A consolidated schedule is a timeline of all construction activities. These activities are broken down into milestones, as well as start and end dates. It is important to note that, unlike a regular schedule, a consolidated plan is more comprehensive because no construction activities are left out.
To avoid conflict of interest, a consolidated schedule should align with the scope of work. Scope of work is an agreement made between a contractor and a project owner. The agreement shows the type of work that the contractor is expected to do.
In other words, the timelines and activities indicated in the scope of work must align with those in the consolidated schedule. If a change order causes the timelines and activities to change, the change should be reflected in the plan.
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How to create a consolidated schedule
A consolidated schedule can be created manually or through modern platforms like ALICE. This platform uses optioneering to help you create an effective construction plan. Users can make use of advanced data analytics, which makes it easy to monitor data. Additionally, it helps contractors reduce risk and increase their profit margins.
When manually creating a construction schedule, the contractor must have as much information as possible about the project. To do this, the contractor must consult other stakeholders, including subcontractors, engineers, suppliers, and architects.
Adding milestones to tasks
After consulting with stakeholders, the contractor must break down identified tasks into smaller, more manageable activities. This is what’s known as a work breakdown structure. A work breakdown structure breaks down tasks into small activities that teams can manage.
This project management system is essential because it allows managers to measure the impact of small activities. Project managers should assign each activity a milestone, and each milestone should be assigned a suitable time frame.
For example, milestone A (e.g., site clearance) may begin at 3 pm on October 20th and may end on November 1st at 4 pm.
At this stage, the contractor must identify potential risks affecting each milestone. For example, during the initial stages of construction, the local community can decide to go to court and halt the project. Other risks include weather, labor shortages, and equipment breakdown.
Lastly, resources must be allocated to each milestone to have an effective construction schedule. For example, labor and equipment should be assigned to a construction site. Contractors, however, need to ensure that there is no over or under-allocation of resources.
Importance of consolidated schedules
One main advantage of a consolidated schedule is that contractors generate better bids with a more accurate quote. Better offers to increase the chances of a construction company winning a lucrative contract. Other advantages of having a consolidated schedule include the following.
Better decision making
Companies make better decisions because they understand when a project will start and end. In addition, contractors can accurately determine how much capital will be required to implement a project. Better decisions are made because the schedule breaks down activities into small tasks that are easy to quantify.
Construction companies can also use a consolidated schedule during the bidding process. This is because plans enable contractors to determine if the estimated duration time is realistic or not. If the estimated time is unrealistic, the contractor will likely file a request for a proposal with their preferred completion time.
Without a consolidated schedule, contractors will be forced to work with unrealistic time frames that can cause legal lawsuits.
Accurate cost estimates
Consolidated schedules help create better and more accurate estimates since the construction plan has been broken into measurable tasks with realistic timeframes. Contractors can, as a result, better price their services. This gives them an advantage because the pricing set will not affect their profit margin.
It makes it easy to track interdependent tasks
Interdependent tasks depend on each other for a project to proceed. These tasks can further be grouped as either critical or non-critical. An example of a crucial task is laying the foundation. If the foundation work is not done as indicated in the schedule, no other construction work can be done.
Non-critical tasks cannot halt a construction project even if they have passed their due date. An example of a non-critical task is paving the driveway. Contractors can pave the driveway long after the structure has been completed and past the scheduled date.
It’s easier to deal with safety concerns
Another advantage of having a consolidated schedule is that it is easier for the project manager to deal with safety concerns. This is because the safety manager will control when risky jobs (such as structure demolition) are done. The project manager can also arrange for safety helmets when doing dangerous work.
Contractors have a better understanding of risk
A construction schedule allows contractors to identify risks before they affect the project. This is because the risks are identified before resources (such as labor and equipment) are allocated to tasks. Common construction risks include design, legal, environmental, and financial risks.
It helps companies manage cash flow better
Schedules help companies manage cash flow by enabling project managers to identify expenses and incomes. As a result, the project manager can plan cash flow expenses better. Cash flow is vital to the survival of a company. If more money is being paid than received, the company will not be able to pay its expenses.
Schedules monitor progress
Project managers use construction schedules to monitor the progress of a project. In addition, project owners use consolidated schedules to measure a contractor’s performance. If the contractor is not performing, the project will be behind schedule.
Lastly, schedules create a sequence of tasks that need to be followed. As a result, project managers and subcontractors always know what is required of them.
In conclusion, a schedule is essential because it is a blueprint for project managers to follow. Also, the plan enables project managers to identify risks before they stall an infrastructural project. Instead of creating a manual schedule, take advantage of technology.