In a recent post ‘Will your construction project be completed on schedule?’ I discussed possible reasons for construction projects being completed late for reasons due to the contractor and briefly touched on the construction schedule.
A properly constructed schedule is a valuable aid to ensuring your project is completed in the shortest possible time, making the best use of your available resources. Yet, many schedules are poorly prepared, don’t show the pertinent information, or aren’t communicated to the relevant parties.
It’s important a construction schedule is prepared which should:
1. enable the project to be constructed in the shortest possible time, making efficient use of the available resources, without jeopardising the quality, safety or integrity of the project
2. take into account any client imposed restraints, such as; interfacing with other contractors, access dates to work areas, working in and around existing facilities and the availability of information
3. allow for adverse weather events, which could normally be experienced, and during which construction work cannot happen or when productivity is reduced
4. include for interfacing between the different construction work areas
5. meet the completion dates that were committed to in the contract (unless the project has changed from the one that was in the tender submission)
6. allow sufficient time for planning the project and for mobilisation (on some projects it can take four weeks or more to get personnel through the mobilisation process and on to site)
7. include time for design and drawing approvals as required
8. adequately show the type of resources required and when they’ll be needed
9. be approved by the client in writing as soon as possible (without an approved schedule it’s difficult for the contractor to claim for variations, late information, late access and extension of time)
10. clearly show when access is required to the various work areas
11. indicate when information is required (a separate ‘information required list’ should be prepared which can be updated weekly and discussed with the client at the progress meetings, so the client can be aware of what information is necessary in the next two weeks and notified when information is issued late or when it’s inadequate or incomplete for construction purposes)
12. be updated regularly (the update must be done correctly, focusing on the critical path activities rather than the overall percentage complete)
13. be communicated to the relevant staff so they are aware of the key dates and milestones (Supervisors are often only interested in their section of work and what they need to do in the next couple of weeks, so it’s pointless giving them the entire schedule to the end of the project since in many cases it won’t be read and will only confuse them – rather give Supervisors a snapshot of the schedule pertinent to their work, even perhaps giving it to them in a pictorial form which can be easily read and displayed on their office wall)
14. if needed, be discussed with Supervisors to make sure they understand what needs to be done and why the sequence and resourcing shown is necessary
Unfortunately some construction project managers don’t treat the construction schedule with the importance it deserves. In fact, some construction companies and project managers just view it as another pesky document that the client requires. Yet, it can be a vital part of the success of your project and invaluable when arguing and settling delay claims with your client.
Other similar relevant articles from the same author include:
'The importance of planning your project'
'Understanding the real cost of delays to your project'
'What you need to know to close out your project successfully'
(Paul Netscher is the author of the acclaimed books ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ [a required text for Bachelor of Construction Management at some universities] and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’. Both books are available in paperback and e-book from Amazon and other retail outlets. This article is adapted from information included in these books.)