8 Construction Scheduling Techniques

How large or small be the project, the construction managers or engineers have to bring a proper system to schedule and track the project activities. This is achieved by having scheduling techniques for your project.

Scheduling techniques can help eliminate problems in production, make the operations run smoother, lets everyone the resources demanded and improve the productivity of the project. 

There are several scheduling techniques used in construction project, from basic Microsoft Excel templates to complicated network techniques like PERT, CPM etc.

This article is an attempt to let you know the most common and emerging types of project scheduling techniques that is been used in construction industry.

1. Microsoft Excel Templates for Project Scheduling

Microsoft excel is a simple and classic tool that can be used in construction projects to keep all the activities organized and the details of project together. They can be made in cloud that everyone can access the documents and provide their comments, pictures and all related updates.
Fig.1. Microsoft Excel Templates for Project Scheduling
Image Credits: Vertex42

After making a change in any mentioned activity, it is updated in the sheet and everyone who is shared to this document can view it. These simple spreadsheets keep everyone updated and everyone are able to communicate the changes to each other. 
This tool is used in small projects with less complexity.

2. Gantt Charts

Gantt charts are one of the simplest scheduling tool used in construction project. It helps to visualize the project tasks is simple way. Here, the project is divided into several activities that are represented using bars. The bar defines the start and end of an activity. The length of the bar represent the duration of the task. 

Fig.2. An example of gantt chart; Image credits: teamgantt

Gantt charts can be used to schedule and plan project of all sizes. These are visual tools that helps to identify whether the task are on track, or running behind or at risks. 

3. Critical Path Method (CPM)

CPM is a technique where the activities are visually represented and in the chart, the key activities that are critical to the completion of the project are identified. A critical activity is an activity that is delayed will affect the whole project delivery.

Fig.3. Critical Path Method

The method finds an optimal balance between the length of the project and the associated costs, by identifying where the cost of the activities are smaller compared to the optimal time.

4. Line of Balance Scheduling Technique (LOB)

Line of balance scheduling technique (LOB) is mainly developed for industrial manufacturing and production control. LOB diagram shows a series of incline lines that represent the rate of working between repetitive operations in a construction sequence. 

Fig.4. Line of balance scheduling technique (LOB)

Hence, LOB is also called as Repetitive Scheduling Method (RSM), Location Based Scheduling, Vertical Production Method or Vertical Scheduling Method.
LOB is the best method used for repetitive works like dwelling units or villas, highways, pipelines, railways, tunnels etc. 
LOB is a method that represent the repetitive work than may exist in project as a single line. Here, LOB chart represent the rate at which the work has to be done to keep all the works in schedule.

5. Q Scheduling Technique

Q- scheduling technique reveals the relation between the sequence of doing job and the cost incurred on them. It is a quantitative scheduling where the quantities that is executed at different locations of the construction project. This technique wont allow interference between the two activities at the same location. 

6. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

PERT is the Program Evaluation and Review Technique, which is a tool used to efficiently manage a particular project by the determination of the realistic time required to finish a particular project. The task in a project is represented by PERT charts that help to easily plan, schedule and coordinate the project team members who are involved in the work.

7. Resource Oriented Scheduling

Resource Oriented Scheduling works  around the resources of the project. The technique is  implemented in projects with minimal resources available. In these circumstances, it is much more likely for delays to occur because a lot of time is spent waiting for more resources.  Resource Oriented Scheduling can also be used in projects that require unique resources.

8. Last Planner System (LPS)

The Last Planner System (LPS) is a workflow method developed by the Lean Construction Institute to increase worker productivity and accountability through tight scheduling and detailed group planning.

It is a managerial approach on how to efficiently run a construction project. The technique follows the principle of the system is to ensure that each contractor and subcontractor on a construction site can manage their workload, while holding them responsible for the work they promised to complete.

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