Construction scheduling is an essential practice for contractors of all types and sizes. It's a vital hub for helping custom home builders and remodelers manage their jobs more efficiently, reducing the complexities involved with organizing and overseeing a construction project from beginning to end.
This article will provide you a deep dive into construction scheduling, breaking down what it is, why it's important, how to create them, and the benefits of using construction scheduling software to drive sustainable growth for your business.
Statistically, eight out of ten construction projects go over budget. When schedules are managed efficiently, it leads to projects that finish reliably, on time, and on budget.
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Construction scheduling is the practice of outlining each step of a project in detail before the work begins. A schedule lists the succession of events in the order they need to be completed before the next step is taken.
When a construction schedule is done correctly, it shapes the project in terms of time involved, people, scope, and budget. It helps project managers estimate the length of time it will take to complete the project and gives the client a solid blueprint for what to expect along the way.
Scheduling is critical for all stakeholders as construction can sometimes be a disruptive and stressful process. A detailed construction schedule helps alleviate those pain points and ensures the project proceeds as smoothly as possible.
In most cases, a project manager will manage the schedule and is the go-to contact for the client and all workers involved in the project.
We’ve talked a bit about what construction scheduling is, but why is it important? You might think that project scheduling is only for large complex jobs or bigger companies, but it’s actually a vital part of any successful construction business. Here’s why.
When you’re planning any construction job, whether it’s a kitchen remodel, a deck build, finishing a basement, a major renovation, or a new custom home build, there are multiple steps involved, and usually several people.
The more people and steps involved in the project, the more complicated it becomes to manage. Now, you might think at the outset that the job will be simple and easily accomplished, but we all know that unexpected things happen. When they do, you need to think on your feet, reorganize, and often deal with emotional situations.
For example, let’s say you’re doing a remodel on an older home. You open up the walls and discover bad wiring, rot, or rodent damage that must be addressed before continuing. Electrical issues require an electrician, which will extend the time and budget as the work needs to be done and inspected before you can move on to the next step. Beyond those issues, you’ll need to deal with a client who’s now discovered their home won’t be ready for the holidays while rescheduling workers around the new timeline.
In another scenario, you’ve ordered flooring and tile from a specialty supplier, and it hasn’t arrived by the time you’d estimated. Supply chains are notoriously slow these days, and this is a typical snafu that could set your timelines back considerably.
On a more positive note, perhaps the client is so pleased with your work that they want you to keep going. That’s all great, but now you need to ensure you have the materials you need and that your team is available to continue the job.
All of these situations require detailed scheduling and follow-up by the project manager lest any detail falls through the cracks. Additional permits might be needed, new inspections scheduled, and you might even have to push other clients back to accommodate what you need to do.
Suddenly, it’s a complicated mess. But having a good schedule in place makes it all easier to manage, and you’ll (almost) always come out looking like a hero.
Generally, the project manager creates and maintains the schedule.
They could also be the general contractor or the company owner in a smaller construction company. Larger companies that typically have several jobs underway at the same time may assign a project manager to oversee all work. In contrast, a job site supervisor is directly responsible for managing the crews and ensuring all pertinent information is relayed in a timely manner.
However, scheduling isn’t always handled by someone on the job site. For example, somebody in the construction office could be tasked with creating and managing the schedule. While they have knowledge of the processes involved, they might not have a deeper understanding of some practices and how they affect the project as a whole.
This is a situation where specialized construction project scheduling software is highly advantageous (more on this below), as it supports automated workflows and makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks. For example, if a change order is added to the project, it might be necessary to reschedule specific individuals or send an update to the client. Having a tool that helps you automate this process reduces errors and helps everybody avoid unnecessary stress.
Planning your projects makes for a smoother process from start to finish. You’ll be able to plan each workday and maybe even have some work-life balance. After all, nobody wants to be stuck in the office after hours dealing with paperwork, scheduling issues, and stressed-out clients.
Here are a few of the top benefits:
Construction scheduling software simplifies the process of creating and managing a construction schedule. It is purpose-built for contractor scheduling and takes every phase of a build and all types of work into account.
Modern construction management software with project scheduling combines contact management, calendars, document management, budgeting templates, change order management, and integrated communication tools like instant messaging and video chat.
Drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to adjust timelines, and once you’ve made a change, the system notifies everybody who needs to know. Sub-contractors and other workers always have the information they need to get the job done. Information is democratized and can be classified according to role, so the right people always have access to the data they need.
Check out the video below for a short example of creating a construction schedule using modern software:
Construction scheduling software helps project managers gain high-level visibility into their projects. Dashboards can be customized to reflect the information they need to see and reports configured to send automatically to the contractor, the client, inspectors, or other personnel.
It also simplifies the task of managing multiple job sites, enabling them to toggle between clients and jobs and removing the complexities involved with managing several crews.
So now that we know how vital scheduling is in construction (and if we’re honest, it helps us in all areas of life), how does software make it even better?
Here are some of the top benefits:
Of course, there are plenty more benefits, but there’s only so much space here—and we know you need to get back to work! Hopefully, these tidbits have inspired you to take a closer look at construction scheduling software and how it can help you improve processes and grow your business.
Creating a construction schedule is an essential first step in any construction project. Once you’ve had your initial meetings with the client and your quote is approved, it’s time to start planning the work.
We always suggest having a template to work from. You can create this with our step-by-step instructions for creating a construction schedule in Excel or Google Sheets, whatever works best for you. Once you’ve created your template, you can use it over and over again for each new project.
The BuildBook team created a detailed guide on how to create a construction schedule, and you can access it through this link. In it, we outline five easy steps to help you create your construction schedule template, which you can customize and tweak as your needs evolve. Or, you can also download our free construction scheduling template and dive right in.
We hope this guide to construction scheduling software has been helpful! At BuildBook, our mission is to help you succeed by making your life (and workload) easier. Start your free trial today and discover how BuildBook can help your business grow.