Construction projects can get delayed. It’s actually something that happens a lot, in part because these projects exist on such long timetables that unplanned-for events and circumstances can arise and throw metaphorical wrenches into the works.
That being said, most delays in construction actually result from poor planning, to begin with. A poorly-defined scope and design creep are factors in more than half of all projects with delays — in part because things have to be put on hold while teams, builders, clients, and others involved in the process figure out details that should have been defined in the beginning.
Other common causes include contract disputes, lack of approval, weather, productivity issues, and pricing problems. But if you start with a strong construction schedule, you can mitigate some of these factors to help ensure projects are completed on time. Find out more about construction scheduling and the software that can help you manage it below.
What Is Construction Scheduling?
Before getting into the benefits of construction scheduling, it’s important to first understand exactly what the term means. It’s not just about a simple timeline or getting employees the right hours for each job — construction scheduling is a bit more complex than that.
It’s about scheduling all of the resources and components involved in a project. Just some of the elements that might need to be considered in a construction plan can include:
- The client’s needs as far as timelines are concerned. Is there a hard end date on the finish line because the client is launching or opening something, for example?
- Seasonal expectations, such as weather patterns you know might change the schedule for a project.
- Whether permits and inspections might be needed at various points during the project and how those factors might alter production.
- What resources will be required for each part of the project, so you can plan ahead to make them available as needed?
- Whether you’re running other projects at the same time and how you can best balance your resources among them.
- The items, including materials, tools, and equipment required for each step in the schedule so you can plan ahead to avoid bottlenecks related to supply issues.
Considering all of these factors as you plan a project can help you create the most accurate bids, save time and money throughout the project, meet client expectations, and reduce stress during construction.
7 Reasons Scheduling Is Important in Construction
Engaging in proper construction scheduling can create benefits for everyone: you, your company, employees, and contractors you work with, and clients as well. Here are just seven common benefits of construction planning and scheduling as you look toward the future of a project.
1. You can better quote your project.
The first step in any construction project is a successful bid. It’s not enough to bid the right amount with the right words and documentation to impress a potential client, though. If your bid isn’t accurate, then you’re the one potentially left footing the bill after a project goes off the rails.
Taking the time to look at a realistic and comprehensive construction schedule before you finalize helps you take all factors into account. And that means you’re better prepared to give an honest answer about how much a job might cost you to perform, and whether you can get it done within a certain timeline.
Will giving honest quotes win over every potential client? Of course not — some might expect unrealistic commitments, and sometimes your competition is willing to agree to idealized and impractical timelines. But at the end of the day, winning jobs with accurate bids you can live up to earn is a surefire way to earn a solid reputation for doing what you say, or even doing better than what you originally thought was possible. And that will earn you more clients in the future.
2. Cost estimations are more accurate.
Accurate bids and quotes also help your business. A solid construction schedule gives you a foundation on which you can confidently base pricing and cost estimates. In part, that’s because you know when you’ll need certain items, and you can combine that knowledge with information about other projects to negotiate good bulk pricing on common materials.
3. Schedules let you manage resources more intelligently.
Resource management is a huge part of the construction schedule. You might only have access to one plumber, and if you have four construction jobs going at the same time, efficient and thoughtful scheduling is essential. Otherwise, one or more of your projects might come to a halt while everyone sits around and waits for the plumber to finish up at another job and become available.
Specialists, such as plumbers and electricians, have to be scheduled. But so does equipment, materials delivery, inspections, and general labor. And since no resource is infinite, an accurate construction schedule is a must to ensure you can route all these resources in the most appropriate way.
4. Construction managers have a checklist of tasks to do at certain times.
A schedule also ensures whoever is in charge of a site on a day-to-day basis shows up with a checklist of what needs to be done. This is important, as you might need to swap out supervisors and other staff. When there’s a schedule and everyone can reference it, people across all your teams can easily pick up where others left off.
5. You can better manage safety considerations.
Scheduling ahead of time lets you understand when risky work (such as demolition) might need to take place. You can proactively ensure that all of the necessary safety resources will be on hand while also removing extra and unnecessary resources from the site so that they are not in the way. This reduces the risk that someone might be injured.
6. You can build in time to accommodate for known or potentially known obstacles.
If a client needs something completed within 6 months and you need exactly 180 days to get the job done, that’s poor scheduling — you aren’t leaving any room for obstacles and issues to arise. You can’t be certain a permit won’t be held up or that a tropical storm won’t derail progress for a few weeks.
When you start with a construction schedule, you can look at the season and location of the job to estimate some known issues and build time in the plan for them. You can also allow for unplanned issues by building in extra time, all but guaranteeing that your worst-case-scenario is finishing right at the deadline.
7. The schedule offers a yardstick by which everyone can measure progress.
Once you have a realistic schedule in place, everyone can use it to determine how well the project is progressing. A client is less likely to get on your case about when things are getting done if it looks like you’re living up to the schedule you provided in the beginning, and teams won’t be surprised if someone shows up to hurry them along if they’re behind on the schedule.
The Benefits of Construction Scheduling Software
Construction scheduling software providers you with the tools you need to create intelligent, accurate schedules for bidding and work processes. Schedule a demo with Visual Planning to learn more about automation and other features that take some of the work out of the construction schedule so you can move forward and concentrate on getting the actual project done.