Construction Planning and Scheduling

(Excerpted from Steam/its generation and use, 42nd edition)

Construction schedules are a key input to the integrated project schedule that focuses on all the disciplines needed to complete a given project. 

Upon contract award, the construction project team conducts a detailed planning session. Typical participants include the project manager, scheduler/planner, project superintendent(s), construction engineer(s), and other contributors as selected by the project manager. The basis for this planning session is the scope of work as originally defined and estimated, and the existing conditions of the construction site.

Construction Planning and Scheduling

During the session, additional scope items or recent customer-initiated changes to the as-bid project are evaluated. The primary objective of this session is to document and develop a detailed construction plan. The information inputs needed for and the outputs required from a successful planning session are shown here:

Session Inputs

  • Integrated overall schedule
  • Contract documents such as commercial terms and conditions and technical scope
  • Existing drawings and models
  • Final estimate including worksheets and specified material quantities
  • Subcontract scope and commitments
  • Material and equipment delivery schedule and configurations
  • Prior site reviews
  • Customer/plant knowledge
  • Labor agreements and availability

Session Outputs

  • Detailed construction project management schedule and associated reports
  • Project safety plan
  • Manpower loading and leveling
  • Equipment and critical resource loading and leveling
  • Identification of subcontract work scope and schedule requirements
  • Project work assignments for support disciplines
  • Site organization chart
  • Earned value curves
  • Financial reporting
  • Material delivery schedule
  • Preferred material configuration
    Modularization
    Field weld locations
    Maximum component rigging weight
    Maximum component size
  • Baseline weekly progress report format

Projects are defined by a series of work activities arranged in a logical sequence. Detailed schedules are then developed by sequencing all activities according to their predecessor/successor relationships. These relationships are used to assess overall durations, and to allocate resources to complete the activities within the desired time period. Resource allocations typically include labor plus heavy and specialized equipment. 

Work activities are organized into a work breakdown structure and assigned activity codes. The activity codes allow the work to be sorted by contract, area of work, responsibility, component, or other required factors. These activities can then be used to monitor and track progress throughout the course of the project and generate required reporting.

Schedules are established using computer-based systems, such as Primavera P6 Professional. A broad range of detailed graphic schedules and reports, including time scale logic diagrams, bar charts, precedence diagrams, labor graphs, earned value curves, and job completion percentages are derived from such systems. These outputs permit the overall coordination of several items: the work to be performed, labor by craft or specialty, erection equipment assignments, material deliveries, and critical resource requirements. The goal of the planning session is to initially define the project in enough detail to ensure that subsequent tracking and monitoring activities can effectively control all resources and job progress, identify positive and negative deviations, and prescribe necessary corrective actions.

The level of detail developed in the work breakdown structure is dependent on project complexity and reporting requirements. Straightforward, short duration projects may be broken down into less than fifty activities, whereas more complex, long-term projects may be defined by hundreds or thousands.