Construction programmes help to coordinate all the activities required to successfully complete a construction project.
We’re diving in to find out more about this essential tool, which can help with everything from planning costs to allocating resources, and scheduling tasks and activities.
Why is a construction programme important?
As well as being a contractual requirement, a construction programme is an essential management tool, enabling forward-planning to ensure projects are delivered on time, within budget and to a high quality.
Construction programmes clearly outline a project’s scope of work, identifying timescales, lead times, development phases and durations, as well as the sequence of activities and the human and material resources needed to reach each milestone. Project budgets and cashflow can also be incorporated.
A thorough construction programme can help to identify tasks which can be carried out simultaneously and those which rely on other jobs having been completed first. It can assist site managers in allocating staff to jobs, ensuring no time or money is lost between phases.
What are construction programmes used for?
A valuable tool, used by senior staff and managers, construction programmes allow an onsite team to monitor project progress, plan resource allocation and ensure that projects can be completed efficiently.
Construction programmes are working documents which can be continually updated to account for unforeseen changes to schedule, additional requirements or delays. They can also be shared with clients, contractors and colleagues to communicate plans, evidence progress and manage expectations.
Who is responsible for creating a construction programme?
Depending on the scale of a project, planners, project managers or programme consultants may be responsible for creating construction programmes.
Planners oversee and account for site logistics, deploying workers, managing budgets and keeping work on track. They work closely with many other professionals, drawing on the skills of estimators, engineers, surveyors and more, to help them draw up a thorough schedule of works and manage conflicting priorities.
For smaller construction projects, such as home building or renovations, individuals may create their own schedules of work for contractors to follow.
What should be factored in when creating a construction programme?
In order to create a construction programme, planners and project managers will need to:
Planners need to have a clear understanding of project objectives and deliverables, so they can gain relevant information to help them create a plan of action. They’ll need to talk to contractors and gain estimates to find out how long each job might take and note down information on inspections, budgets, materials, lead times and staff numbers.
Once planners have a clear idea of the scope of work, they can start to break a project into manageable steps. With the help of other construction professionals, they’ll plan out the order that works need to take place in. Then, they’ll draw together all the estimated timescales to plot a schedule of activities and break large jobs into phases.
Create a timeline
Programme consultants may use bespoke project management tools to help them create Gantt charts and depict activity using a visual timeline. However they compile the schedule of works, it is important that they give each phase a realistic start and end date.
Execute the plan
When a plan has been drafted, it’s shared with project managers and contractors to ensure it’s realistic and fit for purpose. Once it’s signed off, planners will allocate jobs to buyers, suppliers and other colleagues, via a digital workspace or similar alternative which allows them to assign jobs across teams. Then, the work can get underway!
Make regular reviews
To be truly effective, construction programmes should be continually referred to, allowing staff to monitor progress, account for changes to the schedule and identify where further resources might be needed. Planners and project managers will need to keep adjusting the plan, adapting to changing expectations, monitoring cashflow and making the project more efficient.