A Quick Intro to Construction Planning and Scheduling

Effective construction planning and scheduling are crucial for successfully integrating all construction activities and phases required to complete a project within a specified budget and timeframe. Planning and scheduling are two distinct functions, but they are interdependent and essential for effective project management.

Construction planning involves selecting appropriate policies, procedures, and processes to accomplish your project objectives. Construction scheduling involves transforming your construction project's action plans for scope, time, cost, and quality into a practical calendar. Adapting the project specifications to include requirements for resources such as labour, equipment, materials, and communication, as well as addressing risks and procurement, is a crucial step for your project team in creating an operational workflow system.

Your schedule, along with your project plan and budget, is a crucial tool for effectively managing your projects. Furthermore, incorporating an integrated or coordinated cost-time schedule serves as the basis for overseeing and managing tasks throughout your project's entire lifespan.

Why construction planning and scheduling matter

Effective planning and scheduling are crucial to ensure timely and cost-effective completion of your construction project. A well-planned construction schedule not only sets the pace of your work but also determines how your work will be executed. Defining your processes, methods, and sequences for placing materials is also helpful.

Meticulously preparing your construction schedule ahead of time can greatly enhance your efficiency and productivity. When your construction schedule permits you to enhance your quality control measures, it becomes easy to sequence the work and ensure that the appropriate quality and quantity of materials are utilized in each step.

Procurement of materials and resources is on track since you can utilize your schedule to procure the appropriate materials precisely when you require them. Using your schedule to track which worker is on site and ensuring that protection guidelines are properly followed can improve safety performance.

A dependable construction schedule enables you to distribute your time efficiently among all project stakeholders, enabling them to plan their activities more effectively. When you have complete control over your project, you can minimize unexpected issues, which helps you prevent budget overruns and schedule delays.

Construction planning

Effective construction planning and scheduling are crucial for successfully integrating all construction activities and phases required to complete a project within a specified budget and timeframe. Planning and scheduling are two distinct functions, but they are interdependent and essential for effective project management.

Having an efficient construction plan is essential for establishing both the finances and schedule for the entire project. Developing a construction plan is a crucial and demanding responsibility in the field of construction management.

In order to successfully complete the project, it is necessary to address both the technical aspects and the organizational decisions related to the relationships between project stakeholders and subcontractors.

Simply tracking and utilizing construction data for a single project is insufficient. Storing data over a long period is particularly advantageous for real estate developers. Maintaining CRE data , also known as commercial real estate data, is crucial because it enables more informed decision-making.

There are three primary types of planning for construction projects.

  1. Strategic planning
  2. Strategic planning in Construction

    It entails the careful selection of project objectives at a high level. Corporate planners typically handle strategic planning for project owners. To accomplish the owner's project objectives, they determine which project to undertake and set a deadline for completion. The project teams then create a master construction execution plan that adheres to the guidelines established in the strategic and contracting plans.

  3. Operational planning
  4. The construction teams need to engage in meticulous planning to ensure that the project's strategic objectives are met. In order to prepare the construction master plan, the project teams must first answer a series of questions. Only then can they proceed with detailing the construction schedule.

    • Is it likely that the operational plan will be completed by the target date set in the strategic plan?
    • Does the company have enough construction resources and services to achieve the project objectives?
    • How will the new project affect the current workload?
    • Where can we obtain the necessary resources to manage any potential overload?
    • Which company policies could potentially hinder the plan from achieving the target date?
    • Are long delivery equipment or materials typically involved?
    • Have the project concepts and design been firmly established and are they ready for construction to begin?
    • Has the initial contract plan remained valid?
    • Would it be more cost-effective to utilize a fast-track scheduling method?

  5. Scheduling
  6. The process entails creating a comprehensive operational plan that is aligned with the strategic objectives and includes a specific timeline.

    Schedule in Construction

Steps in planning a construction project

Modern construction planning may be traced back to Chris Hendrickson's Project Management for Construction, a book released in 1998 that laid the groundwork for the traditional method of generating a building plan. It is typical practice in development to prioritize either cost or time constraints.

Construction planning can be either cost-oriented or schedule-oriented. Cost-oriented project planning distinguishes between costs that are incurred directly in the performance of an activity and those that are incurred indirectly for the accomplishment of the project. Indirect costs may comprise of expenses incurred for project financing that has been borrowed and overhead items. In schedule-oriented planning, the critical focus is on the timeline of project activities, which is considered crucial.

