The Ultimate Guide for Construction Planning and Control

This site is produced to provide information and guidance on Construction Planning and Control systems. Project Control systems are required to manage the core project delivery elements of time, resource, risk and change. Project Controls provide the capability to reveal trends toward cost overrun and/or schedule slippage. Identifying those trends early enables more successful project management and reduced risk. Effective project control requires effective project planning, scheduling and cost control procedures to be established using carefully defined process and document controls, metrics, performance indicators and forecasting. There are a range of methods and techniques used for Project Control such as Critical Path Method (CPM), Performance Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Earned Value Management (EVM) as well as a range of risk and change management procedures and types of analysis. There are also increasingly sophisticated computer applications such as project management systems to help model both time and cost, which can now be linked with CAD tools enabling the linking of building elements to create 4D and 5D models. However in spite of the tools and techniques, traditional construction planning and control systems, have received criticism over recent years due to their frequent ineffectiveness in managing project change, and delivering projects to time and cost. A predominant reason for the poor performance of such systems is that these methods and technologies remaining largely underused, often being poorly understood due to a host of unfamiliar terms and applications. The purpose of this site is to remove the complexities associated with construction project planning and control by providing information and guidance on setting up and implementing such systems and to provide definitions and explanations on the key tools and techniques used in their deployment.
The Essential Guide to Construction Project Planning construction project planning is essential in the management of construction projects and forms the basis for developing the budget and

the schedule for work. What is Construction Scheduling? Construction Scheduling determines the timing and sequence of project operations and reflects the project plan which should be produced first. Critical Path Method (CPM) explained! A description of the Critical Path Method (CPA) and a step by step guide with practical examples. A Guide to Construction Project Control A guide to Construction Project Control and its interface planning,scheduling & budgeting Earned Value Analysis in a nutshell. Earned value analysis is a performance measurement which identifies the status of a project at a given point in time regarding both cost and time. Read more..... PERT: Program Evaluation and Review Technique PERT: Program Evaluation and Review Technique simply explained. Disclaimer diclaimer

Construction Project Planning: The Essentials
Construction project planning is an essential element in the management and execution of construction projects. A good construction plan is the basis for developing the budget and the schedule for work. It involves the definition of work tasks and their interactions, as well as the assessment of required resources (plant, material and labour) and expected activity durations. The use of technology is also an important consideration in construction project planning, and it is important to select the right tools for the job. The extent to which the project planning process will be used within the context of the intended project control process should also be considered at the project outset. All project plans should be contractually compliant.

Historically there has often been a distinction between time and cost planning as the figure illustrates. In terms of project expenditure a distinction is normally made between costs incurred in the undertaking of an activity and indirect costs not being specific to a construction activity but required for the overall achievement of the project (such as borrowing expenses and overhead items). However on other less predictable projects, the scheduling of work activities over time has been an important part of the construction planning process. Construction planning techniques like the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Programme Evaluation & Review Technique (PERT) have since the 1960’s been used to undertake scheduling functions.

It is now the norm for construction project planning to consider and integrate both cost and scheduling over time, so that planning, monitoring and record keeping must consider both dimensions. The main components in establishing a project plan are as follows: 1. Set the required project start date 2. Set the required project completion date 3. Select appropriate project methodology or project life cycle 4. Determine the scope of the project in terms of the phases

5. Select the project review methods to be used 6. Identifying any required milestones 7. List tasks, by project phase 8. Estimate the resource necessary to accomplish each task 9. Estimate the resource available to accomplish each task 10. Determining task dependencies - Which tasks can be done in parallel - Which tasks require the completion of other tasks 11. Establish project control or review points 12. Perform project cost estimation and cost-benefit analysis Costs for each activity can be attributed to each resource, which provides a total project cost. The project plan should be optimized to achieve an efficient balance between resource usage and project duration. Once the plan has been developed and agreed, the plan becomes what is known as the baseline against which progress will be measured throughout the project. Analyzing progress compared to the baseline is known as earned value analysis. The baseline will be updated on a regular basis to account for project changes such as additional works and variations and to develop mitigation strategies if delay or disruption has occurred. This is commonly known as change management. With the continued development of computer applications to help undertake the complex calculations required to accurately determine completion dates and key milestones and with their ability to incorporate resource and costs quantities within their calculations, scheduling has now become an important part of the project control system. Leading Project Planning systems such as Primavera now enable robust and dynamic models to be developed which can be used for change management, project monitoring, delay analysis and project forecasting. The techniques, tools and technologies required to undertake effective construction project planning will be discussed in the following pages:

Construction Scheduling
Construction scheduling determines the timing and sequence of project operations and estimates their intended design, fabrication and assembly times to provide the overall project completion period. The schedule reflects the project plan which should be produced first.

