementary tools should be chosen. For example, several shovels, scrubbers, rammers, hammers, drills, and barrels for water have to be found. They can be borrowed or bought. These materials should also be chosen to mitigate the risk of poor driveway removal.

Asphalt Material

To mitigate or even overcome the risk of a poor asphalt quality, it is necessary to choose an appropriate material (“Asphalt applications”, 2009). It is better to focus on two options: in case the first one is inappropriate, the second one can be used. As a rule, resurfacing workers choose bitumen, gravel, and industrial sand or grit in regards to the type of ground for resurfacing. By the way, water supply should be constant during the process.

The last two risks (workers’ health conditions and financial costs) do not require special materials to be chosen. These types of risk are of an organizational nature and have to be mitigated, monitored, and controlled by a manager. These external risk factors cannot be forecasted for sure but have to be managed carefully (Achampong, 2010).

Labor

It is not always an easy task to resurface a driveway independently. Therefore, some people have to understand if they are going to work alone or hire a team of professional workers to complete the required amount of work. On the one hand, the choice of a professional labor team can ensure a manager on the quality of the work done, the ability to meet the deadline set, and the possibility to mitigate the risks not alone (Heldman, 2005). On the other hand, additional workers require additional payments to be made. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the benefits and challenges of the plan developed.

In this project, it is decided to find a team of workers, check their health conditions to avoid the risk of sickness, and discuss the details of how the risks can be mitigated or prevented. A team of five workers is chosen (plus two additional workers should be considered in case some substitutions are necessary). It is also possible to address the chief financial officer and get a consultation about the possibility to reduce the costs, make decisions, and control all processes independently (Heffes, 2011).

Priority

All six risks defined in the project are of different priority. As s rule, the prioritization of risks is established by a project manager or the experts involved in a project (Kerzner, 2009). Kerzner (2009) mentions that there are three types of priority, and the scheduled risks should be of the highest priority, then technical problems go, and cost should be defined as the risk of a third priority; still, the attention should be paid to all risks properly.

In the project under consideration, the priority should be defined according to the severity level identified before:

Risk Level of Severity
Financial costs Very high
Asphalt poor quality High
Weather conditions Medium
Equipment delivery delay Low
Old driveway poor removal Very low
Poor workers’ conditions Very low

At the same time, it is possible to admit that the risk of financial cost changes cannot be of the highest priority because it depends on other risks. Therefore, the priority of the risks discussed in the plan can be as follows:

  • The second priority: technical aspects (equipment delivery delays and old driveway poor removal);
  • The highest priority: asphalt poor quality;
  • The third priority: organizational issues (poor workers’ conditions).

Weather conditions cannot be controlled by a manager; therefore, it is a priority is hard to define. Financial costs can be prioritized as soon as some of the risks take place.

Mitigation Strategy

A risk mitigation strategy is a plan consists of a number of actions to evaluate and monitor possible threats and problems that can affect a project and lead to some negative outcomes (Heldman, 2005). To mitigate the risk means to reduce its probability. The following mitigation strategy can be offered to the current project in order to combine. Still, the plan can be adjusted or improved during the implementation process when some risks take place and lead to some unpredictable causes.

  • Delivery methods have to be discussed with the companies beforehand, and the orders should be placed so that the deadlines are appropriate for each stage of the project. As soon as the agreements are made with the companies, the risk costs can be divided, and the delivery companies are responsible for the negative outcomes.
  • Weather conditions are impossible to control. It is possible to use the services of a forecasting program and choose the date for work when the weather is more or less appropriate.
  • The material for resurfacing a driveway has to be chosen by the experts properly. Nowadays, people have access to a variety of options, and asphalt quality can differ depending on the manager’s choice.
  • The removal of an old driveway is a time-consuming process and has to be done thoroughly. It is necessary to give as much time as possible to complete this stage successfully.
  • Workers can get sick working under poor conditions. It is necessary to discuss the situations when the workers get sick during the working process and when it is possible to replace one worker with another.
  • Finally, financial costs have to be properly planned. As soon as at least one of the above-mentioned risks takes place, the risk of increased financial costs cannot be avoided. Still, it is possible to plan some additional payments beforehand and get ready for the new adjustments to be made.

In fact, the main idea of the chosen risk mitigation strategy is to think about all the processes beforehand, give enough time to complete each stage of the work, and gain control over all working ideas and steps. One person has to lead the project, monitor and control the risks, and make decisions depending on the situation to reduce a chance of problematic outcomes. Besides, it is very important to make written agreements and divide the responsibilities according to the duties performed by each member of a team (Boozer, 2012). In fact, it is hard for one person to pass through all stages of a resurfacing process. It is more beneficial and effective to hire people and make sure they follow the deadlines and meet the expectations.

Final Resolution/Comments

In general, a 2,100-square-foot driveway is not a huge still considerable place to be resurfaced. The benefits of this kind of work are multiple indeed:

  1. It is possible to observe a good view of the territory;
  2. A place for parking is improved;
  3. No additional damage to a care is observed with a properly resurfaced driveway;
  4. A number of options to use a driveway are available;
  5. The ground under a driveway can be hardly destructed further.

To achieve all these opportunities, it is necessary to consider the risk mitigation techniques and resurface a driveway within a short period of time. It is easy to protect the place of work with a closed canopy in case the weather gets worse. A team of professional workers are able to offer their services and complete the required portion of work in accordance with the deadlines discussed and mentioned in an agreement. The only thing that a manager of a project should be careful with is the possibility to make written agreements with different organizations involved in the project and discuss the responsibilities in case some of the risks appear. Though it is impossible to blame a forecasting company because of the poor weather conditions, it is always possible to control the delivery process and ask a delivery company for compensation in case of delays.

The idea to resurface an old driveway with new asphalt has its own benefits and challenges. Still, it is necessary to admit that all challenges, risks, and threats can be reduced, mitigated, or overcome. If the benefits of this project are evident, and the manager is ready to organize each step properly, it is worthwhile to start resurfacing a driveway when the weather conditions are identified as appropriate for work. There is no need to make fast decisions or short the deadlines. The project has to be well-planned, and enough time should be given to each stage of the project to be complete. Only in case all these points are taken into consideration, the worth of the mitigation strategy can be proved, and some risks can be not only mitigated or reduced but even overcome at all.

References

Achampong, F.K. (2010). Integrating risk management and strategic planning. Planning for Higher Education, 38(2), 22-27.

Asphalt applications: Resurfacing of roads and other paved areas using asphalt. (2009). MPA. Web.

Boozer, M. (2012). EPA’s risk management plan updated guidance. Power Engineering, 116(2), 24.

Drew, S. (2015). Driveway repair: Should you patch, resurface or replace? Angies List. Web.

Heffes, E.M. (2011). CFO on risk management: Plan, do, check, act. Financial Executive, 27(3), 40-45.

Heldman, K. (2005). Project manager’s spotlight on risk management. Alameda, CA: SYBEX Inc.

Hyden, T. (2011). Risk management: Planning to avoid losses. Fire Engineering, 164(10), 99-102.

Kerzner, H. (2009). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.