At the heart of a project management system is the control of time. At this present time, the project schedule is on course and run smoothly. However, the complex and unpredictable nature of construction leaves little room for seamless time management. Construction teams, these days, are consistently in a race against time to reach deadlines and targets while working through daily challenges that are often expected with every new project.
None of these challenges are ever similar because each challenge comes with its own unique set of conflicts and issues. That is why it is no surprise that it will lead to many mistakes if the project schedule isn’t managed correctly. As a result, it can lead you to costly reworks, loss of productivity and may even cost your company its reputation.
Read further why scheduling is important and discover six common scheduling mistakes that continue to cost you time and money. Be proactive and pay great attention to the scheduling process so you can avoid such mistakes.
Why is Project Scheduling Important in construction?
- It informs the construction team in terms of the tasks they must work on and when.
- Schedules are invaluable for calculating the extension of time claims.
- The progress of the project can be measured.
- Allows clients to provide information about the project and grant access to the contractor.
- The progress of any project can be measured.
- The subcontractor’s job can be further planned to be available when needed. Scheduling is beneficial in completing your subcontractor’s job on time.
- Material deliveries can be arranged, so they are delivered before they are even needed.
- Schedules can be used for planning cash flow.
- Knowing the project duration, the contractor can calculate their overhead costs for the project.
- A properly planned project schedule will prevent hold-ups and clashes on the project often caused when the primary important tasks have not been completed.
However, most construction schedule today is poorly prepared and has several mistakes that can mislead both the client and the contractor. In fact, a poorly prepared project schedule, or a schedule with many errors, can be more dangerous compare to having no schedule at all.
Common Scheduling Mistakes in Construction
1. Too much time scheduling
And even the most seasoned professionals have made many mistakes. As the project manager, you are already preoccupied with the back-end operations such as ordering construction supplies, keeping your employees engaged, handling escalations. And because your job role pulls you in any direction, errors in the schedule are bound to happen. So here’s the question – are you wasting too much time on project scheduling?
There can be some instances when you may forget to schedule one team member for a shift. At one point in time, you double two of your crews for the same shift. Expect that these errors will frustrate your employees or force them to work without the proper support.
Take time to review your schedules first and get in the habit of making them every few weeks at the same time. Use a reliable construction scheduling software that will call out any mistakes you will make and store information in one accessible platform.
2. Impact of Adjacent Structures
Scheduling individual structures without even considering the impact of adjacent structures is a huge mistake. Many structures on a construction project are being connected in some ways. Deeper structures might have to be completed or brought to the underside) even before the neighboring structure can begin.
Structures impact access to the neighboring structures. And when preparing a project schedule, it is essential to consider the impact and utility lines on the structures.
3. Lack of accountability in Scheduling
In a conventional construction environment, the responsibility for scheduling often falls to one or several crew members tasked with outlining when every construction project has to be complete. Unfortunately, the original project schedule doesn’t get updated consistently, with all of the necessary details while the project is undergoing. As a result, the schedule can be perceived as either lacks urgency or unrealistic.
The main problem here is the lack of ownership or accountability. When laborers and subs never own or take the schedule seriously, they often lack commitment in meeting it. The solution for this problem is effective production planning. Moreover, production planning is the process were all contractors, subs and other parties involved collaborate and communicate to create a realistic schedule.
4. Not enough details
A lack of dependencies can lead to a lack of detail. And one way that project managers get rid of such stress is by delivering a simplified, high-level assessment of daily tasks. This is fine in providing insights by a glance, for as long as more details are available at a sub-task level. And as the build progresses, details have to be regularly added to the critical path, completely defined the required work.
5. Ineffective Documentation
Concurrency leads to the need for accurate, consistent, and proper documentation. Having a sorted and integrated system of your documents that spans all phases of construction could mean life or death. It also allows for decision-makers to stay still in the loop while making informed decisions that can avoid schedule delays from occurring.
And inherent in today’s nature of the business is the need always to document every aspect of activities virtually. In delay arguments, the party with the best records has the advantage.
6. Unrealistic Resource Projections
Any company has a set amount of resources available for any project. Delays and problems occur when project schedules are set in place without considering available resources or the unstated assumption that resources are unlimited.
When creating a schedule for your project, make sure to maintain a realistic sense of all available resources. Critical resources should also be used appropriately and allocated at this level of planning.
7. Single Area
The schedule allows, or demands, many trades to work in a specific area at the same time. But, realistically, only a finite number of crews and different trades can work in one area simultaneously. Fitting more workers and construction activities into one little area doesn’t make the job much faster. Instead, it makes work slower because the workers are either working on top of each other or need to stand down waiting for others to finish their job.
8. Not Investing in Construction Scheduling Software
Contractors should pay more attention to the emerging trends and technologies in the industry. With such modern tools, creating schedules becomes easier and sharing, editing, and distributing it to your team. This specialized software tool is designed for many purposes. It provides transparency and increases trust between you and your subs.
It additionally creates visibility for project managers to see the operations and activities happening on-site. On top of that, such specialized tools establish more realistic schedules, holding everyone more accountable.
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9. Schedule Update
Not updating the project schedules correctly and failing to take action when slippage happens on the project negatively impacts. Often, construction schedules aren’t appropriately updated, and the project’s progress isn’t recorded correctly, giving you and your client misleading information.
On some occasions, when slippage is being noticed, you or your team ignores the information and doesn’t even take corrective actions. Always take note of these matters because it is vital to detect slippage on your project schedule as early as possible. Then, that is when you’ll implement the correct actions to catch up with the lost time.
10. Not conveying the schedule to your team
Oftentimes, contractors keep a schedule in the office, yet those working in the field are not aware of the tasks. How are you as a contractor? Are you doing the same thing? Sometimes, you wanted to hand down the complete schedule to your team with thousands of activities and expect them to search those tasks independently, not even bothering to implement project task management. If that is the case, then avoid such actions.
It is crucial that those who are working in the field know their designated tasks. They also need to complete each task and determine which tasks should be prioritized first. It can be helpful if you provide the schedule in a pictorial form, showing activities and tasks relevant to a specific area. Pictorial forms can be pinned closely to the shed wall, where all workers from the section can view them.
Laying out using pictorial forms is one of the conventional ways in spreading information. However, in this modern era, almost everyone in the industry invests in technologies. In the construction industry, specialized software tools for project and crew management have become the norm. In fact, if you’re using subcontractor scheduling software, construction schedules can be distributed and shared with your crew members seamlessly.
When you create a project schedule, make sure you know what methods you expected to use and what requirements you needed. Always allow space, as much as you can, for some improvisations and changes. Only a few construction projects go exactly as planned. That is why it is important to give yourself and your crew the flexibility to adapt to unpredicted issues or unconventional project approaches, if necessary.