A schedule consists of activities or tasks representing a project plan in a logical order with intended start and finish dates. (In the UK a construction schedule is often referred to as a construction programme). The construction schedule is a means to communicate a project plan to the team, to control the project and to provide the information required for effective decision making. The most widely used methods of schedule development are the Critical Path Method (CPM) and the Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) As the plans for a project become more complex the need for using CPM increases. A schedule can be regarded as a tool which enables work to be organised, sequenced and controlled. Over recent years software has been developed which allows complex networks to be produced. A network shows the sequence of work interrelationships and interdependencies between activities. Scheduling software also allows material, plant and labour resources to be assigned to each activity. This allows managers to predict completion, based on the resources available, and allows the adjustment of crew sizes, shifts or equipment to accelerate or slow down progress depending on project performance. Properly structured schedules should consist of a work breakdown structure (WBS). This defines and organises the total scope of a project, using a hierarchical tree structure. The estimated effort for each task also needs to be identified, as well as the resources required for each task and their availability. If this information is not carefully prepared using trustworthy sources of information, the schedule may be too inaccurate to be used to accurately measure and monitor project progress. The importance in obtaining buy-in from those who will undertake the works and in liaising with people experienced in the particular method of construction cannot be underestimated.

A Guide to The Critical Path Method (CPM)
What is the Critical Path? The Critical Path Method (CPM) enables the project Critical Path to be determined. This is a sequence of activities through a project network from start to finish. There may be more than one Critical Path depending on workflow logic. A delay to progress of any activity on the Critical Path will (without acceleration or re-sequencing) cause the overall project duration to be extended. This is known as a ‘critical delay'. What is the Critical Path Method (CPM)? The Critical Path Method is a mathematically based algorithm for scheduling project activities. It was developed in the 1950s in a joint venture between DuPont Corporation and Remington Rand Corporation, specifically for managing plant maintenance projects. Whilst the method was developed for construction, this method of scheduling can be applied to any project with interdependent activities.

The Critical Path Method, which is also sometimes referred to as Critical Path Analysis (CPA) method, deduces the critical activities in a programme by tracing the logical sequence of tasks that directly affect the completion date of the project It is a methodology or management technique that determines a project's critical path. CPM provides the following advantages: 1. Determines the time to complete the project and key milestones 2. Allows tracking of critical activities 3. Provides a visual presentation of the project 4. Can incorporate the concepts of random predictions, using (PERT) CPM models the activities and events of a project as a network. There are two main types of logic diagrams: 1. Arrow Diagram (AOA) 2. Precedence Diagram (AON)

Arrow diagrams consist of arrows and nodes plus letters and numbers for labeling and calculation purposes Key Steps in Critical Path Method Project Planning 1. Specify activities 2. Establish Activity Sequence 3. Produce network diagram 4. Estimate the completion time for each activity 5. Identify the critical path (longest path through the network) 6. Update the CPM diagram as the project progresses 1. Specify Activities * Based on the work breakdown structure (WBS), produce a list of all the activities in the project. * This listing will be used as the basis for additional sequence and duration information. 2. Establish Activity Sequence Determine the correct sequence of the tasks. Do this by asking three questions for each task: i. Which tasks must happen before this one can begin? ii. Which tasks can be done at the same time as this one? iii. Which tasks should happen immediately after this one? It can be useful to create a table with four columns:-prior tasks, this task, simultaneous tasks, following tasks. 3. Produce Network Diagram Once the activities and their sequencing have been defined, the CPM diagram can be drawn. CPM originally was developed as an activity on node (AON) network. Now computers and planning software such as Primavera are used to produce the Network Diagram. however the principles of AON networks should be understood. 4. Determine Activity Durations

