Time keeping in construction is one of the most important aspects of a construction project. There are many different types of construction projects from a kitchen to skyscrapers to architectural marvels. Each construction project in turn also has different phases it goes through.
The various phases in construction include the planning and scheduling of the project which is the topic of this article, the design, pre-construction and estimation and finally the actual construction of the project. For all of this to go smoothly, the planning is paramount to the success of the project. Without proper scheduling the construction process can be extremely unpredictable.
So why construction softwares, or more specifically scheduling softwares? Because scheduling itself is needed more than ever today. Construction projects are progressively growing in difficulty, becoming more and more complex and budgets seem to be decreasing as well. This makes planning and scheduling even more principal.
The scheduling software used most in the construction industry will be a scheduling software that can meet the needs of the project scheduler and make their jobs easier along with the project manager. So let’s examine the needs of the project scheduler or even better understand project scheduling so we can see how an adept software addresses those aspects of scheduling.
Scheduling is important as it can help avoid delays in a construction project. This increases the necessity for project schedules, but why? The reasoning is delays can be extremely detrimental to the success of a construction project. A delay in a construction project isn’t actually just a matter of time, it is also a matter of money. Delays are expensive and everyday a piece of equipment or certain pieces of equipment are sitting out unused due to a delay. There is money quickly going down the drain.
As a result of delays, owners and contractors can incur further expenses beyond the original scope. The reason they can possibly incur further expenses is that they are trying to properly support the completion of a project.
A project schedule aims to forecast or predict possible delays that might happen. There are various delays that can occur in a project such as change orders, financial issues, adverse weather and delays from the supplier’s end. These are only a few of the possible delays that may occur in a construction project and a scheduler must be on top of all of them.
Delays can be excusable or inexcusable. If they are excusable they are out of the control of the owner or contractor such as labour strikes or natural disasters and even interference in the project from outside agencies. These are a few examples of incidents that may occur that can’t be foreseen.
Inexcusable delays which are within the control of the owners or contractors and can leave them at fault for negligence. These could be late performance of subcontractors or suppliers or even delayed mobilization of transportation of contractor’s equipment, operating supplies and other items to the site and establishment of any necessary facilities such as an office for a contractor to operate on the site.
Despite being excusable or inexcusable, a delay could be non critical or critical. Simply put if it’s a critical delay it will affect the delivery date of the project, otherwise not as much attention will be paid to this particular delay. On the other hand, if the delay doesn’t affect the delivery date but causes issues relating to money and turns into increased costs then it can become an issue. As mentioned before, delays can be expensive with equipment sitting out incurring costs and the owner/contractor having to put more money into the project.
What foreseeable delays could happen and need to be accounted for? It depends on the project and different variables, for instance if it might snow and that might affect what work can be done that should be accounted for by taking into factors the average number of days in a certain period it might snow and removing weekends and then accounting for that in the project.
It is evident that the job of the project scheduler is an imperative one to the success of a construction project. Hence, the need for a construction scheduling software. It can only make one’s job easier and smoothen the process. It is simply the best way to do construction scheduling.
On the market there are a variety of existing construction softwares for differing functions in construction such as estimation for the bid process of a construction project or simply to estimate the costs of a project with line-by-line expenses of materials and labour and predetermined formulas and calculations. There are also quality and safety softwares aiming to minimise risk and mitigate damage in a project by providing meaningful data to its users based on past incidents and reports.
Another example is inventory management software for construction in which the user is aided in ensuring that inventory is managed well and ordering materials are done on time and not too late as it can be detrimental to a project. This would of course be more relevant for larger construction projects.
So why highlight these softwares? Because a construction scheduling softwares will work in the same way. It simply translates those functions of scheduling, what is needed and provides it all to a user on one convenient platform.
The best way to do construction scheduling is with construction software. There are a variety of existing construction softwares for different functions in construction such as estimation for the purposes of estimating the expenses associated with a project and to help with the bid process of a project detailing line-by-line expenses and costs of materials and labour and other relevant factors.
A construction scheduling software should enable you to collect information on tasks and prioritize those tasks, add durations to them and represent them on a Gantt Chart. Construction schedulers can have their schedule written out step by step on a document that you follow along on or they will represent it visually on a Gantt Chart as it is better to have it visualised as it’s easier to stick to and follow the deadlines when you can see the timeline in front of you. Furthermore, having it online means it’s easier to access by the relevant individuals within the construction project ensuring that people will stick to the schedule.
With a schedule visualised it also allows you to color code and easily visualise who is attached to what project. You can link tasks together that are related and may depend on each other. A Gantt Chart is a chart itself consisting of horizontal lines highlighting how much work has been completed or production completed with a set period of time contrasted with the amount of time planned for those periods of time.
Different construction phases such as ‘laying foundation’ for instance can be grouped with its individual members, which can allow for communication between different groups. There can also be cloud collaboration in a construction management scheduling software as it is generally an important tool. Communication and collaboration is still important in a construction scheduling software as when you are assigning members and sub-contractors to a schedule, all stakeholders need to have the relevant information and cloud file sharing and uploading can be a huge help in this.
A good construction software makes use of good project management functionality, estimate and financial/accounting tool functionality, job management, scheduling and planning and support functionalities and more. WunderBuild is a construction management software that aims to provide all of these functionalities and more to bring out the best outcomes for a project.
It is currently offering a free trial, visit here to try WunderBuild for free.