Construction Management – Time Control

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They say that time is money. The cliche is especially very relevant in the construction sector, where the finances input into the process are very extensive and in most cases borrowed from financial institutions. These attract an interest payable over time, and as such, a delay in completion means a delay in repayment and thus more interests. Furthermore, the product of construction earns the proprietor money, for example rent in the case of buildings or levy in the case of roads. These earnings are delayed if the process does not complete in time. In some situations, especially office space projects, the space is let long before the construction is complete (a concept referred to as buying on plan). If the construction is not completed within the set time, the developer will be charged a certain agreed amount per every so many days delayed.

From the above illustrations, it is clear that construction time is really money. It is therefore of utmost importance the need to control construction time. At the initiation of the process of construction, a construction schedule (commonly referred to as programme of works), is prepared to guide the process of construction. This is based on the various activities of construction arranged in a chronological and logical sequence. It depicts when every activity will be started and when it is going to be finished. As with the BoQ, this is done by a trained professional and is only based on estimates and anticipations. It will definitely be varied as the process progresses and will need to be updated and appraised. Deviations should be sought as early as they occur and mitigation factors put in place.

Some deviations are caused by unavoidable circumstances for example bad weather or shortage of a certain consumable. Court injunctions will also hamper the progress and may distort the schedule of works and all the eventual activities. The programme of works for every project should be in such a way that it will easily accommodate reasonable deviations. The secret lies in having the schedule broken down in a logical manner. Activities should be visualized as they are put together on site rather than in their completeness as we see them. Walling, for example, should be broken down into individual tasks like stone dressing, masonry blocks bonding, curing, plastering and keying. This will also help to see all the small necessities that may be needful for the process. It is also important to create relationships for the various tasks. Some things must happen for others to take place. These are constraints and must be done the soonest possible, to give room for their successors. The critical path is a term used to refer to the shortest period possible for construction to be completed. This is established by identifying all the tasks that are interdependent. Milestones are broad categories in the process of construction, for example earthworks, walling, roofing and finishes.

One of the easiest tools to achieve this is the gnatt chart and one of the best programmes to make this is Microsoft Project Professional. It is important to note is that different programmes are made for the same construction process. The contractor makes one for the tasks they are mandated to undertake. Based on this, the manager makes one to check the one of the contractor, as well as to administer things like payments to contractors.

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Source by Kynyn Kamau