Determine a reasonable time required to complete each activity based on metrics, past experience or the estimates of knowledgeable persons. It is important to record how the estimated durations were derived and from what source of information. the Critical Path Method is a deterministic model that does not take into account variation in the completion time, so only one number is used for an activity's time estimate. 5. Identify the Critical Path Determine the following four parameters for each activity: i. ES - earliest start time The earliest time at which the activity can start given that its precedent activities must be completed first. ii. EF - earliest finish time Equal to the earliest start time for the activity plus the time required to complete the activity. iii. LF - latest finish time The latest time at which the activity can be completed without delaying the project. iv. LS - latest start time Equal to the latest finish time minus the time required to complete the activity. The Float (slack time) for an activity is the time between its earliest and latest start time, or between its earliest and latest finish time. Float is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed past its earliest start or earliest finish without delaying the project. The critical path is the longest-duration path through the network. The activities that lie on the critical path cannot be delayed without delaying the project. The critical path is the path through the project network in which none of the activities have float, that is, the path for which ES=LS and EF=LF for all activities in the path. To accelerate the project it is necessary to reduce the total time required for the activities in the critical path. 6. Update the CPM diagram Update the CPM diagram as the project progresses. The task completion times will be known and the network diagram can be updated to include this information. A new critical path can emerge, and structural changes may be made in the network if project

requirements change. This is a key element in managing the project and fundamental aspect of Change Management.

A Guide to Construction Project Control
Construction Project Control systems are required to manage the core project delivery elements of time, resource, risk and change. Control systems are also used to manage quality, communication, and procurement. Project control provides the ability to determine a project status as it relates to time and the particular project schedule and are established on carefully defined process and document controls, metrics, performance indicators and forecasting. A key element of project control is to provide early warning of poor performance or increased risk and to supply accurate data which enables the quick mitigation of such problems. A project plan will not normally be maintained as originally developed and the result of external influences on a project as well as changes and variations requires continuous planning and control. An effective control system is cyclical and repetitive over the entire project as described in the figure below.

Con struction Project Controls provide the capability to reveal trends toward cost overrun and/or schedule slippage. Identifying those trends early enables more successful project management and reduced risk. Modern scheduling software provides many project

control tools with sophisticated functionality for evaluating project performance, assessing the impact of change and analyzing associated risks. However such tools are often not utilized effectively largely due to the schedules themselves not being produced rigorously in the first place or managed correctly. There are a variety of project control, techniques such as Earned Value and Earned Value Management(EVM) which are used to control and monitor schedule performance by comparing the budgeted cost of work performed to what was originally scheduled or what has been actually expended.

Earned Value Analysis (EVA)
Earned value analysis (EVA)is a performance measurement which identifies the status of a project at a given point in time regarding both cost and time. It determines project progress and can be used on projects where the budgets change and still provide useful and meaningful information. This is achieved by relating the current budget for an activity and its percentage complete. Earned value is also sometimes called the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP). Its general value can be calculated using the following formula: Earned value = activity budget x percent complete. The activity budget is measured in either monetary units (e.g. £ or $) or man-hours. This calculation is undertaken on each activity to identify their earned values as illustrated in the figure below.

The project status at that time is then calculated by dividing the cumulative earned work hours by the budget.

PERT: Program Evaluation and Review Technique

PERT was originally developed for and used on the Polaris missile systems in 1958. It is used in planning and controlling projects where there is uncertainty associated with cost and schedule which must be evaluated in detail. This uncertainty might be due to quantities or productivity being uncertain, on for example, unusual or one off projects. Like the Critical Path Method (CPM), PERT uses logic diagrams to analyse performance times and focuses on the event. However it estimates the probability of meeting specified completion dates and assumes that activity durations vary based on a varying production rates. The Critical Path Method (CPM) on he other hand assumes that activity durations do not vary. PERT determines the probability of completing by the contract completion date, by way of a quantified risk assessment based on optimistic, pessimistic and most likely activity durations. The technique helps the scheduler estimate the most probable activity or project duration and is therefore considered a probabilistic method. Whilst the approach provides a greater level of information to be analysed than deterministic methods such as CPM, it does require multiple time estimates (optimistic, pessimistic and most likely) which can be time consuming to produce. The mathematical calculations are also more complex than other scheduling methods. In addition the analysis is based on the duration of activities along a single path and results can be skewed if there are multiple critical paths on the project. Historically these disadvantages have meant that the technique has not been widely used on construction projects. However more powerful computer applications have made it easier to use the technique which is being used more widely especially as a construction risk analysis technique.

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