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LINE OF BALANCE MODELS

INTRODUCTION
In certain types of projects, repetitive sequences of activities develop from the nature of the
project and the construction technology adopted. In such cases the individual activities must be
properly synchronized in duration and productivity if gross delays and misuse of resources are
to be avoided. Often mishaps and delays in working the activities compound the instability
between the sequence of activities, even in properly balanced situations, with consequent loss
of overall productivity and the generation of chain reaction management problems (e. g., ripple
effects)
Typical examples of projects involving repetitive sequences of activities are high rise buildings,
tunnels and pipe lines. In high rise buildings repetitive activity sequences develop from the
nature of floor-to-floor operations. Thus formwork erection, steel bar placement, and concreting
interact and influence the following “close-in” trades working on exterior walls and windows
panels.
PRODUCTION CURVES
Bar charts provide only limited information in modeling projects. They typically do not readily
reflect the production rate or speed with which sections or units are being processed in linear
projects. Since the rate of production will vary across time, this has a major impact on the
release of work for following work processes. Delays in achieving the first units of production
occur as a result of mobilization requirements. As the operation nears completion, the rate of
production typically declines because of demobilization or closeout considerations. The period
of maximum production is during the mid-period of the process duration. This leads to a
production curve with the shape of a “lazy S” as shown in Figure 1. The slope of the curve is flat
at the beginning and at the end but steep in the mid-section. The slope of the curve is the
production rate.
These curves are also called time-distance or velocity diagrams since they relate units of
production (i. e., quantities or distance) on the y axis with time plotted on the x axis. The slope
of the curve relates the increase in units of production on the y axis with the increment of time
shown on the x axis. The slope of the curve, therefore, represents the number of units produced
over a given time increment. This is the rate of production.

e. Leading processes generate work area or availability so that follow-on processes have a “reservoir” of work from which to operate. This illustrates that work flow moves from leading to following process.Percent complete work item 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 Project months 60 70 80 90 100 0 10 20 30 60 70 80 90 100 Bar chart 40 50 Actual rate of progress Figure 1: Production Curve The production curves for the road job are shown in Figure 2. complete finish-grade sections) are built up before the aggregate base operation is started. The production curves indicate the beginning and ending points in the time for each of the processes. This means that 2 weeks of work (i. The distance between the beginning points of each process establishes the “lag” between processes. The slope of each curve is the production rate for each process. . Reservoirs of work are cascaded so that units of work must be available from an “upstream” process reservoir before work is available at a lower process reservoir.. The aggregate base operation begins in week 6 and lags the finish-grading operation by two weeks. This concept of work availability being generated to following processes is shown schematically in Figure 3.

Erect forms Place steel reinforcement Place concrete Remove forms Install exterior curtain wall . F Figure 3: Cascaded potential work reservoirs that contain individual activity work rates Consider. A Erect forms Steel ages RC Res. B RD Place concrete Res. 5. C Brick laying RE Res. E Res. 4. 2. 3. Finish grading 10 11 125mm concrete paving Aggreg base 12 13 14 15 225mm concrete paving curbs 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Weeks Figure 2: Velocity diagrams for a road construction project RA Dismantle forms RB Res. for instance. a multistory building project on which each floor passes through the following processes: 1.Units of production Rough grading 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 . D Windows RF Res.

