In Level 1 training, we learned how to set up both our locations and our location systems. In Level 2, we used Task Manager to connect our cost assemblies and components to the labor. WIth Level 3 training, we established our project calendar and created custom views for our scheduling data. And then in Level 4 we focused on some of the tactics we can employ to optimize our schedule: layered logic, crew size, lag, and paced vs ASAP tasks.
This Vico Office Schedule Planner training level examines six different ways to optimize your construction schedule: production rates, crew size, location order, combining tasks, splitting tasks, and adding buffer. We also explore the reporting capabilities and a hidden gem to double-check your schedule strategy.
After watching these video tutorials on schedule optimization tactics, please navigate to the Schedule Planner FAQs to learn even more. We also have a complete recorded Schedule Planner webinar for you to review, as well as a recorded webinar on LBMS and how it complements Last Planner. And when you're ready, please feel free to advance to the next level. You can also request to receive the entire video collection by completing the form on the Vico Office Training Videos page.
Vico Office Schedule Planner Level 5
Step One: A Quick Review of Flowline Scheduling
It's important to review the tenets of flowline scheduling at the start of this training level as we will be investigating six different ways to keep our schedules optimized.
Flowline theory asserts that subcontractors can work at optimum productivity rates with optimum safety and craftsmanship if their location is free of unnecessary materials and other crews.
When subcontrators understand that their work will not be interrupted with stops and starts on the jobsite, they can utilize the correct resources, manpower, and equipment. This efficient cycle keeps productivity rates predictable...and as we see in the video, one counter-intuitive way to decrease the overall schedule duration is to actually slow down some tasks.
For a more complete discussion of flowline theory. LBMS, and Lean Construction pull scheduling, please be sure to watch the recorded webinar.
Step Two: Changing a Crew's Production Factor to Account for Complex Tasks or a Learning Curve
We are always asked this question during our webinars - how do you account for learning curves and installing new materials in a construction schedule. The answer is quite easy - adjust the production factor. You might also adjust the production factor for tasks at the end of each location to account for cleaning up the site and removing equipment. Another time you might want to adjust the production factor is if you happen to have two crews working in the same location - never optimal, but sometimes necessary.
This video shows how to edit a particular task and readjust the production factor settings in the durations tab.
Step Three: Compressing Durations by Optimizing Crew Size
Recall that the slope of the line in a Flowline view represents how quickly the trades are moving through the locations on your construction project. Our goal, of course, is to have these lines run in parallel so that one trade starts a location when the other trade finishes.
We can manually drag and drop the lines so that they run in parallel, but...and this is a big but, you as a scheduler need to make sure of two things:
1.) your subcontractor has the available manpower
2.) your increased labor costs don't go over budget
When you do drag and drop a crew task line, the dialogue box asks us to make a decision: should we change the production factor, the crew size, or the consuption. In this exercise, we'll only work with the crew size. But again, it's critical to point out open communication with your subs. We suggest a Lean Construction pull scheduling session where you commit to continuous flow and they commit their productivity rates.
Step Four: Optimizing Location Order to Improve Overall Schedule Performance
This video illustrates how to look for a bottleneck task and re-order its location. As this example shows, sometimes it is best to sacrifice the efficiency of one task and still achieve overall schedule duration compression.
Step Five: Combine Task Quantities for Crew Efficiency
We can combine tasks when we are certain (and have confirmed with our Sub) that the crew will complete work at the same time. In the example, we combine the two tasks of finishing the concrete slab and stripping the concrete slab.
As the video illustrates, once you've determined the tasks to combine, simply go back to the Task Manager to unassign the strip forms and reassign it to finish concrete.
Step Six: Compressing Construction Schedule Durations by Splitting Tasks
This video discusses a multitude of reasons why you might consider splitting a task into two locations. Let's assume that we have the ability to add crews without going over budget.
In the example we give, we can split the pilecaps task between two crews operating simultaneously in two locations. We do this using the scissor tool from the ribbor or the split button in the task dialogue box.
Step Seven: Adding Buffer to De-Risk the Construction Schedule
We all want our schedules as tight as they can be without increasing the risk on our construction project. We can add buffer between two tasks to account for an anomoly - perhaps the work has a high risk quotient or the location has some added challenges. Whatever the reason, treat buffer as your schedule task's margin of error.
Step Eight: Gantt Chart View Settings and Filters
Many of us are more familiar reading Gantt charts when in comes to construction schedules. This video illustrates how you can use filter options and edit columns, task bar text, and hierarchy levels in the Gantt view. This way, until your team learns how to read a Flowline schedule, you can show a split screen view of the Flowline on top and the Gantt chart on the bottom.
Step Nine: Construction Schedule Reports in Vico Office Schedule Planner
Vico Office Schedule Planner has many reports which you can customize for your executives, the project team, the Subs, and the Owner. There is also a hidden gem called the Feasibility Log -- review it when you think you have completed your schedule. It will give you insight into other avenues and tactics you can try for even better results.
Now that you've seen that setting up a schedule using a BIM model first requires establishing locations and location systems to effectively organize the crews based on quantities by location; then mapping cost assemblies and components to their respective tasks, then creating the project calendar and organizing your custom views of the schedule data; then learning optimization tactics related to logic, crew size, lag, pacing, and ASAP tasks; and then learning different tactics to further optimize the schedule, let's advance to Level Six Schedule Planner Training. We will learn how produce video playbacks of our construction schedule. You can also request to receive the entire video collection by completing the form on the Vico Office Training Videos page.
And remember, you can always jump over to the Vico Office Client tutorial videos.