The planning phase is a critical part of any construction project and the time when a construction plan is prepared. A construction plan consists of several documents containing the project’s objectives, methodologies and approach, computer-aided designs, photographs, a project schedule, and a work breakdown structure.
A well-crafted construction plan must highlight all activities to be carried out during the project, the timelines for these activities, the order in which they will be carried out, the project’s budget, schedule, staffing, supplies acquisition, and other logistics needed for the successful completion of the project.
Different tools are used for the planning of construction projects. This ranges from basic tools like spreadsheet calculators to more advanced, computer-based tools like computer simulation software.
An AI-powered simulation solution like ALICE Technologies can be used to simulate construction plans and several ‘what if’ scenarios so that you are sure your plans are modeled for all possible contingencies. For more information about this solution, visit https://www.alicetechnologies.com/product/preconstruction.
Before looking at the steps to prepare a construction plan, let’s define some of the basic terms in construction planning.
This is the process of submitting proposals for the project to the client. The bid includes cost estimates and a schedule. The client reviews several bids and selects the bid that he is most satisfied with.
These drawings show the layout of the final project. They also include all the materials and resources needed for the construction.
This refers to all the documents that are submitted to the architect or supervising manager for approval. They include formal requests for supplies, equipment, fittings, and construction drawings.
Scope documentation refers to a number of documents highlighting the project’s deadlines, milestones, objectives, and deliverables.
What are the objectives of the project? Who are the stakeholders involved in the project, and what are their respective interests in the project?
Document the inputs and expectations of the project’s key stakeholders and clients.
No matter how complex a project is, it is possible to break it down into various activities. Draft out a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which is essentially breaking down the entire project into manageable chunks or milestones.
Then, develop a work schedule showing each activity needed to meet the project’s deliverables and allocate some time to each of these activities.
Then, produce a sequencing of activities showing which activities need to be carried out first. Some computer-based tools can help you with this. One such tool, ALICE, helps you in optimizing your sequencing.
Before creating a construction plan, it’s important to identify the resources needed to complete the project. A Project Initiation Document (PID) is used to list all the resources needed for the project.
The document contains details about the workers to be hired on the project, the type and volume of raw materials needed, equipment, and the labor requirement. The PID is usually shared with the client’s representative and all other key stakeholders on the project so that everyone clearly understands what the project entails before construction begins.
Develop the PID into a plan by including clearer and actionable goals. Each of the project’s objectives is mapped to the actions needed to be taken to reach these objectives. The plan is drafted with the SMART guideline in mind. SMART in project management is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
Specific: The onus rests on you to write only specific goals. Saying you need to complete the project in a year’s time, for instance, is too vague. A better approach is stating the percentage of the project that will be completed at a certain time. In essence, set milestones for the project and the corresponding deadlines for each of these milestones.
Measurable: How measurable are the project’s goals? It isn’t easy to track the progress of the work if these goals are immeasurable. It also becomes hard to tell if you are working behind schedule or according to schedule.
Achievable: Ask yourself how achievable the goals and deadlines are and make necessary adjustments accordingly.
Relevant: Prioritize each goal according to how relevant they are to the completion of the project. This will help you and the rest of the team pay more attention to the most critical tasks first.
Time-based: Write down your timelines for each milestone or project goal. This provides clear guidelines for the project and makes it easier to track the project’s progress.
Create a budget containing the cost estimate of materials, equipment, and labor. Include in the budget fees for approval, permits, and other miscellaneous expenses.
A good project team is key to the success of a construction project. Therefore, due diligence must be observed in selecting the members of the project team.
Are you subcontracting any part of the project? Check out the prior experience and deliverables of contractors who have worked on similar projects before making subcontractor selections.
Define the roles and responsibilities of every person involved. Include the team members in the planning process to help them better understand their roles and responsibilities. Also, keep in touch with them throughout the planning stage to be sure everyone’s on the same page.