In this video, Jim demonstrates the creation of a construction schedule using scheduling software called Microsoft Project. He illustrates the importance of creating a proper WBS and providing proper input in order for the software to accurately find activities with float and activities on the critical path.
- [Instructor] Now that you understand the input that the software needs to give you a good, usable output, let's see what the software can do. I'm here in Microsoft Project and again, we have other courses here in the online library that will teach you specifically how to use this software tool now that you know the concepts behind construction scheduling, but I want to walk you through a few things here in the software so you can see how it all looks when everything we've discussed is pulled together. You can see here that I'm starting in the Gantt chart view, and it looks like we would expect it to look, but let's look how we got there.
I'm going to change views, and you'll see how easy it is to click between all these different views. I'm going to go to what Project calls the task sheet, and what you will hopefully recognize right off the bat as your work breakdown structure. So let's roll these up so it looks a little more familiar, and you'll see we have A, B, C, and D, just like we had before. Site work, lighting, fencing, and tennis courts. And when we expand these, you'll see that in the software here we've expanded on these just like we did when I discussed it in the video.
I broke site work into clearing, site fence, survey, and rough grade, and landscape. Then I broke landscape down a little farther into backfill, irrigation, and planting. I also added a few more items in this final version that we didn't talk about before, but that are necessary to complete the job or that are on the plans. So I added cleanup, and then of course I have to remove the site fence to be done with the project. So let's expand lighting. I added install conduit, put the light pole bases in, install the light poles themselves, and then tie in and energize the system.
Fencing, I just broke that into install the post footings and install the fencing, and then tennis court is like we discussed in the previous videos. So you'll see I have concrete broken down further into fine grading, set forms, install post tension, place the concrete courts, and then we come to this item here, which is cure the concrete courts. Now, this is one of those management items that I talked about adding earlier. What I'm talking about here is, I know that after I place the concrete for these tennis courts, I want it to sit covered up in plastic for at least five days without anybody walking on it or driving on it, I want it untouched.
So I added that management item of cure the courts and over here in the duration column I put five days. Then I had stress post tensioning, I'm going to let that happen during the curing of the courts. Here's my surfacing item, and then hardware, we broke down just like I discussed earlier into nets and benches. So you can see here that I have listed these items just like I discussed in the work breakdown structure topic. I didn't try to put them in order, I just tried to define my scope of work by looking at the drawings and then by adding some of the management activities.
So that's what I've done here, they're not in order. The next thing I did is I came over here, and in this instance I have the choice of using either column. I could enter the work breakdown structure code that I used over here, so under site work, I just expanded A into A.1 is clearing, A.2 is site fence, and so on. Or Project makes it a little easier for me to just add the line item, which is what I did over here. So in this case, let's look at site fence and survey. They have no predecessor, because they can start, that's the start of the job, they can happen immediately.
That's why they have no predecessor. You'll see clearing, the predecessor is item three and four, the site fence and the surveying. I want both of those things done before I start clearing. Rough grade, the predecessor is item number two. I want the clearing done before the rough grading. And that's how you proceed through this model. Just as we discussed, just take each item. Don't worry about the top level items, just worry about the items that are the final breakdown of your scope of work, those final work packages.
So just look at each one. What needs to be done before I backfill? Well, in this case, backfill is a landscape item, and so I picked a predecessor as item 19. If you'll come down here, item 19 is install fencing. It just means I want the fencing up and installed before I start the final backfill. After that, I can install the irrigation and do the planting. And again, just work your way through the model, list the item's predecessors. You'll notice that most items just have one predecessor like I talked about earlier.
A few of them do have two, and we'll see how that looks in the network model in just a minute. The next thing you do is just come to this column and enter durations. Again, don't worry about these top level durations. You're just entering durations for the individual work packages. You're saying, I think clearing is going to take three days. It's going to take me one day for the site fence, a day to backfill, the irrigation's going to take me three days, the planting is going to take me three days, and so on. That is the only input that you need to do into this scheduling program, just like we talked about in the previous videos.
