Beginner’s Guide to Residential Construction Project Scheduling

For people on the outside looking in, all construction work looks the same whether there’s a mega construction going on, or a house being built, it’s all construction to us.

But, in reality, they’re quite a big difference between commercial construction and residential construction. There is a difference in uses, codes and permits, materials, equipment needed as well as the work pace between both these types of construction.

Residential construction is defined as the business of building and selling individual and multifamily lodgings. It can be a single unit, manufactured – mobile homes and pre-built houses, duplex, quadplex or apartments and condominiums.

construction worker on construction site

But, whether it be residential or commercial construction or, one thing remains true- that they both need to be delivered at a certain time, and a delay in the project can be costly as well as lead to arbitrations, settlements, and even lawsuit.  In fact, statistics show that 80% of construction projects often run over budget. To prevent this, it is necessary that your company keep to a schedule and make sure that the right resources whether it be manpower or materials are allocated efficiently, and, if you are in residential construction, your company might benefit from using a contractor scheduling software.

How do you determine if your company needs a residential construction project scheduling software? Well, the best answer to this is that if you are building anything over the most elementary building project, your company would most probably benefit from using residential construction management and scheduling software.

SCHEDULING SOFTWARE: A BRIEF HISTORY

To be able to appreciate scheduling software packages that we have now available at our fingertips, and to be able to appreciate how it can help the industry, it’s best to go back and learn how it all started.

The discipline of scheduling as outlined by Critical Path analysis is now 60 years old in 2018 and it was first started in about 1950’s by Walker and Kelly when they first started developing the algorithms that eventually became known as the ADM ( Activity-on-Arrow) scheduling methodology for Du Pont. The program that they wrote and advanced was tested on plants that closed in 1957. And they published their first study on critical path scheduling in March 1959.

The PERT analysis system, on the other hand, was developed around the same time but was behind CPM by about a year. And just for trivia purposes, it is good to know that the term “critical path” was a term invented by the PERT team.  Later on, Dr. John Fondahl will invent the PDM (Precedence Methodology) and his paper that was published in 1961 described PDM as a manual, non-computer alternative to CPM.

To be able to understand how CPM scheduling evolved, we just have to look at how computers evolved because its growth is closely linked to how computers developed.  The first systems were massive mainframes and took a scheduler many months to learn. These systems finally moved to the ‘mini computers’ which were still huge by today’s standards in the 1970s and ’80s but still remained expensive. Scheduling supported by computer systems were only being afforded by big organizations and smaller companies had to make do with manual scheduling techniques.

The introduction of the microcomputer (personal computer) changed the scheduling landscape. The evolution of the PC based scheduling moved the way the project is controlled from an environment to only a handful of skilled Schedule operators can operate the machine and made sure that the scheduling was right to a place where anybody could learn how to operate a scheduling software package. And because of this, the quality of schedules suffered.

In the 21st century, the trends have gone back to the “Enterprise ” that are supported by PMO’s ( Project Management Offices) are offering the best of both worlds. From a technological perspective, all information is managed centrally, but at the same time, easily available on anyone’s desktop or mobile devices. And, from the skills perspective, PMO’s are redeveloping career paths for schedules and supporting the development of scheduling best practices within organizations.

CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE: DEFINITION AND ADVANTAGES 

A construction project management scheduling system, also known as scheduling software for residential construction is the term that describes a assortment of programs that people who work in construction use to allocate resources, organize and estimate work on projects in construction.

Scheduling programs are not new and have been around since the ’60s in one form or another back when scholars made use of algorithms and applications in the hopes of simplifying and refining the scheduling activity.

If you are still on the fence whether or not you need a house construction software, here are some ways that it can help you out:

OPTIMIZATION

Building a house is not an easy feat, and it requires you to juggle several things at once. A house construction scheduling software can help in more precise planning and allocation of resources. And by optimizing the pace of the work, it dramatically shortens completion times and can result in cost savings. And who doesn’t want that? This increase in efficiency can help contractors coordinate resources, manpower, as well as spot problems before they even happen. In addition to this, a scheduling software also helps the foreman from the field coordinate work on a daily basis. 

INCREASES COORDINATION

It any kind of construction project, information is generated on a regular basis, and this critical information needs to reach all the team members involved in the project. And this is the main reason why it is important to have a central place where all this information can be stored and accessed in a single place. Team members who are involved in the construction process as well as you, as the owner, should be able to access the project flow whenever the need arises. This ensures that everybody is on the same page when it comes to the project

BETTER COST ANALYSIS

It is a well-known fact and supported by research that about 80% of construction projects go over budget as well as suffer from poor planning, resource misallocation, and cost overruns.

A good scheduling software will be able to help managers make accurate cost estimates, as well as keep track of these estimates compared to the actual cost of the building materials once construction begins. Once this is established, managers will be able to understand where exactly the problem lies in the project, and this can lead to better cost allocation.

BETTER WASTE AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Nowadays, everybody is doing their part to reduce waste in whatever form, and building a residential house is not exempt. Being able to see and assign how resources are going to be used can go a long way to making sure that nothing goes to waste. This is possible because scheduling software packages usually use technology in real time to provide its users’ project overview and insights. And with this data, project managers are able to use this information to create data have driven and efficient decisions. Decisions are no longer made blind but are founded on real-time data. This makes monitoring resource allocation whether it be manpower or material resource a more efficient process. And more efficiency means less waste. A win-win situation for the builders and mother Earth.

CONCLUSION

Construction project scheduling can benefit everybody in the construction industry whether you are involved in residential or commercial construction. The good news is that there are all kinds of scheduling software permutation out there in the market that can be a good fit to your skill level- whether you are a beginner or an expert as well as to your budget. So, at this point, there is no excuse for you not to give it a try. After all, really, literally, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain from using a construction scheduling software.

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