Are you trying to figure out how to make a construction schedule? It’s a step in the right direction because construction projects are multifaceted, involving many stakeholders. They have tight budgets and strict dates of completion.
Formulating a construction schedule leads to a clear understanding of what needs to be done, how much time it will take, and when the work should start.
The construction schedule is a document that will arrange all the tasks in a logical order. It lists the task durations, start times, and finish times. With the construction schedule in place, you can closely estimate the completion date.
Here are the steps for scheduling construction projects:
Step 1: Get An Understanding of the Project’s Scope
You can gain an understanding of the project only by asking the right questions. Some questions to ask include:
- Who are the subcontractors involved in the construction project?
- What are the key deliverables in the project? For instance, design drawings, proposals, final product, etc.
- How long will it take to procure construction materials?
- Has the construction team fulfilled all the regulatory requirements?
- What are the goals of the project?
- Is there any existing documentation that you can reference?
- What foreseeable constraints may impact the schedule, such as holidays or project finance delays?
- What are the expectations of the client?
Before we explore the steps on how to create a construction schedule, ensure that you’re adequately informed about the project, especially if you lack industry knowledge.
Step 2: Come up with the Activity List
The number of activities that may need to be performed can be numerous and overwhelming, depending on the project size. That’s why it’s expedient to have sub-projects. You can make the subprojects as detailed as possible.
Only by gathering information and speaking to the people involved can you come up with a clear list of project activities. Think of the project in terms of the major deliverables, for instance, the foundation work, plumbing, electrical work, etc.
Professional schedulers then rely on the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to define the tasks under major sections of the project. For instance, site preparation can entail clearing the lot, stripping the topsoil, marking the ground for excavation, performing the excavation, etc.
Step 3: Determine the Durations
Before scheduling any activity, it’s important to know how long each activity will take. Some tasks will only take a few hours, while complex tasks like building a block foundation can take several days.
Ensure that you get the dependencies right. And at this stage, you can start building your sequential list. It can be created as a Gantt chart.
As you start building this chart, you will have a better idea of how long major sections of the project will take.
Take into account the working periods needed to complete certain tasks. It’s also essential to consider unplanned occurrences such as bad weather, permit approval delays, supplier problems, etc.
Use a Dedicated Construction Scheduling Software
You may need something more dedicated and tailored to construction work, instead of using a Microsoft project template or a simple hand-drawn bar chart for scheduling.
Having a dedicated software is important when allocating resources to activities.
The software will make it easier to coordinate activities that should be taking place simultaneously. In addition to coordinating things, a construction scheduling software solution helps the planning stage run more smoothly while simultaneously increasing overall efficiency. You can quickly assess any potential risks associated with your project across many different variables and keep your schedules on time without taking on unnecessary risk.
For more on how to create a construction schedule using a professional program, check this out.
With all that we have learned so far, here is a simple example of a construction schedule:
|Activity ID||Activity name||Duration||Start||Finish|
|1||Preparation of contracts, site plan, lots sale, etc||3 days||Mon 17/09/20||Wed 19/09/20|
|2||Secure financing||7 days||Thu 20/09/20||Fri 28/09/20|
|3||Invitations to tender, & review||4 days||Mon 31/09/20||Fri 04/10/202|
Step 4: Assign Resources to Activities
Well, all the tasks that you have outlined will need to be carried out by subcontractors, employees, or site crews. Remember that no person can work on the same task simultaneously. Similarly, it’s essential to factor the equipment and machinery availability. For instance, if you have power tools on site, they need to be free for use if assigned to a particular job.
You will need to make sure that everyone is engaged and tasks are easily assignable, and the involved party is informed well in advance.
As noted before, using a construction software can simplify resource allocation. The constraints on resources can also lead to modifications to the schedule. Therefore, this is an important step not to skip when scheduling construction projects.
Step 5: Finalize Your Schedule
In this step, you can finalize the start and end times. Use the estimated durations to create the chronological order of events.
Ensure that there are no conflicts caused by dependent tasks. Perform resource leveling and balancing based on the available supply and demand.
Additionally, check if the construction schedule aligns with the expected date of completion. If not, you can quickly pinpoint the causes of the delays, such as insufficient human labor, and make recommendations to the project leaders.
It’s also important to create milestones based on project deliverables. Your schedule will be instrumental to the lender when releasing project funds.
The scheduling never stops!
By having a schedule in place, you will have achieved a significant hallmark. But you’ll need to review it as the demands of the project change and also to take into account any unforeseen events.
These are just the major steps on how to create a construction schedule. You can add more steps based on your project needs!