Scheduling Your Subcontractors
And Materials Deliveries
Orchestrating the symphony that
is home building, the owner builder always has to struggle with
the complexities of scheduling
This section of our online course in home building for owner builders is where the plan you developed at planning
of the construction project is put into action! You have already laid out the sequence of building activities (which
activity follows which activity) and determined how long each activity
should take to complete.
Here (on this page) we're not talking about
planning. We're talking about implementing the
plan! And we're
going to use the Critical Path Method
Diagram (CPM) to illustrate some
simple methods of scheduling the day-to-day activities of subcontractors
and materials deliveries.
done most of the difficult work in scheduling construction when
you developed the Critical Path Method Diagram. Now it's a matter
of implementing your plan. Again, the purpose of developing
the Critical Path Method Diagram was to see how the home goes
together sequentially, to see which tasks could overlap, and to
be able to visualize it all over time. Now we will see how to
use that Critical Path Method Diagram for day-to-day residential
Using the Critic In Scheduling Construction
Look at the Critical Path Diagram
example again. Notice the scale at the top of the diagram with
each number representing one day.
Click here for a page of Calendar
The way you use these is to cut
the strips apart and tape them together end-to-end. Next, write
a date in each box, starting at the left end with the date you
plan to start construction, and placing each succeeding day
in the next column to the right. Omit Saturdays and Sundays.
The drawing above shows how to use the Critical
Path Method Diagram and
the Calendar Strips to maintain
control of the project. The drawing shows the project starting
on January 1. Notice that days 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25,
and 31 are omitted in January. In this example, these are Saturdays
This doesn't mean that you can't
work on weekends. In fact, those two extra days eachweek may be a good time for you to
make up time lost to inclement weather or other delays. We just don't use those days for planning purposes. But that's just us. If you want to schedule the work six or seven days a week, be our guest. Finding subcontractors who will work that schedule is another matter!
you will tape your calendar strip to the wall and put your Critical
Path Diagram under it so that the current day's activities coincide
with today's date (as shown in the illustration), you can easily
tell on what date a future activity should occur.
string or a strip of colored paper from the current date will
create a Date Line. The Date Line will let you see immediately
where you are in the project. Looking ahead you can schedule
deliveries and subs for several weeks in advance.
If you lose
a day, simply slide the CPM Diagram over. Be sure to advise
suppliers and subs of the delay so that people and materials don't
start showing up early.
A large builder in the Southeast
developed his own scheduling construction method. It's a Scheduling
Strip. We have included the Scheduling
When these are cut out and taped together end-to-end, they form
a simplified construction schedule. One of these Scheduling Strips
is assigned to each home the builder has under construction.
Scheduling Strips are lined up under a date strip according
to where they are in the construction process. By hanging a
Date Line from the current date, it is easy for the superintendent
to see how to schedule his work on all the houses.
Strip doesn't show some of the relationships revealed in the
CPM Diagram, but the superintendent knows the process, and
it's enough to keep him on track.
When you are ready to
actually begin construction, you should contact all of your subs
and let them know approximately when you will require their services.
As the time draws nearer, you can give them a specific date.
something happens to delay construction, be sure to notify your
subs of the delay. One thing you don't want to do is have subs
show up before you are ready for them. Once that happens, it
tends to be a little harder to get them back when you need them.
Scheduling of materials is a bit
easier. Usually two or three days is sufficient time to get a
delivery to the job site, unless fabrication is required.
A good example would be
trusses, which typically take weeks to fabricate. wWhen pricing materials, find out which items are stock,
which are special order, and the lead time for special order items.
to make sure the materials are on the job site before the subs
arrive. Don't schedule both to arrive the same morning. Your subs
will arrive at 7:00, and the materials won't show up until 10:30.
You'll have some angry subs on your hands.
If you're expecting
framing subs on Tuesday, have the framing materials delivered
on Monday. The materials suppliers have to load their trucks and
deliver their materials so that they make most efficient use of
their equipment. They can't always guarantee delivery at a specified
time, like "first
thing in the morning."
For additional insight to the Scheduling the construction work,
see Lesson Thirteen of our online course
Successful Home Contracting.
Return to the Contracting Process