As you do that and as you complete this information, the software will calculate those early start, early finish, late start, and late finish dates, and it'll calculate the float. So you'll see over here most of our items have no float, but we do have a few items, this one has 13 days of float, this one has two days. So let's go ahead and look at the actual Gantt chart and see what those look like there. I'm going to click on Views, go back to my chart, and I think I've got it zoomed out, so I'm looking at our entire tennis court project.
And you can start to see how this looks a little more visually. The site fence and the survey start at the same time. We proceed, and like I said, earlier, and in some of the other videos, the software will actually identify the critical path for you. In this case, it's made our critical path red, and our items with float are blue. And there's a little line down here that shows us how long they can float. Now, let's take a look at a couple items. Tie in and energize and the nets and the benches, this says that they can float all the way to the end of the project, and I don't actually want that to happen.
I want everything done before I clean up and remove the site fence. So I want to show you how easy it is, how easy the software makes it, to make changes and corrections in our schedule, because sometimes you can't really visualize these until you look at it in this view. So in this case, I'm going to just roll open our activities, and I'm going to say tie in and energize fence, or tie in and energize our electric lights, that's item number 16.
So I want to find cleanup. Let's make this a little larger. And I want to say before I start to clean up, I want to add item 16 as a predecessor, and I also want the nets and benches to be done, which are items 30 and 31. When I hit Enter, let's roll this closed so you can see it. You'll see now that the float has been changed.
It doesn't float to the end of the job, it only floats to this cleanup item. Let's do one more addition to our schedule, again, just so you can see how everything is recomputed. I'm going to go back to my work breakdown structure, and under lighting, I'm going to click on Task and Add A Task. And I want to add another management task called order the lights.
I'm going to say that I've been told that it's going to take me 21 days to get those lights, so I want that on the schedule. And I'm also going to say that I cannot install those lights until they get there, which means I need to add my new item as a predecessor to install lights. So I'm going to add my new item, 17, as a predecessor. Again, that's all I have to do. Go back, look at my chart, and you'll see I now have a new item called order lights on my schedule.
You can see that I didn't give it a predecessor, which means as soon as the job starts, I can order those lights. And I do have a little bit of float in here. They can float all the way to this point where I'm supposed to be installing them and not get into my critical path. Let's also look at how easy it is to update this schedule. Let's say I forgot to order the lights. So I'm going to click and I'm going to drag this bar, and you can see the dates changing right above that. Let's say I forgot to order these lights until September 22nd, 2017.
All I have to do is drop this bar and you'll see that the bar just turned red. It's now in the critical path, and when I clicked on that and released it, you'll see that all of these items moved out. The end date of my project changed, because that item that used to have float is now in the critical path. I'm going to click on Undo, and you'll see everything go back to the way I had it. And you can see again these items just move and update as you make changes to the schedule.
So there's a lot of things you can do like this in this software. Need to change a duration because of new information from a subcontractor? Again, just go back to that task sheet and change the duration, everything will update. And that doesn't even scratch the surface of what you can do in this software in terms of analyzing different elements of the project when you start assigning resources and costs like we talked about earlier. This software can really save the day on construction scheduling, and it doesn't pay to be doing this by hand any more.
The really nice thing is that keeping schedules updated used to be really tedious. Now there's just almost no excuse.
This course identifies the steps needed to develop a proper plan, and demonstrates how that plan is transformed into a construction schedule. Throughout the course, instructor Jim Rogers shares examples of his own successes and failures in the areas of construction planning and scheduling, so as to lend real-world context to the concepts he covers.
- Types of schedules
- Planning versus scheduling
- Work breakdown structure
- Developing a schedule
- Creating a network model
- Assigning durations, costs, and resources
- Identifying the critical path
- Letting the software do the calculations
- Checking and updating the schedule
- Scheduling's impact on productivity