Keeping your construction job or project on track is an important aspect of your job as a project manager, contractor, or business owner. Beyond just completing a job on time, there are so many other aspects to keep track of like resources, budget, personnel, and more. There are so many steps and phases along the way, that it can be easy to let something fall through the cracks which, in the construction world, could be detrimental to the overall flow of the job. Odds are, your company has moved beyond the tools and building techniques used 30 years ago because those pieces of machinery and concepts are outdated. The same goes for you scheduling techniques. It is your job to use the most effective way to keep track of your construction project and all of the things that come along with it.
One of the simplest methods of scheduling your construction project is using either Excel or Google Sheets. Excel offers you a lot of access now that it has finally connected to the cloud, and it also offers you a wide range of basic templates that you can choose from for your project. Because it has been around for a long time, excel offers a certain advantage because most people have at least had some minimal experience with it, and it is very user friendly to read. While the built in data system makes it easy to use, you must keep in mind that Excel is a general office program and is not created specifically for the construction industry. Depending on the complexity of the construction job, Excel might be just what you need, but it is possible that it is missing certain features that could come in handy for your sequence of jobs.
Gantt charts take Excel to the next level in terms of complexity. While maintaining easy access in terms of readability, it accounts for the details involved in your construction project. Designed specifically for project management, it allows you to layout every step that your job entails with timelines that are specified to that part. This is a great way of keeping everyone on track as it allows you to see the job holistically while still giving you a step by step system that is easy to follow.
Critical Path Method
Critical Path Scheduling is a very popular tool with bigger construction companies that take on bigger, more complex projects. This program incorporates all the details that its predecessors do, but it has a key feature that widely benefits most companies. The Critical Path Method of scheduling lays out which tasks are dependent on the completion of other tasks…issues that often halt construction projects. Each “path” is a detailed sequence of tasks that have to be completed in a specific order before that part of the project is completed. You are offered timelines, dates, and gaps to account for any potential delays that might occur.
Whatever method you choose for your project, the most important aspects are accessibility and consistency. Be sure that everyone who has access to the chart or schedule knows exactly how to read it and what is expected of them. Accountability is the hallmark of good management, and any of these methods can help make that possible for you.