Construction project schedule is a crucial element of construction project management. There are several parties involved in construction project. construction project contractors and construction project owners all need and benefit from construction project scheduling. In most construction projects, the general contractor including subcontractors and other team members, is obligated to finish the project by a certain date specified in the contract. The contractor has to make sure that his or her schedule meets this date. Some contracts contain clauses for penalties for finishing the project later than contractually required for finishing earlier.
Benefit of Construction Project Schedule
Construction project schedule can be used to duration of specific activities. Specific activities may require special attention, such as ordering and delivering materials or equipment. For instance, the project manager may want special and expensive equipment to be delivered just in time for installation. Long-lead items may have to be ordered several months in advance. Delivery of very large items may need coordination. The schedule must show such important dates.
Construction project schedule can enhance the coordination between trades and subcontractor. In today’s construction, the general contractor’s role is mostly to coordinate among different subcontractors. The responsibility of the general contractor may be to allocate the time of use of a tower crane among subcontractors or just to ensure that adequate work space is available for all subcontractors. The coordination is critical especially when a subcontractor’s activity depends on tl1e completion of another subcontractor’s activity.
Construction Project Schedule Steps
For the planning, execution, and completion of a project, many steps are required that may not be part of scheduling. The followings are the key steps in how to prepare a construction project schedule.
The first step is to determine the work activities. Any project, no matter how large or small, must be divided into smaller tasks. An task is a unique, definable element of work. In this step, there is no absolutely correct or incorrect breakdown. However, there are two methods for breaking down the project into small tasks. The first methods is to restrict the number of activities for the simplicity of the project schedule: In this case, activities become “major” components. However, there is a practical-and sometimes contractual-limit on how large an activity may be. Another method is to break the project down into small activities: This approach will result in a large number of activities. The main advantage of the approach is better control of the schedule during execution.
The second step is to determine activities duration. There are techniques for estimating activity duration. However, it is important to know that construction project vary from one situation to another, depending on the type of work, the estimator, and other factors. There are certain construction project software you may use to estimate the activity duration.
The third step is to determine logical relationships: Again, this step is a technical matter. The scheduler should obtain this information from project managers and technical team leaders. A logical relationship exists between two activities when the start of one activity depends physically on the finish of anoti1er activity.
The last step is to draw the logic network. If you are using a construction project software, it will perform these functions for you, provided that you have input the correct data. In this step, you will obtain the calculated finish date of the project, the critical path, and the available float for all noncritical activities. It is important to check the input and the output and not to rely totally on the computer.
Master Schedule and Subschedule
In a typical construction project, many parties are involved: the general contractor, the owner, the architect or engineer , subcontractors, government agencies, vendors, and so forth. There are two approaches to scheduling in this situation.
The first method is to have a master schedule that includes several subschedules. Each subschedtue represents the activities belonging to one party involved in the project. The external relationships will show only in the master schedule. In this approach, when scheduling a subschedtue, the scheduler must be sure to consider the external relationships.
The second method is the define roles and responsibilities. In this approach, the project manager will include all activities in one schedule and assign a responsibility code for each contracting party. The scheduler can later apply a filter to show activities belonging to only one party. This way, the “external relationships” are always there, even if they do not show.