Finishing a construction project on time and on budget is every builder’s goal. So how do you set yourself up for success? Whether you’re renovating a bathroom or building a new home from the ground up, every construction project starts with a plan.
A construction plan is a document that outlines the tasks, resources, and requirements needed to complete a build on time and budget.
A construction project plan typically includes:
Unexpected weather, supply delays, overbooked crews, and faulty workmanship are just some of the factors that can throw construction projects off schedule. Having a construction management plan makes it easy to spot overages early so you can address issues quickly and minimize the impact of delays.
Construction planning and management sets the stage for success because it gives everyone a clear timeline to follow, with critical information documented in a single source of truth.
Before you start scheduling your next build, take time to gather all the project details—from deadlines and budgets to resources, stakeholders, and materials. Once you’ve got these basics in hand, here are 5 simple construction project planning steps you can follow.
The first step in construction planning is simple: Make a list of all the different tasks, deliverables, and other milestones that stand between you and project completion. You can use a work breakdown structure to itemize everything and get a sense of scope for your construction project.
Group tasks into phases to keep your construction plan neat and tidy as you build it out. We organized tasks in our construction plan template into 3 major phases:
The next step in the construction planning process is to assign a timeline to the work needed to get your project done.
In TeamGantt, construction scheduling is easy! Simply hover over the timeline, and click on the gantt chart to place the taskbar below the date you'd like to schedule your task. Then drag either end of the taskbar to adjust the task’s duration.
Be as realistic as you can about task timing at this stage. Review past construction schedules to compare your planned vs. actual timeline and assess how work really unfolded. Don’t forget to take external factors into account as well, whether it’s seasonal impacts on weather or potential delivery delays.
You can’t frame the roof before walls have been built or hang drywall before the electrical and plumbing have been installed. That’s why dependencies are a critical part of construction project planning and scheduling.
Adding dependencies between tasks ensures work happens in the proper order and gives everyone a clear sense of how their tasks impact others. In TeamGantt, dependencies appear as light gray lines connecting taskbars on the gantt chart.
Work won’t get done on its own. You need people to make it happen, and that’s where resource assignments come in.
Make sure you assign every task and milestone on your construction schedule to the person or team responsible for the work. That way there’s no question as to who’s doing what and when deadlines are.
In TeamGantt, you’ll need to invite people into your project plan before you assign them to tasks. You can also add labels to tasks to categorize them by company, team, priority, or any other category that’s relevant to your construction project.
A construction plan is a living, breathing document that will evolve as work progresses. That’s why it’s important to review your timeline regularly and keep it up-to-date. This will make it easier for you to get ahead of delays and issues before your entire project goes off-track.
Want to get a jump start on your next construction project? Use our free construction plan template to create your own construction job schedule in no time.
Our construction schedule template cuts down the time spent building your construction management plan so you can get to work more quickly. Using TeamGantt for construction planning makes it easy to track progress once your project begins and communicate changes to build teams and subcontractors—both on and off the jobsite.
Before we dig into the construction project schedule example, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of a gantt chart for construction project planning.
In construction project management, you have schedules to wrangle, budgets to balance, and people to keep happy. And changes in one stage of construction can have a domino effect on the rest of your schedule. That’s why building out a comprehensive project plan is so important.
A gantt chart makes it easy to plan, manage, and communicate your construction schedule so everyone’s working toward the same project goal. You can learn more about the benefits of using a gantt chart for construction project management here.
Now that you know why a gantt chart’s great for construction schedules, it’s time to get down to the business of building one!
There are lots of different ways to go about creating a gantt chart for your construction project. Let’s take a closer look at how you can build and manage a construction project schedule of your own in TeamGantt, using our template as an example.
We’ve already mentioned 3 major phases you might consider for your construction plan (preconstruction, construction, and closeout).
But don’t be afraid to break your project down into smaller phases as you build your construction schedule out. This enables you to easily see how each stage of your construction project is progressing and makes rescheduling multiple tasks a whole lot faster.
In TeamGantt, you can do this by converting a task into a subgroup and adding tasks for that phase under the corresponding subgroup. In this example, we created subgroups with detailed tasks for each leg of the MEP rough-in phase:
Color-coding tasks by project phase, person or team responsible, or even priority is another simple way to make your gantt chart easy to scan and understand. In the example above, we color-coded tasks by subgroup.
Watch the video below to see how task colors work in TeamGantt:
Resource management can get a little tricky in construction planning because you’ve got so many different subcontractors and schedules to balance. With TeamGantt’s workload features, you can avoid messy scheduling conflicts and overbooked field crews.
Simply click the Availability tab at the bottom of your gantt chart for a heatmap view of the number of tasks (or hours) each person on your project is currently assigned to each day. Select any cell to see a popup of all tasks assigned to that person or label on that day.
Every construction project has certain milestones you need to hit to ensure things are tracking in the right direction. You might set contract approvals, construction inspections, draw requests, or even phase completions as milestones on your project plan.
The construction project plan example below shows milestones as a yellow diamond on the gantt chart. The light blue vertical bar indicates the current date, making it easy to see that this project’s running behind schedule.
Using TeamGantt’s hourly estimation and time tracking features (available in the Advanced plan) brings a powerful benefit to your project. You can see how actual work is tracking against your plan, making it easy to identify existing or potential overages.
Simply look for the thin striped line that appears in the middle of each taskbar on your gantt chart and note its color and length.
Here are the red flags to watch out for:
Have you ever built a beautiful project schedule, only to have a customer request or construction delay put a wrench in your plan? It happens.
Adding dependencies to tasks can speed up schedule adjustments and ensure work continues to happen in the right order. If you move one task on the schedule, all the dependent tasks move right along with it.
Of course, if your construction schedule changes, you’ll need to communicate the new plan to your subcontractors and customers. Post updates and attach change orders to your project’s discussion tab so nothing gets lost in the mix.
With TeamGantt’s mobile app, field crews can pull up the latest schedule and get notified of changes in real time, no matter where they’re hard at work.
The final stretch of any construction project plan is full of little details as you work to knock out the punch list. Here’s an example of how you can use task subgroups in TeamGantt to keep track of all the moving pieces.
Simply add each fix as a task under your “Punch list” subgroup, and assign punch list items to the person responsible to avoid confusion about who’s doing what. You can even color-code punch list tasks by subcontractor.
If subcontractors and field crews don’t have access to your gantt chart, use our Excel construction punch list template to share and track outstanding items.
Keeping up with all the closeout documents you’ll need to wrap up a construction job is no simple feat. It can take a lot of time and wrangling.
TeamGantt makes it easy to store and manage construction closeout documents in a single, centralized hub. Upload a digital copy of each closeout doc to your construction project’s closeout task in your gantt chart—or create a subgroup with an itemized task for each closeout item—so all your paperwork is organized and accessible in one place.
Ready to plan a construction project of your own? Save time building your next construction schedule by using our free in-app template.
TeamGantt takes the sweat out of construction planning, scheduling, and management. And because everything happens online in real time, chasing down updates will finally be a thing of the past.
Your team and subcontractors can even use TeamGantt’s mobile app to log their progress out in the field so you always know where your project stands.
Sign up for a free TeamGantt account today, and get started quickly with our free construction plan template!