Every project starts with a plan, and you can only execute a plan well with excellent management.
For thousands of years, humans are known as builders and creators of structures as great as The Pyramids of Giza, the Colosseum in Rome, and more. Even centuries back, these constructions had architects and overseers or managers. Even in industries wildly different from the building industry, planning and managing are always a part of project phases.
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According to the book Project Management for Construction, construction planning consists of choosing technologies, defining work tasks, estimating required resources (human and material), scheduling individual tasks, and identifying various work tasks’ interconnectedness. It is the most fundamental stage in a construction project which can be immensely challenging. It involves laying out the schedule and budget for the entire project, which is highly crucial since they will become the construction’s primary parameters. Moreover, administrative and organisational decisions are a part of construction planning since project managers must be able to establish and communicate standard operating procedures and agreements effectively.
More often than not, construction plans start with the results first, and planners synthesise what steps must be taken to achieve the envisioned final structure. As mentioned above, the two main components of construction planning are the cost and the schedule. However, plans may have tendencies to be either more cost-oriented or schedule-oriented. Some give equal emphasis on both. There are direct and indirect costs, together with time-oriented or resource-oriented scheduling. Highly complex projects require planners to consider both costs and schedules, so management will be able to contextualise the project monitoring and record-keeping in consideration of cost and schedule control.
Construction planning and management are indeed challenging, but with the right tools, techniques, and careful monitoring, your project can succeed. Here are the main elements in construction planning:
Breaking down all the resources required for a project is the first step after identifying what you want to achieve. This encompasses financial, human, and all the material resources needed. Once you finalise the material and human resources you need, the budget can then be created to avail of these and have an allowance for any unexpected additional costs that may arise.
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● Work Tasks
Work tasks involve defining all the processes that contribute to accomplishing the project. Tasks are fleshed out into more specific sub-tasks, and so on until you have laid out even the most superficial work needed in the overall project.
Tasks are often interconnected. While some are overlapping, some tasks should strictly follow a correct sequence. Skipping the steps or doing even the simplest of the minor functions disorderly may cause project delays, wasted labour hours, and additional expenses.
After tasks have been defined, planners or managers estimate how long it takes for each worker or team to complete a task. It is a crucial component in budgeting since labour costs and other overhead costs may vary depending on the tasks’ duration.
What happens when you don’t plan?
When you don’t plan, instead of falling into place, your project will fall into pieces with a poorly defined budget and an inaccurate project schedule that would seem like you’re just burning money. Well, you may have a finished structure in the end, but it might not live up or be very far from what you’ve envisioned and placed all your efforts into.