One of the most important responsibilities of construction project management is the planning and scheduling of construction projects. The key to successful proﬁt making in any construction company is to have successful projects. Therefore, for many years, efforts have been made to plan, direct, and control the numerous project activities to obtain optimum project performance.
Because every construction project is a unique undertaking, project managers must plan and schedule their work utilizing their experience with similar projects and applying their judgement to the particular conditions of the current project.
Older Methods of Construction Project Management
Until just a few years ago, there was no generally accepted formal procedure to aid in the management of construction projects. Each project manager had a different system, which usually included the use of the Gantt chart, or bar chart. The bar chart was, and still is, quite useful for illustrating the various items of work, their estimated time durations, and their positions in the work schedule as of the report date represented by the bar chart.
However, the relationship that exists between the identiﬁed work items is by implication only. On projects of any complexity, it is difﬁcult, if not virtually impossible, to identify the interrelationships between the work items, and there is no indication of the criticality of the various activities in controlling the project duration.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
The development of the critical path method (CPM) in the late 1950s provided the basis for a more formal and systematic approach to project management.
Critical path methods involve a graphical display (network diagram) of the activities on a project and their interrelationships and an arithmetic procedure that identiﬁes the relative importance of each activity in the overall project schedule. These methods have been applied with notable success to project management in the construction industry and several other industries, when applied earnestly as dynamic management tools. Also, they have provided a much- needed basis for performing some of the other vital tasks of the construction project manager, such as resource scheduling, ﬁnancial planning, and cost control.
Today’s construction manager who ignores the use of critical path methods is ignoring a useful and practical management tool.
The company uses a number of tools to help with the planning process. Mainly the software of choice is Primavera P6. This software is the Rolls Royce of planning tools. There are number of other tools that do specific jobs but the best all rounder is P6.
The industry standard is MS project due to its ease of use but construction planning and reviewing requires a robust tool that will produce output that is easily understood and gives clear definition. MS project requires more set up time and does not give clear output.
We also use simple software called IVAN. This software is a good way of presenting tenders and can produce a lot of information in a single page. A complicated project with many pages can be simplified down to one page, which can then be relayed more easily to the team or for reporting upwards to the client set.