Lean construction scheduling is now an important part of project management in construction. It is a list of project milestones, activities and deliverables with start and end dates. These are based on other information in the schedule. This includes budgets, resource allocation and activity timelines. It will also list links to dependencies and scheduled events. Elements in the project schedule are usually based on the work breakdown structure for the whole project.
Keeping a construction project on track is the difference between finishing a project on time and making a profit, or not. Lean construction scheduling is a way to design processes and procedures to minimize waste in the workplace to maximize value. Schedules detail each construction activity for the project team and how long it should take to complete each one. Lean construction scheduling is vital to all parts of the daily management and reporting process of a project's status. It helps reduce all forms of waste in the construction process.
Forms of construction waste
There is always a risk of waste during a construction project so using lean construction scheduling helps organizations plan to avoid waste of money, resources and manpower. Forms of construction waste include:
time – looking for things, ordering materials, etc
transport – materials handling, deliveries, etc
staff downtime – waiting for instructions, information and deliveries, etc
rework and corrections – correcting poor or incorrect work and updating plans
overproduction – producing more than ordered
inventory – too much or too little stock on hand
over processing – doing more than the client can pay for.
Benefits of lean construction scheduling
Using lean construction scheduling adds value to the process of constructing a building. It will also help to uncover where there is wasted time and staff potential in the process.
Schedules keep the work on track and you can see how the project works are progressing. This can be important as there may be penalties for meeting milestones late. Meeting milestones late will not be good for your reputation. Benefits of lean construction scheduling includes:
Making it possible to move a project through the critical path of activities of the construction process.
Means it is easy to change priorities for activities and resources when the need arises. This reduces the peak demand for resources. It eliminates standing down other resources and bringing them back later at an extra cost.
Showing clear team goals and milestones. It also shows the path of how to meet them on time. The schedule will give the team a pathway to follow to achieve those milestones on time. A schedule defines the sequence of activities to let project managers what to plan for.
Providing dates for material deliveries.
Monitoring the progress of work activities as well as those of subcontractors and suppliers.
Providing subcontractors and suppliers with schedules at the time of the tender and contract sign-off prevents misunderstandings and disputes down the track.
Allowing for planning what resources you need where and when. The last thing you need is too many or too few people on the job to get it done on time.
Providing valuable feedback about how the construction project is proceeding. It is easy to see when a project is slipping the schedule. This give you the chance to take action by bringing in extra resources or working overtime to make up the time.
Lean construction project scheduling is a tool a project manager uses to systematically manage all parts of a construction project. This includes assigning the relevant skilled human resources to get the work done. The schedule can be regularly reviewed using a good task software to check actual outcomes against the plan.
There is no room for mistakes in lean construction scheduling. Mistakes cost time, money and your reputation. Using good planning strategies and software will keep your construction projects on track.