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Special Report 14: Staying on schedule - Electronic Edition

Special Report 14: Staying on schedule - Electronic Edition
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Author: Mark A. Smith
[This is the Special Report 14 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Our electronic products download immediately to your computer upon purchase.]

Real pros do it easily - automatically - but many owner-builders lose it right here. The source of untold anguish can be the area of proud accomplishment, if you follow the steps outlined here. Includes oversized schedule forms. Twelve pages, revised and updated with new reader tips, web links and comments. Includes sample schedules and schedule forms.

Topics include:

  • Schedule sequence and components
  • Task durations and lead times
  • Problems with rework
  • Getting subs to show up
  • Developing back-up plans
  • Interviewing subs
  • Building in the off-season
  • Critical path scheduling
  • Accelerated scheduling

Excerpt from Report:


Your project will come in on schedule if three things happen:

a) there is no indecision on your part
b) you have no missing or tardy subs
c) the weather cooperates.

We'll look at 'a' and 'b' in a moment. 'C' is not as tenuous as it sounds. The construction industry works with the vagaries of the weather all the time. You can choose the season you start your project to get generally predictable weather. If you are into a wet season, you take steps to waterproof the structure in a timely manner. If you are into a cold season, you take steps to accomodate freezing. For instance, concrete can be prepared with an additive and mixed with hot water for cold weather pours.

Take These Steps

To accomplish 'a' and 'b' above, I suggest the following steps:

1. Written Schedule.

It needs to be in writing. In advance. Review it with experienced helpers. In advance.

Make sure your schedule includes all the steps you will take. For instance, if you have concrete walks and patios in your plan, make sure you have included concrete flatwork in your plan.

Be sure to have items in approximately the right sequence. For instance you generally wouldn't pour sidewalks until the sheetrock is delivered for drywalling, because the drywall delivery truck is very heavy. It needs to pull close to the structure to hoist all the material into the structure. If the walks are poured they will be in the way and the truck will crack your new concrete. Similarly, the roofing materials truck is very heavy.. It needs to get in and out before walks are poured."...

Sample Reader Tip Excerpts:

“My notebooks are sectioned off for each subcontractor’s specifications and requirements. I have Microsoft Project Manager in my computer system to schedule each step of the project.”
Barry M.
Willowick, OH

“We are scheduling the duplexes one after another so we get a price not for just one but for two. I separated labor and materials and the trades were surprised, but they agreed when I persisted.”
Donald D.
Lewisville, NC

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