The Project Schedule

Having a maintained project schedule is essential to the success or failure of your construction budget. It not only makes clear when work is to be completed, but also who is the responsible party. It also shows the relationship between the different project tasks.

The phrase time equals money can certainly be applied to construction projects of any size. Residential construction schedules usually contain the same types of information as commercial ones. It is usually the most common cause for projects going over budget.

Once you have decided on a contractor, you should agree as to who will maintain the construction schedule and how often.

A schedule should be written in a format that is easy to read and modify. There are many helpful software products available, but a project schedule template can easily be created with a simple spreadsheet.

It should be broken down by categories and then by tasks. The premise for the schedule is simple. At a minimum, it should include the following.

  • What is the task?
  • When will it start?
  • When will it end?
  • Who will do it?

The Who, When and What?

Knowing which tasks should come first and how long they will take is the trickiest part. The person creating the schedule should have comprehensive construction background so that the tasks flow seamlessly from one to another.

How often a schedule is updated really depends on the size and complexity of the project. It should be agreed upon during the contract phase as to who will do it and how often.

Generally a contractor will have a project manager or project foreman perform the duties of updating the schedule since they will be the most intimate with the day to day details. For small to mid-range projects, monthly will generally be ok provided that there are no major changes. On larger projects, weekly or bi-weekly may be necessary.

Regardless of how often the planned update is; if a major change takes place the construction schedule must immediately be updated to reflect this.

The categories should include the following:

  • Project Design and Permits
  • Material Selection
  • Subcontractor Selection
  • Material Procurement
  • Construction Phases
  • Inspections
  • Project Completion
  • Punch List
  • Test & Balance
  • Turnover & Occupancy

Success or Failure?

The failures of many projects can be mainly attributed to the lack of schedule monitoring or miss-calculated time frames. If a task takes longer than anticipated, other tasks have to be adjusted because of it usually causing delays.

Communication between all parties is imperative in keeping the project on schedule. Meetings involving all the parties should be scheduled for a pre-arranged day and time for the duration of the project.

Along with everyone at the meeting, a copy of the written project schedule should be distributed to all subcontractors. This will allow them time to procure all materials required in a timely manner to complete their tasks and to schedule their manpower accordingly.

If a schedule is developed with care and continuously maintained, the chances of a successful remodel will increase immeasurably.

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