Time is a precious limited resource. So, schedules are arguably the most important planning and tracking tool that a project manager uses.
Depending on the complexity of the job, multiple types of schedules should be created and updated through completion. This article highlights several schedules for owners/buyers to request and contractors/sellers to prepare.
With a few exceptions for very simple and quick projects, all projects need a construction schedule that goes from start to completion. These can range in sophistication from basic handwritten lists of essential tasks and deadlines to bar charts made in Excel or online PM tools and computerized critical path method (CPM) versions in Project or P6 for very complex programs. Schedules should be updated at least monthly until the job is done.
Additionally, there are ongoing challenges with supply chains. Therefore, if not built within the construction schedule, contractors should track all the steps of procurement of each important manufactured product such as light fixtures, mechanical equipment, electrical gear, roofing and carpet. Checkpoints include approval of submittals, placement of order, shipment from factory, arrival on site, installation, and delivery of record documents. Obtaining both manufacturer order numbers and transportation lading records will best help tracking. These should be updated and reported at least monthly.
Two-week look ahead
If a project will last months or years, it is also helpful for the foreman or superintendent to keep a 2-or 3-week look-ahead schedule dealing and reporting on with the daily labor and coordination points over that same period.
Lastly, for projects that require multiple tests or inspections for quality assurance, there should be tools prepared to coordinate and track approvals by respective inspectors including municipal, manufacturer, and engineers for each system at various stages, and an integrated commissioning of work to ensure that it will perform and look as expected. These would ideally be incorporated into the construction schedule or maintained as separate tools to be created early in the project and updated frequently as work approaches the inspection phase.
In summary, the more complicated and longer the project the more advanced the scheduling should be to best ensure on-time completion with minimal surprises. What schedules do you give or receive on your projects?
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