The rise in construction technology has helped fuel the growth of the EPC industry. With the availability of innovative solutions, there have been significant improvements in the efficiency, productivity, and safety of large-scale construction projects. As per the statistics, the global construction market is expected to reach the mark of $8 trillion by 2030.
If you are a construction industry professional, it is important for you to adopt the innovative advancements happening through technology. Construction planning and scheduling is one aspect that has witnessed the impact of evolving construction technology. Greater adoption of construction planning and management tools has helped save time and money.
Through this blog post, we will help dig deeper into the fundamentals of construction project planning to understand how technology has led to a paradigm shift.
Overview of Construction Planning and Scheduling
While managing construction projects, professionals often run into problems that can cost both money and clients. However, this can be avoided with effective construction planning and scheduling.
What is Construction Planning and Scheduling? – Definition
It basically refers to the process followed by construction businesses to map out the proceeds, resources, key activities, and workforce to be deployed for construction projects. This process sets the groundwork for any project as it overviews the selection of relevant processes, policies, and procedures to finish it on time.
Construction planning holds significant importance because of three fundamental benefits:
- It can help prevent delays
- It helps in minimizing budget overruns
- It includes identification of hidden risk factors related to the project
A construction project plan, in its entirety, encompasses the scope of the project, resource management, asset management, and scheduling of milestones to execute the project to fruition successfully.
Construction scheduling, to be more precise, is a subset of construction planning. Drafting a construction project schedule involves creating a project-specific construction workflow and determining which activities will be covered and when. By following the right construction schedule template, you can:
- Seta realistic date to reach intermediate milestones
- Properly allocate resources
- Define activities along with resources and assets for them
Five-Step Breakup for Construction Planning and Scheduling
Follow the simplified step-wise process to plan and schedule completion of any construction project:
- Create a project initiation document that covers the need for workers, subcontractors, materials required, and budget
- Identify key stakeholders and assign them their specific roles and responsibilities
- Create a construction project timeline to include key events and milestones
- Assess potential risks and create a strategy to address them beforehand
- Use advanced construction management software to get daily reports and keep a check on the key data points
Evolution of Construction Planning and Scheduling
The origin of the construction plan and schedule stands in the 19th century with the development of Harmonygraph in 1896. Then there were Gantt charts of the early 20th century that are a graphical representation of the allocation of tasks. During the 1950s, the Critical Path Method or CPM and PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) became popular before the arrival of powerful project scheduling systems based on microcomputers in the 1970s.
The evolution of construction planning and scheduling has now reached the form of advanced construction management software backed by the power of the cloud.
How are Planning and Scheduling Linked to Other Construction Processes?
Planning and scheduling are often considered distinct aspects but they are inseparable parts of construction management. The objective of planning is primarily related to selecting the suitable procedures and policies to complete the project. Scheduling converts the project plan into actionable parts in the form of an operating timetable.
When taken together with the budget and project plan, a construction project schedule helps manage the project in its entirety. Besides this, the cost-time project schedule also serves as a point of reference to monitor and control project activity during its lifecycle.
Challenges related to Construction Planning and Scheduling
Given below are a few typical challenges faced by construction businesses while planning and scheduling various project-related tasks:
1. Lack of a clear communication channel
Clear communication is crucial when the work is to be delegated amongst various stakeholders. Without an efficient communication channel, you might find important tasks slipping through the cracks until it is too late to rectify them. As a solution, there should be a clear communication tool in place through which teams can stay connected about the progress or obstacle if any.
2. Inadequate risk management
Construction projects often fail to go as planned. Not having the foresight to assess and identify the potential risks could derail a project. This is the reason why making a contingency plan becomes of utmost importance. You can also use project risk management software to identify and mitigate different types of related risks.
3. Lack of project goals and timelines
A construction project can easily fail in terms of resources or budgets if there are no clear goals defined for the process. Having a clear target in terms of deliverables also helps in keeping individuals accountable for their part in the overall project. Hence, a construction project schedule must have proper goals and milestones defined in it.
4. Unrealistic forecasting
Construction businesses often come across projects in which the clients ask for an accelerated construction project timeline or have a limited budget. Accommodating such specifications is not always possible, which is why it is important to communicate the possibilities with the clients clearly.
How can Technology Help Transform Construction Planning and Scheduling Processes?
One of the primary responsibilities of a construction professional is to ensure timely delivery and completion of the construction project schedules at hand. This requires them to have good control over the team members handling various back-office and on-site activities.
With the right selection of construction planning software, you can better collaborate with your team and connect the worksite to the office.
Another critical role of a professional handling diverse construction project plans is to communicate the tasks and needs effectively to the stakeholders involved. For a project to get completed successfully on time, the project managers must have access to technologies that can help maintain communication.
Task Planning and Scheduling
Many construction project managers also get the responsibility to assign and schedule tasks to the right team members based on their skill sets. In the modern, tech-oriented landscape, defining a construction schedule template and delegating tasks on paper seems archaic. This is where the right selection of construction technology plays a vital role.
Professionals working in the EPC industry also need to rely on construction technology to identify potential risks involved with their projects. They also need to implement ways to mitigate or steer clear of the impending dangers.
The right construction software can even help you in this regard. Take the case of compliance with regulatory requirements related to construction projects. Failing to abide by the compliance rules can impact the construction project timelines.
Embrace the Future of Construction Technology with CEM Business Solutions
CEM Business Solutions, a certified Microsoft Dynamic 365 partner has successfully implemented custom digital solutions for the construction industry covering end-to-end processes used in EPC vertical. Some of the solutions provided by CEM Business Solution are
- Automation of On-site & Off-Site processes
- HR & Payroll Software
- Daily Log & Attendance software
- Construction Management Software ERP
Wish to grow your construction business with new-age technology – Talk to CEM Business Solution