Keys to a Better Year: Make a Better Project Schedule
For today’s key to a better year, it’s time to think about one thing we all hate: Creating a project schedule.
Now, granted, if you’re a subcontractor, portions of this are out of your hands: Figuring out when the window guy should come is not part of plumbing. Still, project schedules are important. A good project schedule has everybody exactly where the need to be at the right time, doing what they need to do so that everything can get done as quickly as possible.
A bad project schedule…does the opposite of that.
And so, regardless of exactly what your role on the job is, it’s worth giving two minute’s thought to the tips below, courtesy of Jobsite.
- Confirm the scope of the job.
Seriously. I know I’ve talked about this before in job costing, but it realllllly cannot be stressed enough.
If you had any idea how many hours I’ve spent going back over contracts with a fine toothed comb, trying to figure out whether moving a pile of dirt was part of the original price agreement, nobody would ever roll their eyes at this step again.
So please, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, take the time to figure out what is and isn’t part of the job! Then, plan (and price) accordingly.
2. Ask yourself a lot of questions.
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but sometimes, other people are morons.
When you’re looking at a schedule, double check other people’s assumptions. Did someone else along the chain anticipate nine straight weeks of sunny weather, despite the fact that you’re working in Seattle? Does this schedule depend on the idea of Dallas no longer having traffic?
Do you know if molding is going to be installed before or after painting? Do the people who need to know if molding is going to be installed before or after painting know?
Exactly what this step will look like for you varies depending on your project role: Again, if you’re doing the foundation, no need to worry about someone else’s incorrect assumptions regarding when the cabinets will be installed. That’s their problem.
Similarly, it may just be that the guy with the final say in the schedule is an idiot, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
But, at the very least, taking this approach will allow you to anticipate potential points of conflict, and plan accordingly.
3. Focus on productivity.
Again, what this looks like is going to depend on your role.
But, to the best of your ability, make sure that people aren’t stuck waiting on materials. Think about the best ways of getting from Point A to Point B. Consider the human factors involved, and make sure that workers have enough time off to rest.
Aside from cash flow, one of the hugest killers in construction is time–a three month job that drags on for six is going to hurt your bottom line. The better you’re able to manage productivity, the better your end margins will be.
Trust me, I get it. Nobody goes into construction because they enjoy reading plans to anticipate points of conflict. But, those points of conflict ain’t goin’ anywhere, and I can assure you, the problem will be much easier to solve now than six months from now, when the project is $250k over budget, and the drywall is being ruined from the lack of a roof.