Friday, October 25, 2013

Project scheduling

“I have been in this construction industries for years by now; I got the experience and knowledge. That is why I don’t really need to produce a work schedule. It’s all in my head.”

Have you ever met a person that telling you the same reason as above? If you throw me that question my answer is “YES”.

There is no doubt that those who already successfully completed construction projects already know all the sequence of works and what does it takes to complete a project. However I still want to emphasized that it is important to have a systematic work schedule. The reason is you are not going to supervised each and single task of a project by yourself. In actual fact, if you are project managers or coordinators you will have to deal with your construction supervisors, subcontractors, client, consultant and suppliers. All of these parties will be interested to know what your work schedule is. The information stated in your project will enable them to delegates, giving instruction, executing and monitoring the progress for whatever necessary works to complete the project. Without your project schedule every parties involve will be in the dark.

Why do I emphasize that it is important for you to have a proper project schedule? Here is the reason why?

Project scheduling will allow us to analysed our cash flow against our work plan whether what we plan can be achieve with the current available cash in hand, current machinery, plant and equipment and also manpower that we have. After analysed , if we found out we can’t complete the project with our current resources, then we have to explore other option on how to complete the project before we make any decision to proceed with the work schedule. In other words Project scheduling will help us to minimize our losses in term of Value.

Work without a plan is a plan to fail. Without a project schedule we will be lost. We do not know when to start, how long it take for us to complete the project, what is the sequence of work, When to start our procurement of material, when to mobilized essential machinery to start a particular task, what is the effect of public holiday and bad weather have to our plan and the list goes on. Missing the step of preparing a proper project scheduling can lead to a situation that it is too late for us to amend the damages that already happened during construction period.

 It is a compulsory requirement in most of the contract document. We are required by our client to submit our project schedule for our project for their approval.

It is a tool that will help us to defend our self when we have to stop part of the work due to the instruction by the client which leads to the delay in completion of the project.

It is very essential instrument when we decide to make a claim for extension of time and also to claim for our loss and expense (if allow in the contract). If approval to our claim is granted it can save us from the liquidated and ascertain damages which might be imposed to us as per mention inside the contract (if any).

Project Schedule will help us to monitor our project health whether we are ahead of schedule, on track, slightly delay or even fall under sick project which is bound for contract termination.

Project schedule will help us to instruct our team on what task to do, when must it start and when must it finish.

All of the reason listed above, have their impact on the monetary value. To summarize all of this we can say that a Project scheduling is a tool that will guide a construction project from the beginning until completion and a tool to maximize the profit for a project. As what business person had and will always have in their head, “The purpose of making Business is to make more money not to lose it in whatever circumstances”.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Critical Path Method in project scheduling.

Critical path is an important element in project scheduling. Every scheduler or planner officer need to identify which is the task(s) that will form the critical path of the project. Critical path always consist of series of task or work that must not be delayed, start or commencement date and must finish on a fixed date. If there is any delay occurred in commencement of any task or work that form a critical path, then there is very high possibilities that the project going to be delay in completion. When this situation happened, contractor will have to plan for a catch-up program to make sure that the project can be completed with-in the approved construction period. However in this section we will not discussing on the catch-up program or plan.

How to determine the critical path of a project? In actual fact, regardless of what scheduling software that planner(s) officer or Scheduler(s) officer used to produce a work program or work plan for a project, the basic theory of the Critical path calculation is always the same for any brand of project scheduling software.

There are two types of critical path calculation that can be used to identify a critical path. The two types of calculation are Forward pass calculation and Backward Pass calculation.

Forward pass calculation can be used to determine when or on what date a project can be completed. The calculation will start from the beginning of the project and at the end we will be able to know when a project can be completed with estimated numbers of resources that available.

Backward pass calculation can be used when we are given a fixed date on when to complete a project. This method always required us to analyze the availability of our resources and their output in order to complete the project as required. By knowing our capacity of resources we will be able to estimate the duration required to complete each and single task of a project. With this information than we start the calculation from the given finished date and we will know the latest date we must start our work which normally known as late start.

Theoretically, Critical path will always having the same figure for the early start and the late start. Thus there is no number of floating days allow. Mathematically the float day is equal to “0”. All series of task or works that have no float days or “0” floating days will fall in a critical path of a project.