Construction projects can be massive undertakings when it comes to expenses, time and working hours. Construction projects have many moving parts, as well as uncontrollable variables such as the weather, state inspections and unexpected delays. Considering these potential delays and schedule accordingly, while still sticking with the deadlines you’ve been assigned, is no easy task.

Construction Schedule Basics

How do you build a construction schedule that is reasonable, can be done on a deadline and still takes all variables and moving parts into account? Through estimation, following best practice and a little bit of luck, you can create a realistic plan. Preparing your schedule is essential to keeping both your clients and your crew happy. Commercial construction scheduling software and commercial construction scheduling templates may also be helpful in preparing your project plan.

Sample Commercial Construction Schedule Creation

When beginning your commercial construction schedule, you need to gather all of the project information in one place. You should have all inspection data, permits, blueprints and budget information before you begin. In some instances, you may not yet have access to some of this data. It’s always a good idea to leave some extra space in your schedule to account for missing information.

There is a saying in many industries that indicates you can only have two of the following: quick, inexpensive or high-quality work. Obviously, it’s possible to get work done quickly or at a low cost, but it may not be what your client is hoping for. Great quality often takes a great deal of money or time. This is very true for the construction industry, in which a combination of properly planned elements can yield the best of all three categories.

Equipment Planning and Scheduling

One of the most important aspects of any construction job is your equipment. Having good quality equipment is essential. If you are borrowing these pieces, an expedited rental could get your construction job finished sooner.

In addition, renting top-of-the-line equipment can get your job done to a higher standard more quickly than equipment that is of lower quality or that often breaks down. The length of time you will need to rent equipment should also be factored into your costs. If you aren't sure what kind of equipment the job will need, a consultant could be called in to assist you, though that will impact your budget.

Planning for Materials

Some materials may be easily acquired in one area, but hard to come by in another. This means that sourcing specific materials could end up costing more money and taking time away from your project.

Do the materials you’re considering need specialized installers that you will have to hire? Some materials also require specialized equipment, which you will need to factor into your equipment cost and scheduling calculations.

Crew Work Hours

You will have to pay your crew for the work that they do. Construction crews can only work a certain number of hours a week legally, and you will also have to consider your budget when scheduling them. If any of the equipment you use requires special certifications, or if any of the materials need to be handled by an expert, you will need to pay those individuals a premium, too.

Concluding a Construction Schedule

After carefully considering your project, you should have compiled estimates on the following information:

  • Cost of Needed Equipment.
  • Cost of Needed Materials.
  • Cost in Work Hours.

Compare the budget you were given with all of these numbers added together. In a perfect world, you will have plenty of room in the budget for taking your time in scheduling and renting equipment.

Then, work with your project lead to come up with specific schedules. When you are doing the actual work of schedule-building, the most important thing to remember is that you must give yourself extra time, particularly between project phases. This space will allow for unexpected delays, as well as unavoidable but predictable delays due to weather, employee illness or permitting.