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Your Comprehensive Guide to Creating and Using a Construction Schedule

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Any large project needs a plan and schedule to be successful and efficient — and construction projects are no different.

Because construction projects have many moving parts like . . .

  • Materials
  • Personnel
  • Budget
  • Client goals
  • Payments
  • Equipment

. . . flying by the seat of your pants isn’t an option.

A solid construction schedule can help you manage all the moving parts smoothly and without anxiety or stress.

Creating and maintaining a construction schedule takes time. But this time invested at the beginning goes a long way in avoiding delays and problems.

Keep reading to learn what a construction schedule is and why it’s crucial to the success of your projects.

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Flexbase: Efficiently Manage Your Construction Schedule With a Holistic Cash Flow Management and Software Integration Solution

Flexbase is an all-inclusive resource for the administrative, billing, and cash flow processes in your construction business.

Take advantage of Flexbase services to:

  • Manage cash flow

  • Generate compliance paperwork like:

    • Lien waivers
    • Insurance documents
    • Schedule of values
    • Notarizations
  • Send invoices and reminders

  • Integrate with construction scheduling software programs; and

  • Much more.

Flexbase integrates everything including . . .

  • Project management software
  • Accounting software
  • Construction ERP software

. . . so you only need to enter data once.

There are no licenses and subscriptions, and you only pay when you receive money. Our low fees start at 0.5% per payout received which means lower fees for higher payment volume.

Let us show you how Flexbase can help make all the pieces of your construction business run more smoothly and efficiently.

Construction Schedule Definition

A construction schedule is pretty straightforward — it’s the planned schedule of what work will get done and when.

In short, it is a plan that is very detailed and outlines all phases of a project including the:

  • Tasks
  • Resources; and
  • Time schedule for construction.

A construction schedule should include enough information to answer the following questions:

  • When will each part of the project start?
  • When will each phase of the job be completed?
  • What resources will be necessary?

What Is the Purpose of a Construction Schedule?

A well-thought-out and organized construction schedule will help make the best use of resources as well as protect deadlines and budget constraints. A detailed construction schedule is a win-win for everyone.

An effective construction schedule:

  • Guarantees maximum use of resources. Thorough scheduling means that the supplies are available when work needs to be done and that the proper worker is ready and available to do the work.
  • Reduces the chance of downtime thus making the most of available labor and resources. Downtime wastes precious resources and money. Though the cost of downtime varies due to the type of interruption, according to this survey, the cost of one unit being down for eight hours can cost the company as much as $2,800.
  • Assists in accurate cost estimation and spending. Overspending can be the unfortunate result of inaccurate price estimates. Having a careful and detailed schedule can help catch faulty estimates and correct them — before it’s too late. Good estimates also help contractors make wise and informed financial decisions on the front end.

Construction Schedule Types

Because there are so many moving parts with a construction project, it makes sense to have different types of schedules to meet the needs of each of the different parties involved in a job.

Construction schedules can be organized by categories according to:

  1. The type of construction project
  2. The kinds of tasks to be completed
  3. The details involved in the timeline

Regardless of how a construction schedule is categorized, common types of construction schedules include a:

  • Schedule of values
  • Schedule of labor
  • Schedule of payments
  • Schedule of draws
  • Schedule of submittals

Flexbase has the software and expertise to assist you with all types of construction schedules. Click here to get started.

5 Benefits of a Construction Schedule

A construction schedule benefits all parties involved in any project regardless of the size.

Getting the work done on time and within budget are two of the greatest rewards of a construction schedule — but there are more.

#1: Improved Quality Control

Everyone wants a quality product and a pleased client at the end of a construction project. A thoughtful and executed construction schedule can go a long way in guaranteeing both of those when the necessary supplies are available at the right time.

#2: Increased Stability of the Project

Though some unforeseen surprises are inevitable at times, a well-planned schedule helps mitigate some of those unexpected issues and provide greater management over the end result.

#3: Greater Resource Planning

Small-scale and large-scale construction projects alike require a vast array of resources, labor, and materials.

Planning for each phase of the plan ahead of time guarantees that:

  • The materials are there when you need them.
  • The subcontractors are scheduled at the right time.
  • The project is completed according to the timeline.

#4: Safety

Safety is of utmost concern with any type of construction project, and a schedule can help you know what safety equipment you’ll need so you can have it on hand when you need it.

#5: Better Activity Planning

Timing of activities on a construction project is critical to efficiency and meeting deadlines.

