Construction Project Scheduling Guide

Source: Construction Project Scheduling Guide

Managing construction project scheduling is a complex challenge, in fact project scheduling problems and resource-constrained issues are generally considered essential issues for contractors to be addressed. No matter how large or small the construction project, an efficient, well-thought-out schedule is crucial to achieving success.

Project managers have to deal with the complex logical relationships on a construction project.  The project scheduler has to manage many aspects of the contract, such as adjusting staff requirements at various stages of the project, overseeing logistics and deliveries, managing equipment needs, organizing inspections plus estimating time requirements for task completions, all of

which requires a high level of competency on the part of the scheduler.

 

Importance of project scheduling

Project scheduling is important because it:

  • keeps the project on track to meet milestones

  • avoids production delays

  • allows for correct resource allocation

  • keeps the process transparent and all stakeholders happy

  • requirement of the project.

Are you struggling to keep your construction project on schedule? Here is a guide on construction scheduling techniques to make project planning easier.

Creating a construction project schedule

How effective project scheduling is, depends on how you create the schedule in the first place.

 Identifying project tasks

The first thing is to identify all the tasks required to achieve the required result. Make sure you include all the tasks from beginning to end.

Consider the logical relationships

Consider the logical relationships between the tasks. This means you need to know what task needs completing before another one starts.

There are some very good construction project scheduling software that can help you make sense of logical relations when scheduling a construction project. Using software will also ensure you see when things are going off track.

Good project scheduling saves time, resources and money.

Use visual representations

Use visual representations to show logical relationships between tasks. By producing charts from your software, it is easy for everyone to track a project’s progress.

Estimate time to complete

Identify the estimated time to complete each task. Calculate these timelines separately from the overall time to completion date. This gives you a true estimated time to complete each task rather than trying to fit each task into the available time, which can be inaccurate. This will cause all sorts of problems during the life of the project.

Calculate the critical path to success

Calculate the critical path once you determine the logical relationships. The critical path are the tasks that take longest to complete. This represents the amount of time the project will take to complete. Construction project scheduling software makes determining the critical path simple. This will help you in the long term.

Build slack time into the project

Building slack time into project scheduling can help the project stay on track. There are always unforeseen things that occur on any construction project. By building in slack time you have the flexibility to move tasks and timelines around when you have no other choice.

Crash when you have to

When you have demands to finish the project in less time, use crashing as a powerful project management tool. Use it to cut time from the deadline for tasks in the critical path. You can do this by doubling the resources working on a task to finish it in half the time, for example. This will cost more money. It is a good technique when the project owner is willing to pay more money to get the project finished quicker.

 

Projects that lag behind schedule

When your project is lagging behind schedule, consider accelerating your schedule. The first thing to do is to complete a review of the whole schedule to work out how many tasks are lagging behind.

Making the decision to accelerate

There are times the project owner wants to speed up a project but there are others when tasks lag behind. This can be for all sorts of reasons such as bad weather or resources that are unavailable.

When you feel the need to accelerate a project do a complete analysis:

  • Is there an acceleration clause in the contract?

  • Will the project be paid for accelerating the project?

  • What resources do I need and are they available?

  • What is the timeline for the acceleration plan?

  • What will the process cost?

  • What tasks can you alter during acceleration?

  • Does the project end date need to be modified?

  • When does acceleration start and finish?

  • How will you communicate your plans to team members?

Drawing up an acceleration proposal

Following a project scheduling acceleration process, you may need to recover costs. When this is the case, draw up a proposal for the acceleration process. Most construction contracts will have guidelines for this built in. If your contract does not, your proposal should contain the following:

  • Prepare an accelerated schedule. You need to prepare an accelerated construction project schedule to share with the stakeholders and the team. It will identify the start and end dates, and the impact on the current timelines for affected tasks.

  • Cost of acceleration. There are costs associated with accelerating project schedules. These will include extra materials, team members and overtime, overhead costs, tools and equipment, and storage costs. All this needs factoring into the cost of acceleration.

  • Impacts and risks. Make a list of the tasks the acceleration plan will impact. Also make a list of the risks the acceleration plan raises and how to mitigate them. As well, make a fallback plan in case acceleration does not achieve the expected time or cost savings.

Techniques for accelerating construction scheduling:

Some of the things to consider with accelerating construction project scheduling includes:

  • different concreting methods

  • modular offsite construction

  • overtime

  • adding an extra shift

  • rescheduling work tasks.

The key to efficient construction scheduling is how much time and effort goes into creating the schedule. Construction project management scheduling makes a project manager look at the construction project from a ‘big picture’ perspective. Planning this way using construction project scheduling software means your project will be more productive.

