Implementing the critical path method in construction project management

Just like anything that involves planning – a party, a wedding, a charity event – building or remodeling a house requires a lot of thought and preparation in order to deliver the best possible outcome.

So, let’s talk about the critical path method. In essence, the critical path method is a model used in project management to input all necessary factors involved in a project and output the optimal timeline for completing it. The foundation of the critical path method is built on dependent tasks or the idea that a new task cannot start until the preceding task is finished. And by stringing the dependent tasks together from start to finish, you define your critical path.

Now, let’s apply this method to construction project management. Laying out a critical path of functions to complete a job will help you prioritize and allocate resources to get the most important tasks done and reschedule any lower priority work that may be hindering your team’s progress. Using the critical path method to make these changes will optimize work on the job site without delaying the end results.

There are four essential elements to include when calculating the critical path for your construction job: time, dependencies, deliverables and deadlines. See how factoring in these four elements with the help of Buildertrend will ensure the success of your project management and promote on-time job completion.

Determine the scope of work and estimate a timeline

To implement the critical path method, you first need to determine all the tasks and larger projects that are essential for completing your job on time. Making a list of all the necessary work will get the process started and help you estimate a timeline. Let’s say your upcoming job is building a new house. After meeting with your clients, your scope of work may look something like this:

  • Ordering necessary materials
  • Preparing the construction site
  • Pouring foundation
  • Completing rough framing and plumbing
  • Installing electrical and HVAC
  • Adding insulation and drywall
  • Installing interior fixtures
  • Completing exterior finishes

From here, you can go on to estimate the amount of time it will take for each group of work, which will give you a good idea of how long the timeline should be for the entire build.

Decide on task and project dependencies

After determining your scope of work and estimating a timeline for your job, it’s time to decide which tasks and projects have dependencies. This is where Buildertrend’s Schedule feature really comes in handy!

Not only is our Schedule feature great for keeping your projects on track, it can help you keep tasks organized from the very beginning. Start by entering in your essential projects and create dependencies along the way. With Buildertrend’s Schedule feature you can easily link individual tasks or job groups, which will automatically form dependencies. Cool, right?

And that’s not all. By laying your dependencies out in our Schedule feature, you’re able to quickly make adjustments in the event of a timeline shift. Once tasks are linked, all dependencies are automatically shifted accordingly.

Define your project milestones and deliver on deadlines

After deciding on your dependencies, you can then define your deliverables and project milestones. These may be defined as things like completing a project or larger group of tasks that have an impact on the overall timeline of your job.

That being said, there may be underlying factors such as resource constraints that are out of your control. For example, there could be a shortage in the kind of lumber you need to complete framing and due to the shortage, delivery of the lumber is delayed, which leads to the delay in framing.

Now, although the framing is delayed, using the critical path method and predetermined schedule, you can make any necessary adjustments, to avoid pushing the overall timeline or completion date of the build.

Managing construction projects with the critical path method

Dare to be the best and let us help you! Using Buildertrend for managing your construction projects sets you apart from other builders. Our software allows you to easily implement the critical path method with our easy-to-use Schedule feature, efficient project timelines and seamless approval processes that ensure projects are completed on time.

If you’d like to learn more about how our software can help you implement the critical path method, give us a call or contact your account executive today to schedule a training.

Ready to take advantage of Buildertrend’s benefits, feel free to give us a call and schedule a demo today.

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