A Guide to Construction Scheduling Software

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According to Levelset, construction businesses lose one full day of work every week to inefficiencies in their process. Most cite poor project planning as the main culprit. Construction scheduling software combats this loss in productivity by letting managers and project teams schedule out times for each task.

With optimized schedules, construction teams can work efficiently. At the same time, managers only need to respond to unexpected events rather than day-to-day planning. Improve productivity in the field and increase net revenue by understanding and using construction scheduling software programs.

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What Is Construction Scheduling Software?

Construction site
Photo by PIRO4D on Pixabay

Construction scheduling is when a project is planned task by task to ensure a smooth build. In the past, project scheduling and workflow organization was done by hand on physical Gantt charts. Now, this planning is done using construction scheduling software, which automates much of the process through project management tools. Generally, the project manager and their assistant project manager come up with the schedule using this software—the goal being an accurate list of all work activities needed to complete the construction project.

According to Lorman, “The scheduling software programs now available are capable of handling a large number of activities connected with multiple relationships that more realistically model the true nature of the design and construction process.” In many ways, these programs are far better than manual scheduling ever could be at complex projects like tall buildings or delivery routes.

Types of Construction Scheduling Software

A few types of construction scheduling software and management tools are available based on the functionality needed by the project manager or construction firm.

  • Full-suite project management – Does everything from start to finish, including estimation, request for information (RFI), bidding, scheduling, change orders, and closeout
  • Supply chain management – For construction projects or firms that handle many products or supply procurement and management
  • Transportation and routing scheduling – Helps teams move from site to site many times per day to complete smaller tasks
  • Estimating, bid management, and budgeting tools – For estimating departments to determine project costs, run document management, or do job costing
  • Vendor management – Tracks and communicates with vendors and subcontractors.

Your construction firm might need one or many of these management solutions depending on the size and scope of the projects that you handle.

Features of Construction Project Management Software

There are multiple features to look for in construction scheduling software to help you determine what’s best for your project, job site, and company.

Task Creation

All scheduling programs rely on lists of well-defined tasks to create accurate schedules. Some software options only let you use basic task templates to create your schedule. Top construction scheduling programs feature customizable tasks and complex dependency assignments.

Other task creation-related features to look for include the ability to:

  • Mark parts of the critical path
  • Import tasks, coloring, and coding tasks
  • Create and save custom tasks
  • Show the percentage completion of a task

Schedule Viewing

A Gantt chart is most common for viewing complex construction projects, which is why all software options offer this view method. However, good scheduling software will also allow other viewing options like mind maps, assignment charts, timeline views, and calendar views.

Look for additional viewing features like seeing your team’s active tasks, current team member load, a master project Gantt chart, and days off in the schedule due to holidays or events.

Information Distribution

Information distribution is getting schedules and specifics to the people doing the work. Scheduling software must have a way to do this task, perhaps in the form of a portal for field teams or an export and print option for subcontractors.

Look for the ability to access the software from a mobile device, like a mobile app. Apps are a common feature vital for field teams or mobile project managers who need to access information (like punch lists, for example) at any time.

Special Information Storage

Complex projects often come with specific requirements for the scheduling process. The ability to store this special information and use it in the schedule can be important on complex sites.

For example, after installing erosion control, your team must wait seven days where no work can occur on-site. This delay can only be ended once the established erosion control methods prove successful. Good scheduling software should account for this delay automatically.

Look for software that lets you add information like the specific skills and team members needed for certain tasks, lunch break times, and vehicle capacities (i.e., removing construction debris).

True schedule optimization happens when all of the required information for a set of tasks is present in the system.

3 Best Construction Scheduling Programs for General Contractors

Construction scheduling software helps home builders, general contractors, and small businesses alike. Look at these four construction industry software solutions to see which one is best for your business.

1) Procore

Procore is perfect for general contractors looking for a way to track the schedule alongside the cost of the project and related contracts. Procore is a full-suite software with preconstruction project management, training management, resource management, financial management, and analytics. They market their software to full general or subcontractor companies, as well as public sector organizations.

2) Primavera

Primavera is great for complex projects. It allows any sized construction management firm or subcontractor to get deep into the details of their project schedule. With this software, you can track costs, monitor performance and planned work, integrate accounting and human management systems, and plan and schedule while accounting for both the company’s total resources and the individual project at hand.

3) Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project can be used for staging schedules by any construction management firm or subcontractor. It can be added to their existing Microsoft account and can export to most other scheduling software. While often used as a starting point for a large project, smaller groups can use Project alone for simpler projects with less complex requirements. All tasks must be planned manually, but information can be added, like the person in charge, dates to be done, and dependencies.

Streamline Your Daily Site Visits With OptimoRoute

Choosing the correct construction scheduling software means understanding what your business, managers, and employees need. Different features like task management and schedule viewing will have other priorities for different users. Sometimes for bigger construction companies, all-in-one solutions will do the trick.

However, small businesses looking for scheduling tools might be better off with a targeted program to optimize their job cost and increase their profitability with less investment. 

OptimoRoute for Scheduling, Routing, and More

OptimoRoute is the ideal construction scheduling software for specialty contractors, construction site or safety inspectors or other stakeholders with a large number of sites they must visit each week. Any group that must visit a high number of sites that change each day benefits from our routing and scheduling software.

In addition to scheduling and route optimization the software solves some common mobile workforce management challenges using advanced features that are incredibly easy to use. 

Here are some examples:

  • Vehicle capacity planning: Optimize how much material or supplies you can load on each vehicle when taking supplies between sites.
  • Workload balancing: Even out the number of hours worked or sites visited between team members, site or project managers. 
  • Vehicle tracking: Know where your team members are at any time during the day.
  • Weekly planning: Plan five weeks in advance with all PTO, restrictions, and extra information including time tracking through our Analytics feature.

OptimoRoute automates planning and sending routes to drivers, offers Realtime Tracking, Proof of Delivery, and Analytics. Businesses can chose the pricing plan that suits their needs depending on the number of vehicles they plan on optimizing for.

Use OptimoRoute’s customizable smart technology to plan your employees’ days with time and money savings in mind. Start your free trial today!

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