Construction activities can be managed to achieve profits within a limited time and funds. Since there are various construction projects of different types, project management becomes a crucial factor depending on the construction sector. And because resources are the most significant investment for construction projects, utilizing the resources intelligently and efficiently becomes a primary aspect of project management.
While many construction companies and contractors use either home-grown tools or silos of spreadsheets to schedule their resources, these tend to be incredibly limiting, hard to maintain, and time-consuming. Many contractors face issues like undesirable hiring/firing, under/over-utilized resources, improper planning of pipeline projects, and low staff morale, among other dilemmas.
In order to achieve the available resources’ full potential, contractors must establish an enterprise-level resource scheduling process. And this is specifically what we are going to discuss in this article. From understanding resource scheduling to managing resources in project management, we will cover it all.
The Need for Resource Scheduling in Construction Project Management
Construction is a mission-based industry, meaning the project’s organization ends with the completion of the project build.
In general, project management is considered as managing resources through several methodologies and tools over the lifecycle of the project to control quality, time, cost, etc. When it comes to construction, the outlook is broadened because the construction industry contains a wide variety of constraints that are specific to the build and design of construction projects.
With that said, construction project management interacts with a wide variety of different disciplines in a project’s lifetime – from city planning to public works to engineering to architecture.
Every construction project is an integration of multiple tasks. Contractors assemble a team with certain niche skills to produce tangible results. And to ensure that everything’s on track, resource and project managers are tasked to safeguard whether the right resource is working on the right task. If not, it can compromise the whole project – whether it is a simple home build or a large bridge, an airport seismic retrofit project, or engineering a dam build.
Most importantly, each construction project is initiated with a definite timeline. It is the project manager’s responsibility to make sure that the project is delivered on time within the promised budget. So, it is vital to schedule the resources before the project is initiated to avoid delays in task execution. In some cases, poor handling and scheduling of resources could even bring a construction project to a halt.
Thus, resource rescheduling emerges as a vital constraint that resolves several challenges faced by modern contractors and construction companies. Resource and project managers use robust resource scheduling software programs like Bridgit Solutions to achieve their limited resources’ full potential and maintain and elevate the project quality.
In addition to this, such software programs provide data-driven insights into numerous resource metrics like utilization, resource availability, allocation, labor, sub-contractors, capacity vs. demand gap, and more. According to this, resource managers can eliminate the potential bottlenecks and implement the proper resourcing. In short, resource scheduling can be used to:
- Schedule labors and staff based on skills and availability
- Monitor construction projects from start to finish
- Assess speed bumps and time delays so that you can reschedule deadlines and tasks to prevent projects from going off the rails
- Track project outcomes and estimations to make future scheduling simpler
- Analyze and assess how well the resources (construction materials, labor, equipment, etc.) are being employed and reassign tasks to those who are not working to their full potential or utilization rates
Best Practices for Effective Resource Rescheduling in Construction Project Management
As a contractor or a project manager, if you are looking to reschedule resources properly, there are several tips to follow. First, you need to understand that resource scheduling in construction is not just about plugging the hole by allocating resources against the project. It is more about the process. From finding a comprehensive resource scheduling solution to tracking actuals, utilization management, capacity planning, and forecasting, it goes much beyond resource allocation.
The following are some tips to manage resource rescheduling like a pro:
1. Create a Work Breakdown Structure
First things first, you need to list tasks. This is an obvious first step because you cannot have a streamlined resource schedule if you don’t have an idea of what resources you will need for the construction project.
Suppose you are constructing a swimming pool for a 5-star resort. You need to create a structure to break down your work to define the project’s nitty-gritty and define task dependencies and the skills required. From designing the blueprint to having it in a computerized 3D model, making a list of necessary materials required for the swimming pool, arranging a crew, and more, it is a lot of work.
So, if you have a proper structure in place, you can go with the details and schedule the resources with the right competencies.
2. Control Availability of Resources
There are many instances where resource managers are caught in the dilemma where there is scarcity or non-availability of resources. This can lead to increased costs and even halt the project completely. In order to avoid this situation, project managers should have an overview of the available resources. And with the use of robust recourse rescheduling tools and software programs, they can implement resource optimization techniques like resource smoothing or resource-leveling. It will help in adjusting the project timeline based on the available resources or source them from across departments to complete the project.
3. Know How Many Resources the Project Need
It is vital to determine how many resources each task of the construction project will require. For example, if you are constructing a large-scale recreational swimming pool for a 5-star resort, you will need to allocate multiple resources. From plumbers to construction workers, landscapers, and more, you need to go back to the task list and determine what type of resource will be needed and how many of each will be needed.
4. Assign Wisely
Once you have identified constraints, listed the tasks, acquired resources, and know-how many resources you will need and their availability, it is time to assign them with care. How you assign the resources will depend on the due dates, capacity and demand, and the availability of resources. For example, in order to construct a swimming pool, you first need a team of excavators who can dig up space before concrete can be laid. Therefore, you need to assign the tasks wisely to prevent any delays and blunders.
It is advisable that you invest in a robust and good-quality resource rescheduling tool. It can make the process a lot easy and save you from manual hassle and mess. Since construction projects have strict deadlines, things need to be taken vigilantly. Managing resource rescheduling can help a lot with project management that will prevent any unwanted delays or halt.