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Software that will improve Construction Safety

Source: Software that will improve Construction Safety

The construction industry is in a constantly changing. With new rules, regulations, risks and safety standards, it can be a tough task to keep up with the changes to comply with all the various regulations. Agile organizations that embrace change and use software for construction safety are finding they have a competitive edge.

If your business is still to lagging in using construction safety software, it is not too late to start. Improve construction safety with checklists and risk assessments. The reality is that software can help you manage quality and safety processes with more efficiency and accuracy, delivering a return on investment via lower costs and claims. Before you choose software, consider what features you need or your business.

 Integration with your current software

Everyone uses different software tools for project management. Look for software that integrates or replaces your current software. Construction safety should be an integral part of project management. Using software helps to provide transparency about how construction projects are progressing. It helps you identify and take action to avert potential problems before they occur. This saves money and time.

 Tracks workplace incidents

The construction industry has a high level of workplace injury. It can be a dangerous place to work. This means there is always an accident waiting to happen as workers go about their work on a job if everyone is not alert. It is vital you record health and safety incidents issues immediately. Record them within your construction safety software using a smartphone from the job. These records can be important for future risk planning or proof of legislative compliance.

 Provides team mobility

Good construction safety software will supply access to iPhone and Android apps for your team to use on the go. This allows team access to the system no matter where you are. Make sure the software you choose is versatile enough no matter what operating system you all use.

 Customization of Project software

No two organizations are alike or have the same needs. This means construction project software must  allow for customization to meet individual organizational needs. There is no point investing in software you cannot adapt to your specific needs. This includes reporting and processes as well as tracking and recording all construction projects.

 Easy access to forms

The construction industry has many forms to fill out. From budget and project updates to safety protocols and contracts, it is often vital to access them on the spot. Make sure the software has easy access to these from wherever you are.

 Access to mobile signatures

While on the topic of easy access, make sure your software gives you the ability to sign documents from wherever you are. This will speed up the efficiency of your business. It will also make the workplace safer as decisions are made on the go based on real-time data.

 Ability to record voice to text

It is important for construction safety software to have the ability to convert voice to text. This gives you the ability to record things like safety issues or incidents in real-time using a smartphone. This allows you to continue working hands free.

 Records staff training and certifications

If you have more than a few employees, it can be difficult keeping up with their training and certifications. This is a vital to your business. You must comply with local, state and federal health and safety legislation. Software that can store staff training and certification records will send out notifications so everyone meets their deadlines. It will also have the ability to view these as reports to see how each staff member is progressing along their learning path.

These are just some of the features to consider when buying software to help you keep construction safety at work. Talk to the specialists for expert advice on the best software to meet your needs.

Lean construction scheduling

Source: Lean construction scheduling

Scheduling is an important part of project management in construction. It is a list of project milestones, activities and deliverables with start and end dates. These are based on other information in the schedule. This includes budgets, resource allocation and activity timelines. It will also list links to dependencies and scheduled events. Elements in the project schedule are usually based on the work breakdown structure for the whole project.

Keeping a construction project on track is the difference between finishing a project on time and making a profit, or not. Lean construction scheduling is a way to design processes and procedures to minimize waste in the workplace to maximize value. Schedules detail each construction activity for the project team and how long it should take to complete each one. Lean construction scheduling is vital to all parts of the daily management and reporting process of a project’s status. It helps reduce all forms of waste in the construction process.

 Forms of construction waste

There is always a risk of waste during a construction project so using lean construction scheduling helps organizations plan to avoid waste of money, resources and manpower. Forms of construction waste include:

  • time – looking for things, ordering materials, etc

  • transport – materials handling, deliveries, etc

  • staff downtime – waiting for instructions, information and deliveries, etc

  • rework and corrections – correcting poor or incorrect work and updating plans

  • overproduction – producing more than ordered

  • inventory – too much or too little stock on hand

  • over processing – doing more than the client can pay for.

Benefits of lean construction scheduling

Using lean construction scheduling adds value to the process of constructing a building. It will also help to uncover where there is wasted time and staff potential in the process.

Schedules keep the work on track and you can see how the project works are progressing. This can be important as there may be penalties for meeting milestones late. Meeting milestones late will not be good for your reputation. Benefits of lean construction scheduling includes:

  • Making it possible to move a project through the critical path of activities of the construction process.

  • Means it is easy to change priorities for activities and resources when the need arises. This reduces the peak demand for resources. It eliminates standing down other resources and bringing them back later at an extra cost.

  • Showing clear team goals and milestones. It also shows the path of how to meet them on time. The schedule will give the team a pathway to follow to achieve those milestones on time. A schedule defines the sequence of activities to let project managers what to plan for.

  • Providing dates for material deliveries.

  • Monitoring the progress of work activities as well as those of subcontractors and suppliers.

  • Providing subcontractors and suppliers with schedules at the time of the tender and contract sign-off prevents misunderstandings and disputes down the track.

