Starting a project without a schedule is like starting out on a trip without a map or directions. No matter the size or scope of the job, the schedule is the key to jobsite performance and success. At Mark IV Builders we keep the “seven P’s” in mind for scheduling: prior proper planning prevents piss-poor performance.

In addition to assigning dates for specific tasks, we use the project schedule to match our resources — equipment, material, and labor — during the project. Good scheduling eliminates production bottlenecks, ensures that materials are in place when needed, and that we work effectively with subcontractors.

We follow up with all those involved on tasks two weeks, one week, three days, and one day before the scheduled activity (known here as “2131”). Consistent calls to subs and suppliers provide us with information for any schedule adjustments.

Scheduling Tips

A major cause of time and budget overruns are the little details that get pushed off the schedule. If it can be done, don't wait.

  • Prepare a detailed job folder with a well-defined scope of work
  • For all orders, list lead times and expected delivery dates
  • Create a main production schedule with major milestones
  • Have production crews create a daily to-do list. Some of Mark IV’s field crew break the main schedule into weekly segments
  • Use checklists (e.g., for framing, inspection, insulation) so you don’t miss things

With effective scheduling you'll finish as strong as you started. Speaking of finishing: For punch lists, don’t allow your staff or subs to complete the work piecemeal. Insist on 100% completion by a specific date.
—Andy Hannan is production manager of Mark IV Builders, in Bethesda, Md.