What is Construction Project Scheduling software?
Construction project scheduling software allows to manage schedules for resources, materials, equipment and labor. With this software, the user can create predefined tasks and phrases and then match those with the resources, materials and labor necessary to bring each task and phase to completion. Calculations are constantly made to account for constraints and dependencies in order to calculate the right project schedule.
There are different trends you need to understand when evaluating what Project Scheduling software to use:
Software as a Service is rising in popularity
Project schedule software is often a part of project management systems; with software vendors often offering it as part of the Software as a Service model. This means that the software vendor hosts and maintains the servers along with the database and code, leading to a notable reduction in upfront investment when investing into a system.
Mobile apps for work on the go
It is no surprise that the development of mobile construction scheduling programs is increasing, especially in an industry where a lot of employees spend a large amount of time at a job site. Web-based applications can be accessed through a mobile device’s web browser, but there is also an increase in third-party free construction scheduling apps that can make contractor scheduling even easier.
Here are the common features involved in construction project scheduling software:
Critical Path Method (CPM)
CPM is the method most used in project scheduling applications. It calculates the minimum amount of time needed to complete a project by looking at its required tasks and dependencies.
Scheduling mostly takes place through a Gantt chart by assigning each task to a line, showing its duration and order of place alongside horizontal bars. When scheduling becomes more complex, network diagrams, contingency scenario planning and percent completion graphs are also introduced.
Why Use Construction project scheduling software
There are many benefits to purchasing and using construction project scheduling software:
- Planning is done with more thought, and project scheduling leads to better consideration of the tasks, resources and labor; leading to better planning
- Better scheduled projects lead to faster completion time, it avoids the workforce having to wait for a specific phase to be complete before they can get on with their tasks, removing any halts or any potential bottlenecks.
- Because records are properly kept, accountability for achievements and errors is clearly laid out. This means the causes of errors can be identified and the people responsible can have their blame assigned accordingly.
- Better organisation means lower costs. For example, vehicle or tool hire can be kept to the days that are necessary to use them, rather than hiring equipment for longer than needed. Good scheduling makes for a more efficient use of resources.
Your use of project scheduling software will vary depending on your needs and the needs of your business:
- A major project scheduler, will always benefit from being able to automate scheduling. Having to run multiple scenarios means that schedules will need to be as detailed as possible. In this situation systems with enterprise-class capabilities with functionalities such as earned value analysis are best to use.
- Project managers also appreciate a sophisticated system, but will be more focused on areas like document management and cost control. Project managers have a greater need of publishing some of their schedules to other workers online. In this case they will prefer to use the scheduling application included in their construction management systems.
- Desktop schedulers have less requirements to deal with multiple users. They still create complex schedules but for their role, using desktop software such as Microsoft Project generally suffices.
- Certain schedules do not require any real form of complexity, and any person fitting the role of a calendar manger will only need to use a simple calendar application. The good news is that most scheduling software will include a calendar which will be enough for the task. In this case it is worth looking for free scheduling software as the needs are much more basic.