Construction management is a broad term that deals with various key steps in a construction project. Scheduling, for instance, is a management tool that helps leaders make informed decisions about different activities on a site. We often use terms planning and scheduling interchangeably. However, there is a considerable difference between these two components.
Planning is a general term that refers to a roadmap, a clear path that should be followed in order to complete a project successfully. In construction management, planning is about breaking down a project into definable, identifiable, and measurable activities. The next step is to establish the logical interdependencies among these activities. The planning stage usually deals with the following three questions:
- What is going to be done?
- How are things going to be done?
- Who will be completing various activities?
- What will be the expected cost?
Construction projects involve many technical factors that should be given due attention. Only specialized project managers can carry out a project efficiently. A construction task may involve a number of stakeholders with varying priorities and interests. For instance, plans can exist at different levels: short-term construction plans, long-term construction plans, pre-tender plans, corporate strategic plans, etc. All these plans deal with the following four major steps:
- Dividing the work into various activities
- Defining the sequence by which all the activities should be carried out
- Activities representation
- Making rational estimates of resources, time, cost, etc.
Every project is different in nature. It is possible that a single person can handle a simple project which only involves few defined activities. However, most of the construction projects are complicated; managers have to define and organize thousands of activities. The more complex a project, the greater the number of activities. Sometimes it becomes humanly impossible to handle thousands of activities without software capabilities.
When a project manager has to deal with numerous activities, it is recommended to develop a communication platform where all the stakeholders can easily access information and develop an understanding throughout the various construction stages. Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a common example of how a large plan can be effectively organized.
How do we carry out scheduling in a construction project? There are many techniques and methods to conduct scheduling. Some of them are task matrix, network diagram, and line-of-balance scheduling. Matrix scheduling is a simple way of handling small projects. Other techniques are designed to handle complex tasks and activities.
It is recommended to have a reputable third-party project management service on board in order to complete complex projects with great efficiency.