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.

Construction 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 a 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 the 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 the project together. They can be made in the cloud so that everyone can access the documents and provide their comments, pictures, and all related updates.

Microsoft Excel Templates for Project Scheduling
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 can 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 tools used in a construction project. It helps to visualize the project tasks simply. 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 represents the duration of the task. 

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

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

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 and will affect the whole project delivery.

Critical Path Method
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 is smaller compared to the optimal time.

4. Line of Balance Scheduling Technique (LOB)

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

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

Hence, LOB is also called a 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 represents the repetitive work that may exist in the project as a single line. Here, the LOB chart represents the rate at which the work has to be done to keep all the work on schedule.

5. Q Scheduling Technique

Q- scheduling technique reveals the relation between the sequence of doing the job and the cost incurred on them. It is quantitative scheduling where the quantities are executed at different locations of the construction project. This technique won't 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 to how to efficiently run a construction project. The technique follows the principle of the system 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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