How to plan an effective programme for your construction projects
In construction project delivery, time is money. Even minor delays and budget overruns can be costly, resulting in lost revenues, reduced margins, potential LADS, unhappy clients, and a damaged business reputation. The best way to avoid or mitigate these issues is to plan an effective programme for each project. An effective programme isn’t simply a damage control exercise; it establishes a mutually understood framework to help you manage tasks on-site and throughout the supply chain, allocate resources more effectively, track progress, manage information and ensure that the project stays on schedule.
For the best outcomes from construction management, we recommend investing in a good quality construction project management software solution, which will help reduce the time and resources needed to generate effective project plans. In this article, we will outline five steps you can take to prepare and plan an effective timeline for your construction project, whether you are using construction management software or taking a manual approach.
Define the scope of the project
The first step to planning an effective programme for your construction project is to define the project's scope. By thoroughly understanding the project's objectives, deliverables, and required resources, you can determine the project's complexity and develop a bespoke programme that meets your expectations and those of your stakeholders. This step will help you to identify the timeline and resources required to deliver the project on time and within budget.
Break down the project into manageable tasks
Breaking down the project into smaller tasks and milestones can help you accurately estimate completion times and identify task dependencies, as well as manage risk more effectively. This process will reduce the overall complexity of each task and make it more straightforward to allocate resources and budget accordingly. You can use construction management software tools like Gantt charts and scheduling platforms to create a programme that allows you to monitor the project's progress and make informed strategic decisions in real-time.
Estimate task durations
Once you have broken down the project into manageable tasks, the next step is to estimate the time required for each task. This is a crucial consideration, as many construction projects are overrun due to project managers underestimating the actual time, and sometimes cost, required to complete a milestone to the required standard. This may make a project proposal or estimate look good on paper, but it also sets main contractors and supply chain partners up for problems later down the line. A realistic project plan is always more effective long-term than one which is overambitious, or that does not account for real-world contingencies. Construction project management software can help you create realistic yet short turnaround task durations, making use of historical data, expert opinion, and specialised project management tools to make these estimates. Factors such as task complexity, weather variables, resource availability, potential risks, and the skills of team members should be taken into account when estimating how long the task will take.
Identify the critical path
The critical path is a sequence of tasks that must be completed on time in order to ensure the project stays on track. It is essential to identify the critical path from the outset as it helps you focus your attention where it is most needed – i.e., on managing and monitoring these critical tasks closely. This step will also help you to address any potential bottlenecks that may arise during the project's lifespan.
Allocate resources efficiently
Assign personnel, equipment, and materials to each task, making sure to allocate resources efficiently to minimise delays and cost overruns. Monitor resource allocation throughout the project to ensure that resources are being used effectively while avoiding preventable delays. This will help reduce costs and keep the project on schedule.
Speak to our team
Cube are a positive, proactive, and solutions-focused team of building consultants, combining several decades of senior-level operations, delivery, project management, and client relationship expertise. To find out how we can help, please get in touch today.
Image source: Canva