One of the most crucial and sometimes overlooked aspects of a successful renovation project is scheduling. There have been instances where contractors have made a seemingly conscious decision to by-pass this important task not wanting to devote the time and resources that it takes to develop a realistic schedule, only to find themselves caught in the midst of chaos as a result of unforeseen obstacles and unable to properly recover as the project takes its course. Scheduling is developed not only as a means to gauge the progression of the project, but it helps eliminate or reduce project miscues, making it less complicated to determine work-arounds for those unexpected dilemmas, keeping the project on schedule and on budget without compromising quality.
The Proactive Approach
A proactive approach in developing a practical schedule is to first evaluate all phases of the renovation process that can dictate the project’s timing. Any factors that can cause delays such as material lead time, whether the space is occupied during renovation, unforeseen changes to the scope that can affect the budget and requiring ownership approval before moving forward are just a few examples of challenges that can have a negative impact on the project’s schedule. When developing the schedule, it’s imperative that each phase is allotted additional time for those hidden and unexpected challenges. There are also instances where contractors may assign this task to a less experienced team member who doesn’t understand lead/lag times. Lead and lag time as referred to in construction renovation, are types of measurements used to assess project performance. Lead time describes the time that elapses from initiating one process from start to finish and lag time refers to the activity that either follows or is delayed by that first process. A good example of lead/lag time would be when ordering furnishings and materials for the jobsite. In this example, the order is initiated, but due to such things as manufacturing delays, orders being held up in customs or inclement weather causing deliverables to be delayed, the task that follows in sequence could be delayed thus causing a negative impact on the project’s overall completion. An experienced scheduler is able to determine alternative solutions when deliverables are delayed in order to keep the project moving forward. One of those solutions might very well be tweaking the schedule to make up any time loss in different areas of the project.
Degrees of Difficulty
Having a complete grasp of the levels of difficulty the project may possess is also advantageous. Not only must the scheduler possess a working knowledge of the project but must also have a good understanding as to the sequence of tasks to be performed. A good scheduler will be able to comprehend all phases of the renovation process and be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Since project tasks are dictated by the sequence and timeframe in which project completion is fulfilled, understanding these sequential elements and the time needed for each trade to complete their individual tasks during those critical timeslots are of utmost importance. Any delays experienced can have severe consequences and take on a ripple effect for the duration of the project if adjustments are not made by the scheduler. Knowing how and when to schedule inspections during the renovation process with the building department is also critical to ensuring not just the progression of the project, but the safety of the project, assuring all building codes are met. Not doing so can not only delay the project, but interrupt the project until proper inspections are scheduled and performed, thus impacting the timeline and possibly the budget.
Expecting the Unexpected
And then there are situations completely out of a contractor’s scheduler’s control. When contractors are faced with situations requiring ownership approval before proceeding and the owner fails to respond in a timely fashion, delays in the schedule are almost an absolute. For instance, If after the demolition crew has come in to knock out ceilings and walls and mold is discovered, steps must be taken to remediate the mold before the project can continue and the next trade comes in to frame, install insulation and close up those same areas. Since the discovery and remediation of the mold was not part of the original agreement, it’s imperative that ownership responds expeditiously in order to schedule the remediation contractor and keep the project moving.
Since time is of the essence and time is money, it stands to reason that a priority in any construction renovation should be the implementation of the scheduling process regardless of the size of the project. When selecting your general contractor for your next renovation project, ask about their scheduling process and what steps they have in place to make your renovation experience a great one.