Vico Guest Blogger Series

Construction Superintendents Just Get Vico Scheduling and Controlling

Posted by Holly Allison on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 @ 08:45 AM


One of the advantages of writing blog articles is that you get immediate feedback – the Vico Community always weighs in with their opinions and insights.


We had written in an article last month about using Vico’s flowline view side-by-side with the traditional Gantt chart view.  This really helps users transition from traditional CPM to Vico’s location-based scheduling environment.  In that article, we had stated that there are four points which make Vico scheduling solutions different than what you currently use for construction planning:

• Quantities by location
• Lean scheduling goals
• The preconstruction schedule doesn’t get thrown away
• Owner deliverables


However, we received some feedback from a Super who is working on a large healthcare project in California.  He wrote in with his thoughts for a fifth point and he gave us an recent example from his project. 


The electrical Sub was working on their slab inserts.  Although he was contracted to 8 days per location, he was actually coming in at 3 days per location.  While you might think this is a good thing, it actually represents a serious problem.  By sticking to their contract duration, the sub was slowing down the schedule for the whole team.  If he was allowed to continue 8 days per location, this would represent a loss of 5 days per location where the next sub could have begun.  This would affect the concrete pours and start of steel fireproofing.


The Super was able to spot this hiccup and address it with the Sub within two weeks of work starting.  After all, he had the quantities per location and the productivity data from the first and second locations, so he was able to show the impact of this behavior in the look-ahead schedule.


And so we wanted to reiterate the Super’s insights as a fifth point to why Vico scheduling solutions are different than the solutions you currently deploy:


5. Know the subs’ scope in relation to the schedule.  With Vico scheduling solutions for project planning and controlling, Superintendents have more educated conversations with the subs.  How so? With a CPM system, you only have dates; but with Vico you have precise quantities per location, historical performance data, and a scientific forecast.  Additionally, Supers can manage the trade handoffs with “Should Start” dates, location systems, and even a quick schedule simulation showing where they will be for the week.  This real-time data is also a great way to prevent Subs from self-correcting because they know the plan is for continuous flow.  After all, you can have a perfectly optimized schedule, but it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if you can’t manage to it in the field.


4. Quantities by Location.  As planners, we create manageable locations and locations systems by trade to tightly organize construction tasks.  When we draw and assign these locations for our BIM models, we can automatically extract the quantities per location. When we garner a sub’s productivity rate (either through a pull scheduling session, a bid, or previous performance data), we can calculate the duration for each location.  And a calculation is better than a best guess.


3. Lean Scheduling Goals.  Just as Lean espouses a clear work area for crews for maximum efficiency, 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 workers.  When subs understand that their work will not be interrupted with stops and starts, they can utilize the correct resources, manpower, and equipment to finish on schedule.


2. The preconstruction schedule doesn’t get thrown away.  This might be a radical departure for some who are used to seeing change orders and claims as part of their daily workload.  Because the original schedule is calculated with subcontractor input, and not contrived, the Superintendent can manage to the baseline schedule.  By entering real-time production data during daily or weekly walk-throughs, the Super can produce Look-Ahead Forecasts which spot potential clashes and cascading delays well in advance.  These can be fixed easily using Vico scheduling calculations and corrected before the problem ever manifests itself.


1. Owner deliverables.  Nothing says complete control of a project like cost- and resource-loaded schedules; cash flow plans; and resource histograms for people, equipment, and materials.  With an integrated 3D-4D-5D workflow like Vico, these reports are automatically updated.  Owners appreciate these real-time views into their project and in many cases even mandate them in the contract language.


superintendents appreciate scientific construction scheduling and controlling with Vico

Caption: Superintendents recognize the optimization logic behind Vico Schedule Planner and Production Controller. After all, a schedule isn't worth the paper it's printed on if it cannot be managed to in the field. Vico Production Controller allows the Super to enter percentage complete per location on a daily or weekly basis. The productivity data, when combined with the known quantities per location, produces a look-ahead schedule which highlights any potential conflicts down the road from this behavior. With this information, the Super can work to get the crew back on track and avoid any cascading delay chains.


Want to see more for yourself?


If you have an hour…

Gather your teammates in the conference room with a projector and a couple pizzas and watch the recorded webinar, Planning AND Controlling the 4D Schedule.


If you have a week…

Consider walking through the Vico Office Training Videos.  The series progresses on our website with additional commentary, or you can choose to download the videos and watch them at your convenience.  Think of this series as your video user manual with segments for scheduling, estimating, and reporting.


If you have 30 days…

Consider our Structured Evaluation Program.  We walk you and your colleagues through the Vico Office Suite with training, exercises, and even homework.  Our standard process dives deep into both scheduling and estimating so your preconstruction and field teams can see the workflow in action and see the benefits.


If you prefer the written word over videos…

Whitepaper: A Comparison of Tradition CPM to Location-Based Scheduling

Whitepaper: The Combination of Last Planner System and Location-Based Management System




Tags: construction production control, LBMS vs CPM, construction schedule, flowline scheduling, Vico Schedule Planner, Vico Production Controller, construction superintendents