According to a report, most construction projects are at least 12 months behind schedule. The main reason construction projects are not completed on time is that they operate on an erroneous construction schedule.
Construction schedules are essentially timetables detailing when and how construction companies will implement a project. Predictably, things become complicated when working on a project that involves thousands of workers and millions of dollars. This is because it has too many moving parts that can only be efficiently tracked with modern techniques.
ALICE is an example of an intelligent construction sequencing platform that allows you to model scenarios through optioneering. You can prevent broken logic and infeasible schedules to de-risk your project.
Types of traditional construction scheduling techniques
Project managers have traditionally used Excel to create construction schedules. It’s easy to use and follow. The problem with Excel is that it lacks the functionalities of modern scheduling platforms. For example, it cannot create multiple construction simulations, nor can it track construction activities in real time. Additionally, sharing documents is not as easy.
A Gantt chart
The Gantt chart was introduced more than 100 years ago. It ranks activities in chronological order and assigns them a start and finish date. A Gant chart is perfect for dealing with small construction projects. However, when used to schedule activities for mega projects, it quickly caves in under pressure, as it becomes confusing and complex to follow.
Gantt charts can also be time-consuming to set up.
The critical path scheduling method
The critical path method is a scheduling technique that identifies important tasks and assigns appropriate timeframes. A good example of this is when you’re building a house. Several tasks must be completed before the roof is installed. These activities are noted, and an appropriate time frame is assigned.
The critical path scheduling method has several disadvantages. One of them is that it’s too rigid and doesn’t factor in externalities that can delay the project. Additionally, small tasks can significantly affect the project because they’re not included in the schedule.
7 disadvantages of traditional construction scheduling techniques
Here are some significant disadvantages of traditional scheduling.
1. Complex and confusing to follow
Traditional scheduling techniques are great for small construction projects. However, they’re unsuitable for large construction projects because they create confusion. This is especially so when there are delays. If a task causes a delay, the entire chart must be remodified. This is a challenging and complex process that is prone to errors.
2. They can’t create simulations
Traditional scheduling techniques are rigid because they cannot create multiple construction simulations. In addition, if the project manager makes errors, the entire schedule will be wrong. Platforms that can create various simulations are ideal because they can lower construction costs significantly.
3. Traditional techniques can’t optimize resource allocation
Traditional techniques, such as using Excel templates, cannot optimize resource allocation. Resource optimization is the process of utilizing available resources (such as labor, materials, and equipment) in a manner that maximizes return on investment. A good example is when a contractor instructs twenty men to complete a task that requires fifteen men.
In this case, the project will suffer from the over-allocation of resources, causing inefficiency. Modern platforms optimize resources, ensuring that there’s no waste.
4. Traditional schedules lack collaboration
Traditional schedules may be created by the project manager alone, without input from other stakeholders. The problem with this approach is that a good plan needs information from other stakeholders, such as subcontractors, to be feasible.
Since subcontractors are the people on the ground, they’ll have a better understanding of when they’ll complete the project. Lack of inclusivity may result in unrealistic goals, resulting in delays.
For a construction project to succeed, project managers must ensure collaboration among different stakeholders. Contractors need to communicate with subcontractors on time. Modern platforms allow various stakeholders to collaborate, increasing efficiency and reducing delays.
Some modern platforms also show milestone completion rates, making it easy for contractors and subcontractors to know if they need to catch up.
6. Traditional techniques don’t factor in risks
Every construction project is prone to either external or internal risks. An example of an internal threat is the lack of adequate financing. Though traditional techniques can tell if a task is difficult, they cannot identify risks associated with the project.
Modern scheduling platforms can identify risks and develop options or alternatives that contractors can use to mitigate the identified risk.
7. Don’t help you win bids
Traditional techniques reduce the chances of winning a tender. Modern platforms help you win bids by leveraging technologies such as BIM and virtual reality to create realistic 3D visuals. The immersive experience and ability to create more affordable estimates give you a competitive edge.
In conclusion, construction companies should adopt modern construction techniques because they are easier to follow and not as prone to errors. Modern techniques can better handle complex construction projects.