An excellent project schedule is a critical step toward finishing a project within budget and on time. Construction project schedules are expected to provide a much clearer picture of all project milestones, deadlines, and timeframes. It should be consistently updated to monitor and track progress to show several phases needed to be completed. As a project leader, how are you keeping and running the project on schedule?
For this blog, some of the best project scheduling practices are outlined below.
The Major Importance of Scheduling Project in Construction
Scheduling is vital to the completion and success of a construction project. A well-planned construction schedule guarantees the completion of any projects by charting how all created tasks are executed, the exact pacing of every activity, and the sequences and methods in which materials are being delivered. Let’s dive in now with some of the major points to note when it comes to illustrating the significance of the project schedule:
· Scheduling assigns actual dates for project activities and tasks.
· A construction schedule allows companies to review the schedules generally set by the clients and let them identify whether it is achievable or not.
· The project schedule is often used to prepare bid estimates and tenders.
· The construction schedule allows contractors and companies to estimate initial project costs.
· Scheduling empowers project managers to match labor, materials, equipment, and all other resources associated with activities and construction tasks over time.
· With a well-prepared construction schedule, the use of all resources is efficiently optimized.
Guidelines for Generating a Good Project Schedule
There are numerous simple scheduling practices implemented in construction. However, with more complex and larger projects these days, there is a need for more practical and formal scheduling procedures. Having a handy, simple-to-use, and detailed construction schedule means that the suppliers exactly know what and when to deliver. Additionally, subcontractors will quickly learn when to book their tradesmen and laborers. Even other stakeholders and general contractors can track the overall progress of a particular project.
A good construction project schedule is continuously updated, accurate, and detailed, wherein communication on the project is the topmost priority. Team collaboration is also one huge factor because it supports the successful project completion. A great starting point for articulating a well-planned project schedule is asking the following questions. And if the construction schedule can answer the questions cited below, it is proven to be efficient enough to track and monitor its progress.
· What tasks have to be carried out first?
· What is the duration of every task or activity?
· When these tasks needed to be done and in what order?
· What are the sets of resources required for every task?
· What are the dependencies existing between the tasks involved?
· Who has a strong competency to perform every task?
· What are the project milestones? Determine it.
· What works necessary to be achieved at those points?
Furthermore, in the creation of a project schedule in construction, the following basic methods and even applications are commonly used:
1. Construction scheduling software
Scheduling software is a functional project management system designed for contractors and small builders looking for simplified and efficient project management. Using this software, it is easier to realistically layout and monitors each project phase. With the data inputs stored in the application, shaping a better project timeline is much easier. Even beginners will never have a hard time navigating the features or understanding the application because it is user-friendly.
Document/File sharing and control, cloud-based storage, time/labor tracking, crew and resource management are standard features of this software. It can be accessed anytime and anywhere, using the browser and mobile app. Above all, the completion of the project will not be put to possible risks.
2. Excel Spreadsheets
Using an excel spreadsheet is a simple way to keep everything organized. All professionals and workers involved in the project will have access to the Excel Sheet documents and details. Anyone can attach photos, add other relevant notes, and even comments. Take note that records from spreadsheets end up as external links. Excel documents can be shared directly to others using a project management tool.
3. Resource-Oriented Scheduling
This specific technique often revolves around the resources used for the construction project. It is typically used for projects that have resources that are not available and ready yet. However, delays are often expected if this method is applied because time is being allocated while waiting for other resources.
This method of scheduling seems to incorporate several strengths of other scheduling methods. For obvious reasons, it takes tons of front-end method to build the construction schedule. Also, the given effort at the beginning of the work will pay off when there are an increasing number of resources to manage and a high number of tasks to monitor.
4. Q Scheduling
The Q stands as either queue or quantitative. When it is used as quantitative, it often refers to the quantities in many aspects of a construction project. These various aspects are expected to make up the entire construction project schedule. The queue refers to queue sequences and different segments between construction activities without interfering with one another.
Today, Q scheduling has become a generally new technique that is obtaining popularity. This technique is utilizing the critical path method while also incorporating bar charts simultaneously, representing material usage. This scheduling has been described as a modified version of the LOB method because it is often adjusted for non-repetitive construction projects.
5. Critical Path Method
Critical Path Method or CPM, is the most widely-used scheduling technique. It can calculate the minimum completion time of a particular project alongside the possible start and finish times for the activities. It also focuses more on the critical path representing the sequence or set of activities that frequently take the longest time to complete. Due to the critical path’s duration representing the time needed to finish a project, any possible delays lead to more additional time.
Furthermore, CPM is a much more detailed sheet compare to the others. It will directly display various activities and their dependencies on one another. The details are very useful for construction projects that often include a twist of unpredictability. The CPM takes into accounts the best to worst case timelines for every activity involved. The diagram identifies which actions should be completed at a particular set of time. By doing so, it will not affect the entire project deadline.
6. Line of Balance Technique (LOB)
This project scheduling method focuses more on apportion of resources and repetitive work as needed per different construction operation and process steps. This type of scheduling technique is proven to be effective in preventing delays between the activities involved. Since repetitive builds are often predictable, this method focuses more on resource allocation and is adapted from the manufacturing industry.
LOB helps allocate resources that are expected to be shared among the project teams and other crew. In that way, work can be easily executed on parallel tasks. Hence, the unavailability of a specific resource like materials and equipment will not keep the work from moving further.
The Key Milestones of a Construction Project
Whether a commercial infrastructure or a personal renovation, a construction project goes through similar paths and phases. Here are the essential milestones of a project in construction. Take a look below.
1. Project Approval
This milestone is usually reached once the function, size, quality, and goals of a construction project is already determined alongside the expected financial benefits and cost estimation. This particular milestone is typically indicated by the completion of a sales contract or an approval form. It is the very first milestone where a construction project is given the opportunity to move further.
2. Requirements Review
When all project requirements are finally determined and reviewed through a series of document review sessions and meetings, another project milestone is to be celebrated. However, making sure that the client agrees with everything that the project team has presented is vital to consider as well.
3. Design Approval
The design approval is considered another critical milestone when the construction project team passes and cleared the client’s needs during the construction solution’s proposal. Proposed designs are also showcased and presented to satisfy the design objectives for the projects.
4. Project Execution and Management
The actual physical construction begins in this phase, and this is where managing a project will be crucial from start to finish. A project leader and his team should take all of their tasks and responsibilities diligently. The project assigned and the crew involved are monitored and tracked every single time.
5. Project Phase Milestones
There are implemented solutions that serve as an indication of significant milestones. Milestones for every project phase might include completing all steps like concrete pouring, window installation, plumbing installation, roofing, etc.
6. Project Handover
This milestone typically marks the completion of a specific project. It usually comes at the end of testing, extensive inspection, and a final handover session. This phase is where all stakeholders agree that the entire work has been totally finished from start to end where all project requirements are met.
When it comes to analyzing and anticipating issues within, project scheduling plays a crucial role. It is vital to determine project performance variance in more extensive and complex construction projects and observe current project status. In today’s competitive industry, delivering a construction project on time and following strict adherence to schedule defines the significant difference between success and failure.