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The Critical Path
The minimum time that it takes to complete a project is equal to the longest sequence of activities in the network. For example: In the diagram below there are two sequences of activities, the upper one and the lower one. The upper sequence takes 60 days and the lower sequence takes 70 days. Therefore the minimum time to complete the project is 70 days.
This sequence of activities is referred to as the critical path and the activities that lie along it are called critical activities. There may be more than one critical path through a network. If a critical activity is delayed then the whole project is delayed.
For each activity we can determine EST earliest start time LST latest start time TF total float IF interfering float EFT LFT FF earliest finish time latest finish time free float
The earliest times are the earliest times that an activity can start and finish given that all preceding activities as soon as possible. The latest times are the latest times that an activity can start and finish and still allow time for succeeding activities to be completed without holding up the project. Total float is the difference between the EFT and LFT. It is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed with out affecting the overall duration. Free float is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed without affecting any other activity. Interfering float is TF – FF, it will affect succeeding activities but not the total project duration. Independent float is float that does not affect preceding or following activities. Scheduled float is the amount of float assigned to an activity after considering resource implications.
Project Planning and Control
DUR = 10 EST = 12 EFT = 22 DUR = 15 EST = 9 EFT = 24 DUR = 12 EST = max(22. Similarly the LST of each activity is set to its LFT minus its duration. All activities beginning at the start event have an EST of 0. The LST of each of these activities is set to its LFT minus its duration. Then working backwards through the network for each activity the LFT is equal the earliest LST of its successors.Arrow Diagrams It is convenient to draw a box for each activity to contain the data to be calculated. a backward pass to calculate late times. Thus EST and EFT for any activity can only be done for activities that have had their predecessors calculated. Alternatively another time could be set if for example the completion date is set by external factors. Firstly all activities that terminate at the finish event for the network have their LFT set to the minimum project duration. This is referred to as a forward pass. These activities have an EFT equal to their duration. EST LST FF EFT LFT TF Forward Pass The early times are calculated by starting at the start of the network. and finally float calculations. Float Calculations TF = LST – EST = LFT – EFT FF = Minimum EST of succeeding activities – EFT IF = TF – FF The critical path can then be identified as those activities with TF = 0. For all other activities the EST is set to be the maximum EFT of any of its predecessors and its EFT to be its EST plus its duration. The minimum project duration is set to be the latest EFT of any activity. Precedence Diagrams As with arrow diagrams the calculations consist of a forward pass to calculate early times. Project Planning and Control Network Analysis Page 2 .24) = 24 EFT = EST + DUR = 36 Backward Pass The late times are calculated by a backward pass.
Time (Days) 0 7 14 21 28 35 ENA CONN COMN RNB ESA CONS COMS RSB PB TD EB LBS ICB L Scheduled Duration Free Float Interfering Float Time-Scaled Network Diagram Another way of showing the above information is the time-scaled network diagram. how long they take and how much float they have.Bar Charts Once the early and late times have been calculated for each activity the information can be put into a bar chart. This bar chart is also known as a Gantt bar chart. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 COMN ENA ESA PB TD CONN RNB CONS COMS LBS EB ICB RSB L Project Planning and Control Network Analysis Page 3 . This gives a pictorial representation of when the activities begin. when they end.
To distinguish event EFT from activity EFT times the event times are underlined. These are similar to the calculations above. If it takes three days for the bricklayers to build the first wall then bricklaying and cement rendering can have a start to start relationship with a lead time of three days. Forward Pass EFTj = maxall i<j(EFTi + Durationij) Backward Pass LFTj = minall i<j(LFTi . However activities can have other overlapping relationships: Finish to start Start to start F/S S/S LT LT Finish to finish F/F LT Start to finish S/F LT Finish to start This is the traditional type of relationship.Durationij) Float Floati = LFTi . Once again there is a forward and backward pass. Project Planning and Control Network Analysis Page 4 . concrete curing times. or be completely independent of each other.Determining Event Times The early and late finish times for each event can also be calculated.EFTi Overlapping Relationships Until this point it has been assumed that all activities either need other activities to be finished before they start. Also used are EET and LET (early and late event time) and EFD and LFD (early and late event date). If two activities overlapped then sub-activities were introduced to deal with this. etc. However a lead time can be used to separate activities rather than a separate activity in the case of things like inspections. Start to start Example: rendering the inside walls of a building can begin once some of the walls are completed.
Also clear networks are capable of informed criticism. Weather allowance can be included in the timing of each activity. even though the driveway is started before the painting starts and finishes before the painting finishes. Otherwise the link must be kept. which can lead to improvement. It is good practice to involve field personnel in network development of the network. (Only the painting above the driveway needs to be finished before the driveway is finished. holidays. This can make the calculations easier. Start to finish Example: If the outside wall of a building is to be painted but in order for no paint to be dropped on the driveway the relevant section of wall may have to be painted before the driveway can be finished. The rest can be finished at any time. or as a blanket allowance. an engineering drawing so that they are comprehensible to as many people as possible. however adding the architraves is much faster than plastering so the governing relationship is finish to finish. Bar charts should use calendar days with allowance made for weekends. Other Issues Networks need to be prepared with as much clarity as. B A C In this example. The development of a network may proceed in a system-subsystem approach (network-subnetwork). say. it is necessary to check that the critical path for this section passes through ABC. etc.Finish to finish Example: Architraves may have to be added after plastering is done. The method adopted needs to be made clear to site personnel. Painting is the predecessor and the driveway is the successor. Contingency allowances can be handled in the same way. The plan should be reviewed regularly and data kept both to control the project and provide information for future projects Project Planning and Control Network Analysis Page 5 . If people don’t understand the plan they won’t follow it.) These relationships are used with precedence diagrams Redundant Links With overlapping relationships what would be a redundant link may not be. before removing the link AC. and provide a better control on individual activities.
H.F F G. LST.F F H I G.E.C C D E.M. FF.Tutorial For the following projects (a) Draw a precedence diagram (b) For each activity calculate the EST.J G. EFT.N Duration 12 16 8 18 8 10 Duration 20 8 6 12 16 18 16 8 10 10 Duration 15 13 12 19 32 18 16 22 10 11 17 14 15 9 12 Project Planning and Control Network Analysis Page 6 .I Follows A A A B B. LFT.C D. and TF (c) Indicate the critical path Activity A B C D E F Activity A B C D E F G H I J Activity A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Follows A A A B.K L.E Follows A A B C C D D.
Question 3 For the following project: (a) Draw up a network (b) Determine the EST. Conventional finish to start relationships exist between work on different levels. LFT. while a finish to finish relationship exists between trade B and trade C. C (F/S LT=5) D (S/F LT=8) Duration 9 13 6 12 15 Project Planning and Control Network Analysis Page 7 . FF. TF for each activity (c) Determine the critical path Activity A B C D E Predecessors A (S/S LT=3) A (F/F LT=3) B (S/F LT=6). Establish the critical path for this network.Question 2 LT = 5 A1 11 B1 16 LT = 5 C1 15 LT = 5 A2 15 B2 19 LT = 5 C2 14 LT = 5 A3 12 B3 18 LT = 5 C3 13 The above network is for a project involving several trades whose work repeats on different levels of a structure. EFT. A start to start relationship exists between trade A and trade B. LST.
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