Creating a plan for a whole project along with the timeline or schedule would involve making a construction schedule or a construction schedule template. Simply put, it is a document which shows the chronological sequence of the activities which would be done throughout the whole building process. Some activities might have to come one after the other while other activities may be done simultaneously, and all the directions for these will be placed on the construction schedule. Not only that, the schedule should also contain information regarding the amount of time needed for each of the activities.
Table of Contents
- 1 Construction Schedule Templates
- 2 Importance of Having a Construction Schedule
- 3 Construction Draw Schedule
- 4 Techniques for Making Construction Schedules
- 5 Things to Do Before Making a Construction Schedule
- 6 Residential Construction Schedule
- 7 Making a Construction Schedule with Excel
Making an excel construction schedule template is quite simple as long as you know all the information you would need to write about. It’s basically a day to day plan of activities which would guide the construction team on how to go about the whole project.
It’s a list of all the milestones, activities and deliverables of a said project along with the date it is to start and the projected date which it’s supposed to end. It may also contain other useful information such as the allocation of resources and estimated budget, the duration of each of the activities and any or all linked dependencies or scheduled events.
There is no one format for making this kind of schedule and it may vary from industry to industry.
The important thing is that it should contain all the information about the project’s schedule or timeline. Actually this kind of schedule isn’t limited to industrial applications. You can make such a schedule (though modified a bit) to organize the details of your life or to organize an event which you are planning. Some examples of using such a schedule include, but are not limited to:
- A renovation project for a homeowner
- A schedule or timeline to monitor all family activities during a specified period of time.
- A timeline for activities in a certain event such as a wedding or a holiday trip.
All you would need to do is make a schedule in the software of your choice following the basic flow of this kind of schedule. This article is all about making such a schedule as well as the importance of it and other important information which can help you out.
Construction Schedule Templates
Importance of Having a Construction Schedule
Making a construction schedule template for your project might not seem like much but it would be quite essential to help organize your project and all the construction activities involved in it. Here are the important reasons of having such a schedule:
- It would give you an idea of the time the client has given you to finish the project and if it can be achieved. If you think you won’t be able to meet the deadline of the project, you would have to submit or propose a different schedule to your client then come to an agreement.
- Knowing the schedule of your project would allow you to somehow estimate the initial costs namely the management and supervision costs as well as the running costs.
- You’d be able to make early calculations which would also allow you to see if any adjustments need to be made. You can give your client the estimated budget along with your schedule so your client will have a better idea of the project and would most likely approve of your proposal or bid.
- The schedule could also be used to inform your client of any responsibilities they would have to fulfill like if they would need to give you any information or access throughout the whole course of the project.
- It can also be used to predict the cash flow of the contractor. A lot of contractors end up having a hard time completing a project because the cash flow is not enough, whether it’s because the project has lost money, the activities involved in the construction are financially draining or the payment conditions are not favorable.
- A well-made schedule can be used as a way to open communication between you and your contractor. Having such a document would mean that you are both on the same page and you’ve agreed on all the contents of the document.
You can talk about your expectations and whether they are reasonable and you would be able to see immediately in your project has run into any delays or is falling behind the set schedule. You’d be able to start a discussion with your contractor when there are any delays to ask why it is so and what is to be done to rectify the situation.
- You can also make use of the schedule to monitor your budget. As you will be able to see all the aspects of your project and how it is progressing, you would have a good idea when payments will be expected whether it’s for supplies or for hiring subcontractors. Making your payments on time will allow the project to flow smoothly and will reduce the occurrence of delays.
- You’d be able to know when exactly you should start calling and booking your subcontractors. If the need arises, you’d be able to use the schedule to book subcontractors in advance so that they will be available when you need them. Also if you plan to do some of the work in your project yourself (especially if you’re quite the handyman or you have skills), you’d be able to know in advance when you should be taking time off from your day job to work on your project.