Three aspects to consider in development of the program chart are determination of: a. work is released to the pour concrete reservoir. sequenced inter-relationships on a “lead-time” basis. These event coordination symbols. This will intersect the aggregate base and 125mm concrete curves. All five activities must be completed before one unit can be ready for delivery. This takes 30 working days as shown on the program chart’s lead-time scale. However. referred to as process monitoring points. production curves or velocity diagrams are helpful in establishing the project status. the erection of forms releases work to the reinforcement-embedment process. Approximately 80% of the aggregate base has been placed 3. Processing and assembly lead time The program chart indicated in Figure 4 describes the production process for.6. illustrating their planned. It also represents the beginning of work on the 225mm concrete pavement (overlaying the 125mm base concrete). it enters the work reservoir of the following process. as reinforcement steel is placed. The sequence of operations c. work is constrained until a form set is removed. Install glazing As a floor completes one process. It can be readily determined that: 1. say. Operations to be performed b. PROJECT CONTROL USING PRODUCTION CURVES In addition to indicating the rate of production. It is a flow process chart of all major activities. If we assume that formwork is available for only four floors. are labeled from top tp bottom and from left to right. once the four sets of forms have been erected. 240 units. . Approximately 25% of the 125mm concrete pavement has been placed PROGRAM CHARTS A program chart is the basic unit of the Line of Balance system. Each activity (A through E) has associated with it a lead time (latest start time) signified by an event starting symbol ( ) and an event coordination symbol ( ) signifying its end or completion. Similarly. Both rough and finish grading should be completed 2. The planned status of the job as of wwek 12 can be determined by simply drawing a vertical line at week 12 on the x axis in Figure 2.

Figure shows the objective chart. a total of 30 units are to be delivered or completed by June 1. 240 210 180 150 120 90 60 30 Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb .C A 3 1 E D B 5 4 2 Lead time in work days 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Figure 4: Program chart with lead times in working days OBJECTIVE CHARTS In a certain process. 180 units to be delivered and completed by November 1 and a total of 240 units to be delivered and completed by February 28. The contract award date is to be March 1. 60 units to be delivered and completed by July 1.

activity D (bar 4) had 120 completed units and activity C (bar 3) had completed 130 units. This results in a stepdown line graph indicating the number of units that must be available at each monitoring point for progress to remain consistent with the objective. Figure 7 indicates the LOB and the method used to project it from the objective chart to the progress chart. . The progress chart of Figure 6 indicates that on a given day when inventory was taken. activity A (bar 1) had completed 180 units. 120 units had passed through monitoring point 5. g. the vertical height of bar 5 is equal to the number of units actually completed. Similarly. In other words. program and progress charts. activity B had completed 150 units.Figure 5: Objective chart PROGRESS CHARTS The progress chart is drawn to the same vertical scale as the objective chart and has a horizontal axis corresponding to the progress monitoring points labeled in chronologic order. Vertical bars represent the cumulative progress or status of actual performance at each monitoring point. 240 210 180 180 150 150 130 120 120 120 90 60 30 1 2 3 4 5 (Activities) Figure 6: Progress Chart In the comparison. assessing status of completion). usually based on visiting the site and measuring actual progress (e. which is the last activity in the production process.. accumulation of data ends with completion of the objective. These three charts are then utilized to draw the line of Balance (LOB) by projecting certain points from the objective chart to the progress chart. This corresponds to activity E in the program chart.

mark off to the right the number of working days 9or weeks or months. This is the balance quantity for that bar. Starting with the study date (e.. Plot the balance quantity for each control point a.. Join the balance quantities to form one stair-step-type line across the progress chart. .240 210 180 180 150 150 130 120 120 120 D C B A 90 60 30 Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb 1 2 3 4 5 Progress chart Objective chart Figure 7: Line of Balance ( ) A:Sep 1 = Aug + 1 B:Sep 9 = Aug + 9 C: Aug +17 D: Aug + 23 The procedure for striking the line of balance is as follows: 1. 2. as appropriate) of lead time for that control point. This information is obtained from the program chart. b. From that point draw a horizontal line to the corresponding bar on the progress chart. August) on the horizontal axis of the cumulative delivery (objective) chart. Draw a vertical line from that point on the horizontal axis to the cumulative objective curve c. g.

. 2 and 3 show surpluses. Activities 1. e. 150. Units actually completed by activities 1.Analysis of the LOB reveals that activity 5 is right on schedule while activity 4 show a deficit. The LOB display enables management to begin corrective action on activity 4 to ensure that it does not impede the progress rate of the remaining units.135 and 125 (from the Figure 7 above. The respective surpluses for activities 1. 2 and 3 are □ 180. On the other hand activity 4 is lagging behind by 125 – 120 = 5 units. 150 – 135 = 15 and 130 – 125 = 5 units. 2 and 3 are 180 -150 = 30..150 and 125respectively against the respective units indicated as necessary by the LOB i.