John Wiegand is a construction professional with 30+ years of experience, Wiegand has had the fortunate (and frequent) pleasure of talking to a variety of customers and construction industry experts. The more conversations John has had, the more he realized there is a sizable knowledge gap when it comes to understanding the value of proper planning. In fact, many Wiegand spoke to still view construction planning and scheduling as one-in-the-same, a misnomer he’d like to dispel.
Construction planning is certainly important to support the scheduling process but also bring significant value throughout the project. Understanding and implementing proper planning is the foundation for all activities on which project success is built. Every project workflow originates from this foundation, so if there are cracks, risk of failure is greatly increased.
Within the project lifecycle, there are 6 factors that are absolutely mission critical and can be significantly enhanced with proper planning:
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Minimize the amount of change between conceptual estimate and final budget by working closely with team members (owners, design team and strategic partners) to maintain the integrity of design during the development process. Plan segment reviews and collaboratively provide feedback.
Don’t focus on managing incidents. Instead, focus on the safety culture and participation. Allow for feedback from subcontractors on potential improvements. Share ownership and responsibility. Create safety “mock-ups” for training and understanding.
While the goal is always to achieve the original substantial completion date, managing those expectations still remains as the biggest challenge. Forecasting the future is difficult, to say the least. Wiegand recommends using as many resources as you have (experience, subcontractor input, production data, etc..) to create a truly effective schedule. Keep it focused on the contract requirements and development at the milestone level. Plan frequently to break down into more manageable durations. Engage the project team in review process and provide feedback in forecast updates.
#4 Change Management
Plan the way that change will be addressed as early as possible with all stakeholders. Agree on ground rules for resolution. Most importantly, stick to the plan and be transparent! Set a measured expectation for resolving change conditions — less than or equal to 30 days from Relative Order of Magnitude (ROM) to resolution.
The best quality projects start with great quality planning. Define the quality of deliverables and create achievable goals for the team. Provide checklists for on-going inspections and examine leading indicators from these checklists to improve the quality throughout the project.
In order to achieve success, teams must understand that fee erosion is a measurement that inevitably could compromise the perception of success. Nowhere is this more evident than close-out. A quick conclusion to site activities allows for final payment and teams to move to their next opportunity. Planning for turnover and setting goals for a short transition is a key indicator of success. Create an expectation for turnover as early in the process as possible, then get feedback from facility stakeholders and incorporate it in the plan.
Proper (and effective) planning means that not only is there a process in place to ensure that the project team is quickly made aware of any issues that can compromise success, but also that there is a system in place to quickly resolve them. The ability for these processes and systems to identify and resolve issues must be continually measured and evaluated. Providing the team with a clear picture of “what success looks like”, in the form of metrics and goals, is key to creating an environment of accountability and transparency. This will allow the team to thrive and continuously identify opportunities for improvement. In addition, fostering a culture of respectful and agile behavior allows for small course corrections during execution, rather than the sporadic firefighting that tends to take place on more traditional construction projects.
Planning, in an ideal sense, starts at the inception of the owner’s desire to build something. From that moment on, it is extremely important to develop strong team dynamics and an overall foundation of trust and collaboration – one that will inspire new stakeholders as they join the team throughout the planning process.
How eSUB Cloud can help
eSUB Construction Software plays a crucial role in enhancing construction planning processes. With its robust project management platform, eSUB enables construction professionals to streamline planning, coordination, and communication across all project phases. It facilitates preconstruction planning by offering tools for estimating, budgeting, and collaborating with project stakeholders. eSUB’s scheduling features help manage project timelines effectively, ensuring that milestones are met. The software also aids in change management, allowing teams to address changes promptly and transparently. With quality control and close-out functionalities, eSUB assists in maintaining high standards throughout the project’s lifecycle. Furthermore, its data-driven approach provides valuable metrics and goals, promoting accountability and continuous improvement. eSUB Construction Software empowers construction teams to plan, execute, and deliver successful projects with efficiency and precision. Schedule a demo today and see how eSUB can help your construction business increase profits.
FAQs: Construction Planning
1. What is the significance of proper construction planning in projects?
- Proper planning is the foundation for successful construction projects. It ensures that all project activities are well-organized, coordinated, and executed efficiently, reducing the risk of failure.
2. How many critical factors within the project lifecycle can be enhanced with proper planning?
- Six critical factors in the project lifecycle can be significantly improved with proper planning. These include preconstruction, safety, schedule management, change management, quality control, and close-out procedures.
3. What is the role of construction planning in the preconstruction phase of a project?
- In the preconstruction phase, planning helps minimize changes between the conceptual estimate and the final budget. It involves close collaboration with team members, including owners, the design team, and strategic partners, to maintain design integrity and provide feedback.
4. How can planning improve safety on construction sites?
- Planning for safety involves creating a safety culture, encouraging participation, and seeking feedback from subcontractors for potential improvements. Safety “mock-ups” can be used for training, and ownership and responsibility should be shared.
5. What challenges does proper construction planning address in schedule management?
- Proper planning helps manage expectations regarding the project’s completion date. It involves using available resources to create an effective schedule, focusing on contract requirements and milestones, and engaging the project team in the review process.
6. How does planning contribute to effective change management in construction projects?
- Planning addresses change management by defining how changes will be addressed, setting ground rules for resolution, and ensuring transparency. It establishes expectations for resolving change conditions in a timely manner.
7. What role does planning play in ensuring quality in construction projects?
- Quality planning sets the stage for high-quality deliverables by defining quality standards and achievable goals. It involves providing checklists for inspections and using leading indicators to enhance quality throughout the project.
8. How can proper planning expedite the close-out phase of a construction project?
- Planning for close-out includes setting goals for a swift transition, minimizing fee erosion, and ensuring that site activities conclude quickly for final payment. Feedback from facility stakeholders is incorporated into the plan.
9. What is the importance of metrics and goals in the planning process?
- Metrics and goals provide a clear picture of what success looks like in a construction project. They create accountability and transparency within the team, allowing for continuous improvement and agile behavior throughout the execution phase.
10. When should planning ideally begin in a construction project?
- Planning ideally starts from the moment an owner expresses the desire to build something. It involves developing strong team dynamics, fostering trust and collaboration, and inspiring new stakeholders as they join the project throughout the planning process.