Why multi tool?
An architect produces drawings to convey to the builder what is to be built, and the builder produces the construction plan to communicate to the trade subcontractors the order of the construction works. The plan shows the commencement dates for each activity, their duration and interrelationship. With this information, and the cooperation of all concerned, the project should run smoothly.
The construction plan has many uses, it like a multi-tool of the building process. These include:
The interrelationship of activities is the most important information conveyed by the construction plan. It shows which activities must be completed before another may commence. This is the basis of the coordination of any project, no matter how small or large. Coordination on a small job with little space (eg a domestic bathroom renovation) may well be more important than on a large project where trades who have been upset in their work can relocate to another area.
It should be remembered that most builders do not build, but coordinate the work of trade subcontractors. The principal role of the builder then is to plan, coordinate and monitor the work of others.
Timely purchasing prevents delays on the project. The construction plan is capable of showing the latest dates on which purchases should be made to have the materials delivered when needed.
Lead times may be shown (lead times are the time required between placing an order and delivery). This time may be for fabrication or import. The latest dates for the negotiation and signing of subcontracts would also be shown.
The construction plan is also useful in showing the delivery dates for materials that may be continually delivered over an extended period, such as concrete, reinforcement or bricks.
The dates would relate to materials that may have their purchase negotiated as soon as possible but their delivery ordered at various points through the project.
From the detailed construction program an accurate cashflow may be prepared. This may then be used to provide the client with an advance progress claim schedule. It will also allow the builder to determine with reasonable accuracy drawings for supplier and subcontract payments. Any holding charge or interest payments required by the project in its early stages may be calculated and any necessary loan negotiated.
Cost control tool
The construction plan also doubles as a financial monitor. If an activity is 50 per cent complete, it should be claimed and probably paid to 50 per cent.
If the work was 50 per cent complete but more than 50 per cent of the cost had been incurred, investigations should be made. From this the actual cost to complete should be determined. Alternative methods should be sort to restrain cost in completing the activity and so preserve the margin.
This is to monitor actual performance. The construction plan should be marked up as work proceeds - this will show progress on the total project. When ever an activity falls behind program, that is the area that demands the greatest management attention.
Close attention to all activities is the role of the builder. Any activity that is ahead of schedule could be as damaging to the smooth progress of a job as an activity behind program. Other activities that have erratic progress are just as dangerous.
Once the construction plan or program has been incorporated in the contract, any delay on the part of a
trade subcontractor or major supplier may be regarded as a fundamental breach of contract. This would
be the case if the delay caused the builder financial damages.