Having a schedule of labor helps everyone working on the project be able to sync their tasks and work together.

This type of schedule benefits:

  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Architects
  • Workers
  • Materials suppliers

4 Formatting Options for Construction Schedules

Construction schedules can be formatted in a variety of ways. The type of project and project priorities may determine which format you choose, but they are all designed to facilitate the process of scheduling.

#1: CPM — Critical Path Method

In construction, some activities can be delayed easier than others.

The critical path method (CPM) uses information like time scale and the order of the work to be done to identify which tasks cannot be delayed.

Tasks labeled as critical path tasks help contractors know how to make adjustments when delays occur.

#1: CPM — Critical Path Method

In construction, some activities can be delayed easier than others.

The critical path method (CPM) uses information like time scale and the order of the work to be done to identify which tasks cannot be delayed.

Tasks labeled as critical path tasks help contractors know how to make adjustments when delays occur.

#2: Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart is a graph where each bar is a task to be completed. Each individual task is placed on the graph according to the time the task needs to be done. The length of each bar corresponds to the expected duration of the activity.

The Gantt chart is the most common format used in construction schedules and Gantt charts can be linked to show how tasks are related to one another.

#3: LOB — Line of Balance

Line of balance (LOB) formatting is ideal for projects involving teams that are doing repetitive jobs. If several teams need the same equipment, LOB formatting can help guarantee the efficient use of both the equipment and the crew.

#4: Q Scheduling

Q scheduling combines the Gantt chart and the line of balance formats to consider the order of individual activities and the materials and equipment needed for each one.

Construction Schedule FAQs

The following frequently asked questions may be informative if you have questions about:

  • Creating construction schedules
  • Managing construction schedules; and
  • Choosing the right scheduling software.

How Do I Create a Construction Schedule?

Creating a construction schedule involves getting an overall picture of the project, which includes consideration of the objectives, risks, constraints, scope, budget, priorities, timeline, resources, and materials.

Once tasks have been prioritized, timelines set, and funding considered, the following steps can be used to create a construction schedule:

  1. Outline and record the client’s wishes, most pressing concerns, and major objectives.
  2. Determine possible hindrances and risks. Examples of hindrances include budget and local codes while risks to consider may include weather, availability of materials and labor, and inadequate funds.
  3. Set the boundaries of the scope of the project based on information gathered in steps 1 and 2 to determine what’s included in the project and what’s not.
  4. Submit a proposal to the client.
  5. Set tentative start and end dates and milestones to mark the end of each phase of the project.
  6. Breakdown the project into smaller tasks and order them according to priority.
  7. Create a timeline using one of the formatting options discussed above like the Gantt chart.
  8. Allocate labor, resources, and funding and execute the plan.

How Do You Manage a Construction Schedule?

Follow the steps below to successfully manage a construction schedule:

  1. Make contingency plans regarding any possible obstacles you can foresee.
  2. Review the schedule regularly to assess progress and adapt when appropriate.
  3. Monitor the progress of the timeline and make adjustments when necessary.
  4. Communicate clearly and often with other members of the construction team and collaborate as the project proceeds.
  5. Monitor progress and update the schedule as work progresses.

Is Construction Scheduling Software Necessary?

Construction scheduling software is not always a necessity, especially on smaller and simpler projects. If the size and the scope of the project are relatively small, you may be able to use a simple tool like Microsoft Excel.

But for projects with a larger scope, construction scheduling software would be valuable and beneficial.

The benefits of using software particularly designed for construction scheduling are varied:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Financial savings
  • A clear view of the overall project

Choosing the right software will depend on functionality and how complex you need the software to be.

Where Can I Find a Construction Schedule Template?

Construction templates are numerous and many can be found online.

Some popular templates include:

  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Primavera P6
  • Google Sheets

Never Miss a Deadline in Your Construction Schedule With Flexbase’s Integration Capabilities

If you have tried to schedule your construction projects on your own and found the task to be more than challenging, Flexbase can make the task of scheduling easy, stress-free, efficient, and productive.

Flexbase can help keep your construction project on target because we have the integration capabilities necessary to create a construction schedule that perfectly fits your needs no matter the size or scope of your project.

We offer so much more than construction scheduling assistance. Flexbase is your one-stop-shop for all of your construction-related administrative tasks.

Construction administration and scheduling don’t have to be difficult and complicated.

Flexbase’s automated systems do the hard work for you so you can focus your energy on building your construction business.

Click here to schedule your demo.