  • Allowing for planning what resources you need where and when. The last thing you need is too many or too few people on the job to get it done on time.

  • Providing valuable feedback about how the construction project is proceeding. It is easy to see when a project is slipping the schedule. This give you the chance to take action by bringing in extra resources or working overtime to make up the time.

 Lean construction project scheduling is a tool a project manager uses to systematically manage all parts of a construction project. This includes assigning the relevant skilled human resources to get the work done. The schedule can be regularly reviewed using a good task software to check actual outcomes against the plan.

There is no room for mistakes in lean construction scheduling. Mistakes cost time, money and your reputation. Using good planning strategies and software will keep your construction projects on track.

Generic risk assessment template for construction

Source: Generic risk assessment template for construction

Employers are responsible for workplace health and safety. All construction companies must have a workplace health and safety policy that outlines its commitment to workplace safety.

Construction businesses need to complete a risk assessment template to identify and manage workplace risks. There are inherent risks with all construction projects that threaten those who work in construction. These risks can also damage your reputation and profit margins. Having a construction risk assessment template helps keep construction risks under control. Here are some things you need to consider when compiling a risk assessment template.

Workplace health and safety policy

Organizations must show a commitment to working within the Health and Welfare rules to ensure: workers complete all workplace activities in accordance with policies and procedures, the relevant people update the Safety Statement regularly and communicate the results, the organization implements and maintains all protective and preventive measures identified , the organization prevents behaviour likely to endanger others, employees have safe plant and equipment and work systems in the workplace, emergency plans are in place, well communicated and updated as required. Where it is not possible to eliminate hazards, minimize them using safety procedures and personal protective equipment, ensuring there is always safe entry and exits to the workplace. Also to ensure employees store hazardous goods and chemicals correctly to prevent injury to those in the workplace.

 What is a risk assessment template?

  • A construction risk assessment template is where an organisation records its evaluation of workplace risks. It systematically evaluates all workplace risks by looking at:

  • what can cause harm to workers?

  • can you eliminate the risk?

  • if not – what can you do to minimize and control the risks?

Keep in mind that:

  • Hazards can be anything – materials, equipment, behavior in the workplace and work practices.

  • The risk is how likely is the hazard to harm someone.

Assessing risks

How to assess workplace risks can be broken into five basic steps:

  1. Identify hazards and who is at risk. Look for things that can cause harm in the workplace and who it has the potential to affect.

  2. Evaluate and prioritize risks. Estimate the severity and probability of each risk and prioritize them in order of importance.

  3. Decide on preventive action. Identify appropriate actions and procedures to eliminate or minimize each risk.

  4. Taking action. Take action by putting in place preventive and protective measures in a plan that prioritizes the risks. It is unlikely you can resolve everything immediately. Specify what actions are taken by who and by when.

  5. Monitor and review. Monitor and review the risk assessment template on a regular basis. In construction, risks can change a lot and often. You may need risk assessments as a record of your commitment to workplace health and safety if there are problems in the future.

Roles and responsibilities

The key role of a risk assessment is set out in the relevant legislation. Employers have a general duty of care towards the safety of all their workers. They must put policies and procedures in place to protect the health and safety of staff members. These obligations include:

  • preventing occupational risks

  • providing adequate ongoing training and information to all workers

  • ensuring adequate measures are put in place to mitigate workplace risks.

Health and safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility including employers, workers and contractors.

Employer’s responsibilities

Employer’s responsibilities include:

  • preventing behaviour that puts other workers at risk

  • managing work activities so there are no adverse health or safety effects on workers

  • providing a safe workplace

  • being proactive in preventing risks to employees

  • providing training, information, tools and supervision at the appropriate level for the skills of workers

  • providing appropriate personal protective clothing and training on when and how to use it

  • providing and maintaining welfare facilities such as a medical room equipped with a trained person.

Employee’s responsibilities

An employee’s responsibilities include:

  • complying with workplace policies and procedures and reporting unsafe practices, procedures and equipment

  • taking responsibility for their own safety and for the safety of others

  • cooperating with workplace policies and procedures

  • reporting any hazards, injuries, near misses, accidents or incidents in the appropriate manner

  • using the personal protective equipment provided in the appropriate manner and situations

  • attend the training required

  • behaving in a professional manner and in a way that will not put yourself or others at risk in the workplace

  • not coming to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 
Contractor’s responsibilities

Construction sites have contractors working on site. Their responsibilities include:

  • providing all employees with site-specific health and safety instructions and induction

  • identifying hazards, eliminating them and reducing the risks on a constructions site

  • monitoring employee compliance and take relevant action where required

  • working in a safe manner to protect themselves and others from harm.

Risk assessment templates are complex and these are just a few things to take into account. There is no room for complacency on a construction site. Get good quality software to help keep track of your risk management plan.