Mission Critical: Why Your Construction Scheduling Software Matters

Proper planning and timing are critical to any project - but when it comes to construction project scheduling, the groundwork laid in the planning phase can make or break you.

Proper planning and timing are critical to any project - but when it comes to construction project scheduling, the groundwork laid in the planning phase can make or break you.

A comprehensive construction schedule combines important project scope, timeline, and budget details into a plan of action. It affects everything - from resource allocation to onsite risk management. Most importantly, it directly impacts your bottom line - so it’s important to get it right.

When even a minor mistake or setback can result in cascading delays to the construction timeline (potentially triggering liquidated damages), the use of construction scheduling software is critical. Construction scheduling software allows GCs, developers, and project managers to design comprehensive schedules which factor in labor, equipment, and material utilization - but the usefulness of those schedules can vary greatly, depending on the tools and methods used to design them.

Construction Scheduling : The Best Methods

With so many variables involved (and so much at stake), the best methods for construction project scheduling are a matter of much debate. Tried-and-true techniques for creating and tracking construction timelines range from the use of simple Gantt charts, to more complicated methods such as resource-oriented scheduling, PERT, or Q construction scheduling.

Though each traditional approach has both weaknesses and strengths, they all share one fatal flaw: the creation of a construction schedule centered on a single variable. On complex projects, where delivery hinges on the timely completion of thousands of interdependent tasks, this is a faulty approach.

Mainstream adoption of the Critical Path Method (CPM) greatly improved the efficiency of construction scheduling, in the absence of more sophisticated alternatives. Because CPM focuses on the logical, progressive completion of a sequence of dependent tasks, it is very useful for demonstrating where and when breakdowns in the construction timeline might occur (or for documenting delays, after the fact). Still, CPM has failed to adapt to the increasing scale and complexity of modern projects.

That’s why we designed ALICE.

ALICE Outperforms CPM

ALICE is a power tool - and its capabilities far exceed those of CPM for construction scheduling. CPM relies on rigidly defined sequences (first this, then that) to establish a pathway to completion. This is helpful for demonstrating logical progression, but it can be very limiting - especially when the unexpected occurs.

CPM approaches construction scheduling like a recipe - you preheat the oven; then, you mix eggs, flour, sugar, and oil in a bowl; you grease a pan, pour the batter, and place the pan in the oven. The sequence of work is largely predefined by dependency - you can’t pour the batter if you haven’t mixed the ingredients (just as you can’t build a roof without pouring a foundation) - but what if it was more efficient to add flour, sugar, oil, and then eggs? What if you’ve run out of ingredients, and need to substitute butter for oil? This is where the CPM process breaks down.

CPM is unable to propose alternatives (or adjust for deviations) in the moment. When delays or challenges affect construction project scheduling, it can take weeks (or months) of recalibration to gain the visibility required to get your project back on track.

Mathematically, there are thousands of ways (often, millions!) to construct even the simplest design. The potential options and strategies are so vast that assessing them manually is an impossible feat. The use of artificial intelligence can solve this dilemma by analyzing each potential scenario to reveal the best pathway forward. 

ALICE’s powerful construction scheduling software explores your options quickly and efficiently. A single optimization can analyze all available data at top speed, allowing the user to choose their ideal construction schedule. ALICE streamlines the initial planning and scheduling of large-scale construction and proactive reassessment of baseline scheduling as a project progresses - as well supporting the speedy recovery of distressed projects.

Construction Scheduling: Optimized

ALICE’s AI-based construction scheduler optimizes your construction project timeline - and allows you to adjust quickly to changing variables and conditions. Our construction scheduling software is fast and flexible, utilizing an innovative approach to scheduling efficiency which eliminates the downtime experienced under traditional methods.

An optimized construction project schedule helps you:

Improve planning
AI-driven simulations help you create better project plans from the beginning. Virtual projections allow you to create “what-if” scenarios for building, so you can assess thousands of potential pathways to completion. Analyze best-case scenarios, identify potential challenges, and develop contingency plans  - before you’ve even committed to a project.

Reduce risk
The larger the project, the larger the risks. Failing to meet scheduling constraints is a major one - especially on projects where late delivery triggers liquidated damages. ALICE helps you monitor and reassess scheduling as your project proceeds, so you can proactively identify issues or delays, and adjust accordingly.
Eliminate overruns
ALICE recognizes the effect of scheduling changes on budget, identifying potential budgeting issues before they occur - and making helpful suggestions that help you avoid overruns in cost.  

Increase productivity
Efficient scheduling drives productivity throughout the entire project lifecycle. From planning to completion, ALICE maximizes use of project resources and budget, while eliminating onsite downtime - so the efforts of your entire team go further.

Maximize labor
With labor shortages on the rise, time management is critical. Smart scheduling allows you to accomplish more with a smaller team. ALICE uses AI to manage labor effectively, continuously evaluating the onsite distribution of workers and equipment, and its effect on project progression. ALICE suggests construction scheduling improvements that boost efficiency, synchronize team efforts, and reduce idle time

Invest in Success

There’s no question that a solid construction timeline plays a crucial role in the success of large-scale construction projects. An investment in AI-driven construction scheduling software offers outstanding ROI. Preserve your company’s profits, while optimizing your efforts for maximum impact - learn more about how ALICE can help you schedule around project delays and get back on track

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