The focus of the planning is to ensure that activities are carried out in the correct order and that resources are scheduled efficiently. This leads to the implementation of critical path scheduling procedures, which ensure smooth workflows, and job shop scheduling processes, which optimize the utilization of resources over time. Regardless of the focus of your construction planning, effective delivery, schedule, and budget are always interconnected and major concerns.

After determining your planning emphasis, it's important to take into account all other functional requirements for your construction planning.

  1. Selecting the appropriate technology and construction methods to use
  2. Selecting the appropriate technology and construction methods is crucial for the successful execution of your project. The decision to construct concrete structures on site or order pre-fabricated ones will have a direct impact on the cost and duration of the construction process. Selecting the appropriate digital solution for your project is crucial for your team's productivity. It directly impacts the time required to complete various tasks and the flow between them by minimizing administrative duties.

  3. Determining job duties
  4. Defining various work tasks is crucial in framing the schedule of your construction activities because construction planning determines your construction scheduling. By estimating the necessary resources and scheduling the critical paths among tasks, you can determine the required sequences and timetable. Defining appropriate work tasks can be a tedious process, but it is necessary when applying formal scheduling processes and standardizing specific tasks. Once tasks are defined correctly, a hierarchy of activities emerges. For instance, in a roadway project plan, the activities can be visualized as shown in this example.

  5. Activity correlations and critical flow
  6. Once you have defined the after-work activities, you can proceed to specify the relationships among them. Precedence relations refer to the specific order in which tasks and activities must occur. There are several natural sequences that are necessary for construction activities to ensure structural integrity, comply with regulations, and meet other technical requirements.

  7. Estimating activity durations
  8. Activity duration in Construction

    It is important to keep in mind that each work activity has a specific time duration, which serves as the basis for creating a schedule. Formal scheduling depends on both duration estimates and defined precedence relations. Accurately estimating the time needed for tasks and activities, based on historical records, is crucial to prevent delays.

  9. Work resource estimation
  10. In addition to considering precedence relations and time durations, resource requirements are also estimated for each activity. By accurately estimating the resource requirements for each activity, based on their detailed definitions, you can also determine the specific resource requirements for the entire project. This approach helps to prevent problems with resource allocation and procurement.

  11. Establishing a coding system
  12. Establishing a coding system for each of the identified activities facilitates improved integration of organizational efforts and enhances information flow. A coding system enables you to establish consistent definitions and categories for items and activities across projects and among stakeholders involved in the project. Coding systems facilitate the retrieval of historical data related to the cost, productivity, and duration of your activities. Combining this with a construction management software that stores all your data in a centralized location can further enhance the efficiency of your coding system.

    To create a comprehensive construction plan and convert it into a schedule, it is essential to follow these steps. The process of construction planning extends beyond the time frame following the awarding of a contract. Incorporating it into your facility design is crucial and should be an ongoing process.

Five phases of construction

Construction planning and scheduling play critical roles in five major phases of a standard construction project.

  1. Initiation
  2. During this phase, your project idea is assessed to determine its feasibility and whether or not it should be pursued. This marks the initial stage of a project, during which the objectives of the project are identified and clearly defined.

  3. Planning
  4. Construction Planning

    During this phase, the project will be further developed and the necessary details will be outlined to ensure that the project goals are met. During this phase, you will identify all the necessary work that needs to be completed, the required tasks and resources, and develop a strategy to ensure their successful completion. The project manager typically prepares a project budget to estimate the costs of labor, equipment, and materials. After determining every planning detail, it is important to document them in a quality plan that includes targets, assurance, control measures, building codes, and customer criteria. At this point, the project should be prepared for implementation.

  5. Execution
  6. Construction Execution

    Welcome to the implementation phase, where the project plan is put into action on site. Effective project control and communication are crucial during the execution phase. The project manager possesses the authority to steer the project's course by monitoring progress reports and activity performance. Any deviation from the plan must be identified and rectified. The objective of taking action is to adhere to the original plan consistently, which is why it is crucial to report progress promptly.

  7. Monitoring
  8. During the execution phase, the monitoring phase takes place concurrently. It encompasses all aspects of progress and performance measurement to ensure that the project adheres to the construction plan and schedule.

  9. Closure
  10. After all project deliverables have been completed and approved by the client, the project can be closed. This phase encompasses all the activities that are associated with the final handover to the customer.


In order to achieve success with your construction projects, it is crucial to engage in meticulous planning to develop a schedule that enables you to complete your projects within the designated timeframe and budget. Creating and implementing construction plans and schedules can be time-consuming. However, the time invested in this process will be outweighed by the time saved during the actual construction work.