- When starting a construction project, you would also have to think about all the permits you’d have to apply for as well as any scheduling inspections. When you’re having a home built, the schedule would allow you to start submitting your applications earlier so you don’t run into any trouble with municipal or government agencies. You can also schedule inspections as soon as the installations are done so your project doesn’t have to come to a stop just because the inspection is scheduled on a later date.
- When you have a whole schedule planned, you’d be able to plan the rest of your life around it. Of course building a home or starting an equally time consuming project may take up a lot of your personal time and involvement. You’d be able to take the appropriate steps you’d have to take throughout the course of the construction or the project.
As you can see, having this kind of schedule is very useful and it would be good for you to start making your own if you’re planning to start a construction project. There are different techniques for making this kind of schedule, which we will discuss next.
Construction Draw Schedule
Techniques for Making Construction Schedules
It’s important to make an excel construction schedule template for your project so that you are aware of its progress and you’d be able to plan accordingly. There are different techniques in making such a schedule, which we will be discussing now:
Making Use of Bar Charts
This is the simplest way of making such a schedule and is more commonly easier to understand. Since it’s easy to make and it actually has a lot of applications to different kinds of projects and different kinds of events, the use of bar charts is quite popular. In forming this kind of schedule, you would need a list of all the activities, the start dates, duration and the proposed completion date of each of the activities. All these would then be plotted on a timescale for your project. The level of details in your bar chart would depend on how simple or how complex your project is and what you will use the schedule for.
Another kind of bar chart is referred to as a linked bar chart. This kind uses lines and arrows to link the activities with the following items, which means that the successors and predecessors of each activity is specified. Previous activities are linked with each other to show that a certain activity must be finished first before another can start.These bar charts are very useful especially in estimating the resources needed for a certain project. When resources are aggregated, it means that resources are vertically added into your schedule. The reason behind this aggregation is for you to be able to estimate the work, man-power and equipment needed for tasks and activities.
The Critical Path Method
This is a more detailed and complex technique of making a schedule. Starting with a huge list of activities, each activity would then be connected to previous and following activities, indicating that each activity has at least one more which should first be completed before moving on to the next one.
This technique identifies and actually assigns start and completion dates based on a particular logic or key indicators which are used in determining how activities should be sequenced. Certain steps should be followed in making a schedule using this technique:
- Making a list of all the activities.
- Coming up with a whole network which shows the logical relationship between and among all the activities.
- Making an assessment regarding the duration of each of the activities.
- Coming up with a schedule and establishing the start and completion times of each of the activities.
- Making assessments regarding the resources required for the project.
Line of Balance Technique
This particular technique is a planning method for work which is repetitive. The most important procedure for this technique is to assign all the resources which are needed for each activity, operation or step. This is done so that the next activities are not delayed and results can be obtained on time.
The principles used in this technique are taken from the planning and control in processes of manufacturing or processes which are typically used in construction work, specifically in construction of roads. This technique is very powerful and quite easy to employ as long as the conditions are right for this kind of work.
This is a quantitative technique of scheduling. It means that quantities which need to be executed in varied locations of the project would develop the elements of your schedule. In using this technique, no two activities should be done in one location at the same time. It has been derived from the Line of Balance Technique wherein changes have been made to permit models which are non-repetitive and are generally characteristic of almost all kinds of construction projects.
This is a relatively new technique which is gaining momentum, especially among contractors and contracting firms. Unlike the other techniques, this one shows the connection between the sequence of performing activities and the costs to be sustained.
Consider these different techniques when planning to make your schedule and try to determine which one would be most ideal for your own project. Now before you actually make a schedule, you’d have to do a few important things first, which we will be discussing next.
Things to Do Before Making a Construction Schedule
To be able to make an effective construction schedule template, you’d have to do a few things first. Doing these would allow you to have all the information you need to complete your schedule as you would comprehend the whole project more.
Understand the Whole Project
This would be the very first thing you must do before attempting to make a schedule. If you don’t actually have a full understanding of your project, you won’t know what activities would be needed to complete it, so basically you would be lost. Learn everything you can about the project until you’ve reached a good grasp or a good understanding of it.
