Construction Planning and Scheduling – Guide

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Construction Planning and Scheduling
No construction project is going to be successful unless you have taken the time to do careful planning and scheduling for every part of it.  Of course, the planning and scheduling goes far beyond the workers on the job, as it includes information on materials, machinery, and more.
The planning portion of a construction project involves determining what needs to be done and how to do each step.  It is during this planning process that you will optimize your resources while reducing your costs, reducing the duplication of work completed and irrational approaches, encouraging creativity, and applying competitive strength.
Once all the planning has been completed, it is time for the scheduling portion of the job.  The entire schedule will include how long each portion of the job will take, the order it will be completed, and who is working at what times to finish it all.  This vital tool will help you with organization, staffing, directions, control factors, and the coordination of everyone and everything.
There are many ways to complete the planning stage of any construction project, but the easiest way is to write everything down and then break each item into subcategories.  This will ensure that you will not forget important steps for each one.  While those steps may not seem like a big deal, leaving one or two out in the planning stage can cost you time and money later on.  The reason for this is that each subcategory is given a time frame for completion, as well as the cost for doing that part of the job.
While you can do unique charts or lists for the planning stage of any construction project, we recommend that you leave those for the scheduling process.  This will ensure that no one will be confused as to which one they should be looking at when the work is being completed.  After all, one colorful chart looks like all the others with a quick glance.
Colorful charts are helpful during the construction scheduling process, as it makes it easier to see what has been completed and what still needs to be done, without pouring over blueprints and drawings for hours.  That doesn’t mean that you need to use colorful charts though, as there are plenty of other options available to you.
Here are the 4 best ways to create your schedules for construction projects:

  1. Bar Charts

A bar chart is one of the easiest ways to create a schedule for a construction project, because they are simple and easy to read.  Plus, they can be adapted to work with any job that you are currently doing.  You can create your bar chart using a list of activities and then specifying the start date for each one.  You can even create the estimated duration of the activity and the expected and actual completion dates.  This bar chart can be as detailed or as basic as you need it to be, while giving a clear idea of where you are for every step of your current project.

  1. Critical Path Method

The critical path method is quite a bit more complex than the above bar chart, because each activity is automatically linked to the previous one as well as those that occur afterwards.  This is necessary, as it shows what needs to be completed before the next task can be started.  The steps within the critical path method include the list of activities, determines the relationship between the activities, accesses the duration of each activity, creates the schedule, and accesses the resources that are needed.

  1. Line of Balance Scheduling

This type of construction scheduling is almost always used for repetitive work, which is most often the case in road construction.  This is an easy scheduling process when it is used for the proper type of work.  Line of balancing scheduling allocates the resources that are needed for each step of the job, so that nothing is delayed, and the project can be completed as planned.

  1. Q Scheduling

Q scheduling is more commonly known as quantitative scheduling and it is used to show when quantities need to be executed at numerous locations.  This scheduling technique was created based on the line of balance scheduling where the work is not repetitive.  This is the closest model to reality and does not create interference between activities that take place at the same or different locations.
If you are looking to be successful with all your construction projects, you need to do some careful planning before creating a schedule that will have you delivering your project on time and on budget.  Both these things may take quite a bit of time to create and then implement, but the time that you will save during the actual work will be more than the time you spent creating it all.

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