10 of the Most Haunted Jobsites (and Other Scary “Storeys” in Construction)

by | Oct 26, 2020 | AEC, Autodesk

The Real Terrors That Are Lurking on Your Projects

To the general public, construction projects might appear relatively uneventful on the surface. Sure, buildings are built, traffic is disrupted and a lot of dust is kicked up in the process. But industry insiders know that there’s more than meets the eye and construction is far from mundane. Behind the security fences and scaffolding and even deep under the dirt, lies many unexpected events and surprises.

To celebrate Halloween, we’re sharing stories from the creepiest jobsites we were able to dig up. From unexplained mysteries to unwelcomed finds after breaking ground, these misfortunate jobsites are full of crazy claims and even crazier sightings–enough to make any contractor’s stomach flip. Flip through our SlideShare to read about the 10 most haunted construction projects:


But believe it or not, there are far worse horrors that can happen on construction sites than unexplained events. Below, we’ll tell you about the real terrors that are lurking just beyond.

The Real (and Frighteningly Common) Scares of Construction

Our top 10 spooky sites may make your heart race, but the real scary tales in construction are more commonplace. They’re the tiny mishaps that end up causing huge problems and the common pains that gives teams a constant feeling of déjà vu.

Budget Banshees

It’s the worst possible kind of disappearing act you can witness. Now you see the funds; now you don’t. Budgets have a way of drying up along the way, which can scare teams enough to cause significant disruptions. Unless your contract has a guaranteed price maximum, like in design-build, construction budgets tend to slip away fast. From inclimate weather, rising material costs and hair-raising mistakes, there’s only so much you can foresee.

However, there are ways that managers can handle the changes in such a way that conserves time, money and energy. And the key to unlocking many of these issues starts by improving communication. The faster you can tell your team that something has changed, the more time they have to adjust to the new order.

And if you really feel like screaming out of frustration, just look at these megaprojects that went way over budget.

Revolting Rework

Mistakes happen on construction sites. No matter how well-trained and experienced your staff is, certain outdated processes and manual systems naturally lead to misalignments, errors and mistakes. If you’ve ever had to do a major rework on a project, you already know just how terrifying it can be to redo a job that should have been done right the first time.

Whether it was shoddy workmanship or a communication error, a single mistake can strike fear in the heart of every worker and true dread in a decision-maker. The latter group has to relay the news that the contract is going to go over budget and deadline or scramble to find a solution before it’s too late. Here are some of the most notable grim reapers of construction that halt projects dead in their tracks:

  • Miscommunication: Communication errors on a construction site make for long days.
  • Substandard Quality: Despite inspectors and codes, construction teams are still known to cut corners, especially if they’re under tight deadlines and don’t have the right tools and technology at their disposal. But when poor quality could kill off your firm’s good reputation, there’s no choice but to fix any structural or cosmetic flaws before closeout.
  • Wrong Plans: Most construction leaders would rather see a ghost than discover they’ve been working off the wrong plans. All construction teams could stand to be more organized and prepared so they can avoid these kinds of disasters.

Data Déjà Vu

Ever have that feeling like you’ve seen something before, perhaps a new change in plans or schedule, but you can’t seem to track it down or remember where? You know you documented it before — but you just can’t track down the proof. Was it in an email thread, a text, or a line item on an Excel spreadsheet? According to a report from Autodesk and FMI, construction professionals on average lose 5.5 hours a week looking for project data and information. If you think that’s horrifying, also consider that approximately 30% of construction data is lost from design, through construction, to turnover.

Your data shouldn’t disappear without a trace like a ghostly presence. That’s why it’s essential to work from a single source of truth and a common data environment. Keeping all your essential project data and communications in one place is essential for avoiding silos and lost information.

Contracts from the Crypt

If the contract isn’t what it should be, the project won’t go smoothly. Too many are written in such a way that reading 10 Stephen King novels on Friday the 13th would be more preferable to even glancing at the contract. If contracts aren’t clear and team friendly, it might feel like the signee is giving up all of their rights or signing their life away.

It’s normal for there to be at least a little tension at the start of the project. Construction is a business full of risk, and both parties are cautious. But if the project gets off the on the wrong foot, it’s not likely to get any better as the work gets going; not to mention the prospect of fear-inducing litigation.

One-sided contracts may not lead to slaughter, but they can cause a lot of bad blood on the construction site. It can even lead to liability headaches and costly litigation if the owners feel the convoluted plans.