Recognize All the Constraints that Come with the Project
Once you’ve understood your project, try to think about all the possible constraints which would come with it and list them down. These could include, but won’t be limited to the weather conditions, local laws, holidays and any other possible issues or concerns.
Make a List of the Activities Needed to Complete Your Project
Now that you understand your project better and made a list of the constraints which might impact it, it’s time to breakdown your project into activities which would have to be completed to work towards the completion of your whole project. Once you’ve listed the activities, make sure to make a detailed description of all of them so you’d just have to input all the information on your spreadsheet when making your schedule. If you have a big project, you can break it down into subprojects with their own activities.
Create a Sequence of the Activities
Now it’s time to consider how your activities will be sequenced throughout the whole project. If you want, you can also include possible start and completion dates to make the actual scheduling easier for you.
Decide What Unit of Time You Will Be Using
The unit of time would depend on the actual length of time needed to complete your project. You can then decide on using hours, days, weeks, months or years to measure your time units.
Determine the Duration of Your Activities
Once you’ve decided on the unit of time, it’s time to determine how long each activity would actually take. You’d have to have enough knowledge about how things work to be able to establish this part well.
Know What is Expected on the Completion Date
Before you start talking to sponsors and stakeholders, you have to know what is to be expected upon the completion of the project so that when you present it, you’d be credible and you’d be able to answer any or all of their questions.
Determine the Project Milestones
All kinds of projects would have their own milestones, which you’d have to determine early on. This is so that you can include them in the schedule and assign dates to them too.
Create a Gantt Chart
This is the result of a critical path analysis. Make sure you create this chart correctly. You may have to do other research to be able to create this effectively.
Keep Accountability in Mind
As you are preparing and scheduling, keep in mind that you (and possibly your client) are accountable for all the documents you come up with so make sure that they’re correct and easy to understand.
Once you’ve done all these, you may already be prepared enough to start making your schedule. The next section talks about how to actually make a good schedule using Microsoft Excel. As you will see, it’s quite easy to make a schedule once you’ve prepared yourself and you’ve gathered all the information you need to complete it.
Residential Construction Schedule
Making a Construction Schedule with Excel
As previously stated, making an excel construction schedule template is easy as long as you have all the information you need to complete it. Now that you’ve read a few sections about construction schedule templates, let’s learn how to actually make one using Microsoft Excel. Here are some useful steps and tips for you:
- Open your Excel software and immediately save your file. Doing this would ensure that all the work you’d be doing won’t be lost if your laptop suddenly runs out of battery or there is a power interruption.
- First of all, you’d have to establish all the biggest subprojects within your construction project. For instance, when you are planning to build a home, the biggest subprojects would the excavation and laying of the foundation, framing the actual structure of the house, installation of electricity and plumbing as well as all the finishing work.
- Make an outline of all your biggest subprojects, entering all of them in the first column of your Excel spreadsheet. The next column should contain all the start dates of your major subprojects and the column after that would contain the estimated completion date. The completion date would most likely be more flexible as you may run into delays throughout the project.
- To be able to create a breakdown structure of the work involved in all your subprojects, you’d have to insert new rows under each of the subprojects then define all the tasks involved in them in full detail.
- Aside from writing down the tasks in each subproject, you’d also have to include start and completion dates for each of the tasks.
- Establish all the minor tasks involved in all the tasks so that your document will contain all the necessary details. It may be more challenging to add dates to smaller tasks as they might require just hours to complete rather than days. It would be your choice what kind of format you will be using for this section.
- The next (fourth) column should indicate the estimated and proposed budget for each of the tasks, whether big or small.
- The column after that should identify all the people who are to be involved in each of the main tasks. Each task should come with a person or team to complete it.
- The last column would be used to indicate the status of each of the tasks. This is possibly the most important of all the columns as it would show how much of the work is done and how much is still pending.