Location-based planning and scheduling (LBS) is a methodology used by construction project managers to optimise their planning and scheduling processes by taking into account the physical location and space of their projects.
This approach focuses on dividing each project into smaller zones to plan and schedule work in each of those zones more efficiently based on their constraints, characteristics, and dependencies.
We’ll discuss some key differences between location-based planning and other construction scheduling methodologies and three distinct benefits that LBS can bring to your organisation.
The problem with traditional construction scheduling techniques
The secret to projects that are on time and on budget is having an accurate, comprehensive schedule, but how can site managers do that when it’s almost impossible to keep track of every single detail—especially during multi-storey and large projects?
Maybe we need to think about construction planning and scheduling a little differently.
It’s not uncommon in the industry to use Gantt charts and similar methods to track work over time; however, this can introduce some problems to your scheduling processes.
For example, focusing solely on tracking time can make managers overlook productivity and lose control over their projects. Not to mention the fact that Gantt charts aren’t easy for all of your stakeholders to understand.
The solution for repetitive projects is to plan and schedule with productivity over time and space: enter location-based planning and scheduling.
3 Benefits of using a location-based planning and scheduling system
Location-based planning is a powerful methodology for construction managers—it provides a structured, systemic approach to scheduling that optimises on-site processes to minimise rework and waste while ensuring the project stays on budget and on schedule.
Location-based scheduling offers some key benefits, including making the construction process more predictable and minimising the impact of constraints, delays, and disruptions that affect project productivity.
In addition, the Practical Implications of Location-Based Scheduling report analysed residential construction projects to find three benefits unique to the location-based planning method:
1. Improved schedule overview
Location-based scheduling gives project managers a clear look at the entire project, allowing them to easily identify and track progress in each zone. This clear view helps them closely monitor each on-site activity to identify potential bottlenecks early before they become an issue.
LBS also enables site managers to schedule with greater accuracy—estimating resources, costs, labour hours, and timeframes is easier when you work in zones. This makes it realistic to develop an achievable schedule by considering the unique constraints of each work zone.
2. Better work continuity
Another benefit of location-based scheduling is the establishment of better workflow. By providing information about where work is being done and which work crews are allocated to each zone, planning continuous workflows becomes much easier.
This allows project managers to develop a detailed schedule considering the workflow of different zones, making it possible to achieve a continuous flow of work throughout the entire project.
Location-based scheduling enables this workflow continuity in two ways: an improved sequence of work and more efficient resource management.
When construction managers view the project in zones, they can more effectively sequence the work in each one, filling in scheduling gaps to ensure this continuous flow. And when they manage resources by creating schedules around what’s currently available, they reduce the risk of delays and stoppages.
3. Enhanced project control
Finally, location-based scheduling helps project managers monitor project progress and identify any potential issues before they turn into significant problems. This planning method enables enhanced project control in a few different ways.
Location-based planning and scheduling give project managers more visibility into their projects as a whole and into each individual zone. Plus, it’s always valuable for managers to always know the exact location of each crew.
One fundamental principle of location-based scheduling is that a crew shouldn’t change locations until their work in one zone is fully completed. The project timeline benefits from this principle—with other planning methods, subs more or less consider their activities as time-based instead of specific to a single location.
LBS also enhances project control by making it easier for site managers to get real-time updates, allowing them to make decisions based on the latest information. Ultimately, this leads to better decisions that reduce the risk of delays and keep the project on track.
Improve your planning by implementing location-based scheduling in your projects
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s 2019 report on linear, location-based scheduling found it to be an effective method of planning in construction—but it also found a challenge: the lack of sophisticated and readily-available construction management software that can apply location-based planning principles.
Luckily, that’s no longer an issue.
At LetsBuild, we’ve created a location-based planning app, LB Coordination to help site managers and supervisors work in zones to deliver lean projects faster and with less waste.
Book your personalised demo today and see how implementing location-based planning with LB Coordination can help you block out repetitive work, fill in scheduling gaps, and keep your teams in sync 24/7 without downtime and backlog.