What is Rework?


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“Rework” refers to the process of correcting or modifying a product, service, or task that failed to meet specified standards or requirements during its initial completion. It involves redoing a particular activity or making alterations after it was thought to be finished. Rework typically implies that resources (such as time, money, and effort) that were initially spent were not used efficiently because the task has to be done again.

Rework is commonly associated with industries like manufacturing, construction, and software development, but it can occur in any sector.

Key points about rework include:

  • Cost Implications: Rework can be expensive. Organizations have to allocate additional resources to correct mistakes, and this can lead to increased project costs.
  • Time Delays: Rework can cause project delays. Correcting mistakes can mean that project timelines have to be extended, leading to potential scheduling conflicts.
  • Quality Control: Regular instances of rework may indicate issues with an organization’s quality control or quality assurance processes.
  • Root Cause Analysis: To minimize rework, it’s crucial to perform a root cause analysis to understand why errors occurred in the first place. This helps in implementing corrective measures to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
  • Impact on Morale: Continuous rework can also affect the morale and motivation of employees, as they might feel they are not making progress or constantly having to revisit previously completed tasks.
  • Client Satisfaction: In businesses where products or services are delivered to clients or customers, excessive rework can lead to dissatisfaction, eroding trust and potentially damaging the business’s reputation.

For example, in software development, if a software application is not tested thoroughly, bugs or issues may arise when the product is deployed. Addressing these bugs after deployment requires rework, which could have been avoided with better testing or quality assurance practices initially.

In essence, rework is a representation of inefficiency, and organizations strive to minimize it to improve productivity, reduce costs, and maintain high quality.

Example of Rework

Imagine a construction company, BuildItRight Inc., is constructing a commercial building. The client specifies that all office rooms should have two electrical outlets on each wall to accommodate office equipment and other electronic needs.

Initial Work:

  • The construction team proceeds with the electrical installations.
  • After completing half the building, the team realizes they’ve only installed one electrical outlet on each wall in the office rooms, not adhering to the client’s specifications.


  • Identification: During a routine quality check, the mistake is identified. The construction manager is informed that the electrical outlets are not as per the client’s request.
  • Cost Implication: To fix this, BuildItRight Inc. would now need to purchase additional electrical supplies and allocate manpower to install the extra outlets. This increases the project’s costs.
  • Time Delays: Adding the extra outlets means that the rooms’ completion will be delayed. This might push back the finish date for the entire building, potentially causing scheduling conflicts with other projects or subcontractors.
  • Impact on Other Tasks: Since walls may need to be reopened to install additional outlets, tasks like painting or finishing that were completed might have to be redone.
  • Client Relations: If the client learns about the oversight, it could strain the relationship, especially if the completion date is postponed or if the rework leads to additional costs that the client might be asked to bear.


  • Root Cause Analysis: BuildItRight Inc. conducts a meeting to understand how such a significant oversight occurred. They realize that the project’s initial brief was not communicated correctly to the execution team.
  • Corrective Measures: To prevent similar errors in the future, the company decides to implement a more robust quality check process at multiple stages of construction. They also improve their communication channels to ensure that project specifications are clearly understood by all involved teams.
  • Client Communication: The company decides to absorb the additional cost of the rework and communicates transparently with the client about the oversight, ensuring them that measures are in place to prevent such issues in the future.

This example illustrates the implications of rework in terms of cost, time, and client relations. It also showcases the importance of understanding the root cause of mistakes and implementing measures to prevent them in the future.

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