Purpose: The aim of the study is to investigate and to understand the practice of implementing the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) in an organisational context. Hence, the paper explores the applicability of FMEA to the complex construction project, with an emphasis on the construction process stage of the waste water collection tank. According to the complexity of the construction of the waste water collection tank, it is particularly necessary to adopt a proactive approach to prevent failures. Methodology/approach: The paper uses a case study approach focusing on the Slovenian construction company. FMEA was applied by a team of three experts covering different perspective of the construction process. Additional data collection methods included interviews and document studies. Findings: This paper evidenced that FMEA can bring several advantages to the construction industry. It was found that a proactive approach has a potential to contribute to the construction project performance in terms of quality improvement, cost reduction as well as improving the environmental performance. In particular, this paper revealed that FMEA team, especially team leader, plays an important role in achieving an effective FMEA. Alongside the team leader, interviewees outlined the following critical success factors: education and training, selecting an appropriate team, top management support as well as integrating the FMEA in early stages of the project life cycle. Originality/value - The article presents the results of the case study conducted in an industrial context. The paper provides possible explanations and recommendations for implementing an effective FMEA in the construction industry.