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Schedules are an important aspect of project management and play a huge part in delivering a construction project on time. Projects that are not delivered on time can cost a great deal of money. If you are wondering on just how much, you can take a look at Hamburg’s Elbphilarmonie concert hall. It was completed six years late and cost 700 million Euros more than the initial budget. But, schedules are not only important for huge construction projects, but it’s also important for smaller, but not less important residential projects like houses, condominiums etc.
A properly constructed schedule using scheduling software for residential construction or a commercial one depending on your needs is a valuable aid to make sure that your project is completed in the shortest amount of time and making the best use of available resources. But, the sad truth is that many schedules are poorly prepared and don’t really show important information, or it’s just not communicated to the right parties.
Qualities of A Good Construction Schedule
A respectable construction schedule to be used for commercial or residential construction, whether it’s made manually or thru the use of residential construction project scheduling software or a commercial one should have the following qualities:
- It should take into account the weather on when the construction project will take place. Weather is one of the unpredictable factors in scheduling and a good schedule should make allowances for unforeseen weather disruptions.
- A good schedule should enable to the construction project to be constructed in the shortest amount of possible time, and make efficient use of the available resources without sacrificing the quality, safety, and integrity of the project.
- A good schedule should be approved by the client in writing, and not verbally, and as soon as possible. Take note that without an approved schedule, it’s difficult for a contractor to claim for variations, late information, late access and extension of time.
- A good schedule should allow ample time for project planning, design, and drawing approvals as well as mobilization. Mobilization is defined by businessdirectory.com as activation of a contractor’s physical and manpower resources for transfer to a construction site until the completion of the contract. This is an important factor to account for because sometimes mobilization can take weeks, and not taking this into account can be the cause of delay for the construction.
- A good schedule should contain when the information is required. Ideally, a separate information required list should be prepared that can be updated weekly and discussed with the client during progress meetings so that the client can be aware when the information is needed as well as the consequences of not giving the required on information on time.
How to Make A Good Schedule
For the people outside looking in, they might think that making a schedule is easy. It’s just a schedule, right? The truth is good schedulers study for years or has years of experience with trial and error to be able to make a schedule that will deliver what it says it would. Even with the use of the best residential construction scheduler or a commercial one, a good scheduler still has to take into consideration a lot of factors. Here are some things that good schedulers recommend should be looked at when making a good construction schedule.
Take Into Consideration Project Constraints
Understand what are the boundaries of the project. Create a list of constraints that you think might impact the performance of the construction activities of the project. These can buy anything from local laws, holidays, weather, religion and many others. Take these into consideration when making a project.
Understand The Project
It’s very basic, but in today’s project management climate, we often hear that it’s industry agnostic which means that you don’t need industry-specific knowledge to successfully manage a project. This kind of thinking could not be farther from the truth, especially in the construction field. Do your best to understand the project’s goals and objectives, and read whatever project documentation is available. Remember that knowing your project can help you in many ways, but most especially when creating a schedule. Sun Tzu, the writer of the Art of War once said that knowing is half the battle, and this doesn’t ring true more than in project scheduling.
Make a List and Sequence Tasks
There are many methods to do this, but whatever it is that you choose, break the project down into simpler bite size work packages. After this, break them down into the lowest level of work packages into activities or tasks and create a register for them. At this stage, it is helpful to make a description of these tasks once they are listed. Do not create a long list. If the project is huge, you can consider breaking them down into smaller sub-projects.
After this, think of how the activities need to be physically sequenced. For example, remember that you cannot fill a trench that has not yet been dug. Create a sequential list including what kind of dependency applies to each sequence.
Determine the Unit of Time and Activity Duration
Depending on the length of the project, this unit of time that you choose can be an hour, a day, a week a month or a year. For example, if a project length is 3 years, a unit of time that you can use is the month.
After this, using your chosen unit of time, your sequenced activities, and your project constraints, determine how long each activity will take. When it comes to this area, this is where knowledge of the construction industry and experience will come to play because of there some information that can come only with experience.
Generate the Gantt Chart
The Gantt chart is the ultimate outcome of a critical path analysis. This is a critical step, so make sure that you do it properly because making a construction schedule is not a guessing game.\
Also, keep in mind that a project schedule is an essential document on which all future disputes and claims if they arise, will be based on.
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