Construction scheduling is a crucial part of running a smooth construction operation. It involves the planning and allocation of resources including equipment, materials, and people to complete construction projects in a timely fashion. When executed correctly, construction scheduling improves efficiency, mitigates setbacks, and increases productivity. It’s a key part of getting construction projects completed on time while meeting financial restrictions. Let’s take a look at some proven construction management strategies project managers can use to improve their operations.
Critical Path Method (CPM) or Critical Chain is one of the most popular and commonly used construction scheduling solutions among project managers. It focuses on assigning priority to various tasks within a project in order to determine the most effective path for completing the goal. The CPM strategy makes the assumption that progress on the job site is steady, meaning the time it takes to complete a particular task can vary. This construction scheduling method is effective in avoiding costly delays and keeping everyone on the same page.
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Quantitative scheduling, queue scheduling, or Q scheduling is designed to clearly illustrate the type and amount of material needed at various physical locations and times throughout a project. This approach uses a bar chart style to show the number of specific materials used on the job site. There’s a hierarchical element that tells construction managers the order in which they need materials, making it easier to organize shipping to avoid delays or hiccups. Q scheduling is unique in that it shows a correlation between the sequence of a project and the anticipated costs. One of the main benefits of this approach is saving money on the job site.
As the name suggests, this scheduling strategy focuses on a construction project’s resources. The goal of resource-oriented scheduling is to determine the most effective use for each resource. With different teams pulling from a project’s limited pool of resources, it’s imperative that managers have clear oversight of the allotment of these items. When there’s no due diligence in this area, it’s easy to run into shortages that result in expensive project delays. Resource-oriented scheduling can determine what areas of a project take precedent over others.
The Last Planner System (LPS) is focused on improving collaboration among stakeholders throughout a construction project. This technique is a great addition to other construction scheduling methods for teams looking to optimize project connection. By setting aside time for project leaders to communicate, LPS helps construction teams work more efficiently while avoiding potential delays. This leads to a smoother and hassle-free construction project overall. LPS is also significantly easier to implement than some of the other construction scheduling methods mentioned, making it a simple addition to any project.
Unlike construction scheduling methods mentioned before, a Gantt Chart is more of a tool than a technique. It’s a style of bar chart designed to model the schedule of a construction project including milestones, timelines, and specific details of each phase. The goal of the Gantt Chart is to provide stakeholders with a clear path toward project completion along with an accurate idea of how long each stage will last. This construction scheduling tool doesn’t list the resources and materials required in a project though.
Line of Balance is a highly specific tool that promotes the diligent planning of construction projects through repeated elements. In other words, this scheduling approach includes pieces of repetitive activities. The tool aggregates, measures, and displays a range of important information including cost and time estimations while presenting these metrics against a particular plan. LOB makes it easier to identify where construction projects can go off the rails by highlighting specific times when aberrations result and the ramifications of these deviations. Developed by Goodyear and used by the US Navy, the LOB strategy has been proven useful time and time again.
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