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How to Reconcile Construction Project Schedule and Field Progress

By June 22, 2018 No Comments

One of the main challenges of construction managers is reconciling construction project schedule and field progress.  As a construction manager, you have your schedule, your QA/QC inspection checklist, your punch list and work that is going on in the field.  There are different parties working on different aspects of the project, and as the construction manager, you need to make sure you’re able to make sense of what is going on in the field versus your planned schedule — it is critical to tie in the day-to-day activities on the field and the big picture. However, bridging this gap has always been a challenge for construction managers due to the following common issues:

  1. Schedule and actual information are disconnected – the schedule is in MS Project, Primavera, or printed on the wall, but it is not a fluid document that is updated regularly.  As a construction manager, you need to be on top of things and make sure you know if you are on schedule or behind. But if the schedule is not updated, you have no real live source of figuring out your project status.
  2. Supers and PE’s don’t see the big picture – you have progress going on in the field but it’s a pain to type up the information, send out report, make phone calls and do follow ups.  On top of this, the schedule needs to be updated regularly. Because of so many moving pieces and too many details, Supers and PE’s are not aligned with the big picture. And because you, as the construction manager, are constantly going back and forth with different parties, it’s easy to lose sight of what is going on in reality in terms of your timeline.
  3. Dependency on QC inspections – you have to spend a lot of time tracking people and you are dependent on inspections and the people on the field.  You need to make several phone calls just to figure out what is going on.
  4. Poor executive visibility into projects – there is a lot of back and forth that happens in the field that don’t make it up to the executive level.  While you are doing all that back and forth, your overall project schedule is getting delayed. This loss of information in real time heavily affects the project progress and timeline but the execs are not in the know until it’s too late.

In order to better understand project progress, it is critical to bridge the gap between the schedule, QA/QC and field progress, making sure they are aligned.  It helps to have a system that connects scheduling tools, QA/QC and punch list where everything is updated.

Having a system that connects scheduling, QA/QC, punch list and field progress will give you a better and clearer picture of project progress and how each piece is tied to another.  With the help of a suitable system, here are some simple and useful tactics that will enable better reconciliation of project schedule and field progress:

  1. Ensure that your project schedule is updated with real time information, daily or at the very least, weekly.  When the schedule is not updated, serious delays happen because you would have to go back and figure out what is going on.  Having a regularly updated schedule also propagates more effective and efficient weekly meetings.
  2. Update punch list diligently so you are aware which issues are getting closed out and how fast the issues are getting resolved.
  3. Avoid double/ triple data entry.  It is a tedious exercise to do things again and again.  Having a system helps avoid redundant work has compounded effect on efficiency and productivity.
  4. Be prepared with the details.  When your schedule and punch list are both updated with real time information, you have all the details you need and you don’t need to spend a lot of time preparing for meetings.  All you need to do is print a report. If things are not marked as completed, you will probably need to go back several weeks, do some digging or making phone calls, in order to figure out when things were completed.
  5. Communicate well with teams.  Lastly, having updated schedules and punch list allows you to communicate well with all your team members, ensuring that you are all on the same page in terms of what has been done and what needs to be done.

Looking for ways to better reconcile construction project schedule with field progress?  Book a demo on Buildup’s new Schedule Module today.

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