Construction scheduling is essential to every project. In fact, it’s often the main aspect holding teams back. Learn how to take control of your team's schedule and deliver better results!
Construction scheduling is essential to every project. In fact, it’s often the main aspect holding teams back. Over 40% of construction workers say scheduling errors interrupt their workflow daily.
That’s right — simply knowing who is working where and when is the leading challenge in construction projects today. And these small scheduling errors can also lead to much larger problems such as:
- Shifts that are difficult for workers to complete, such as doubles or 6 or 7-day work weeks
- Poor communication
- Low client satisfaction
- Profit lost
- Hiring unknowns who may or may not be able to perform the work you need
No one wants these issues to rule their construction company, but how can we stop them from sneaking in in the first place? More often than not, the answer is solid construction scheduling.
In the post below, we’ll share various tips and tricks, all centered around scheduling your team. By implementing the advice that works best for you, you can expect higher levels of both worker and client satisfaction, increase profit margin, and a lot less stress.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive into construction scheduling.
Introducing Construction Project Scheduling Software
We say solid construction scheduling is essential to smooth-moving work days, but you may wonder — is that even possible?
Construction scheduling is complicated. It’s filled with tons of moving pieces, and oftentimes each little task is done by a different person.
You need to know how long your work is expected to take, who is on site at what time, what day supplies need to be dropped off and/or restocked, and so much more. You need to ensure your project participants get enough hours without overworking themselves or running up your overtime bill too. And that’s just for one project — now picture the fact that you might have multiple jobs running at once, and the chaos is sure to ensue.
So, how can you do it? How can you find construction scheduling success? Turning to technology is often a good place to start. Construction scheduling software can help you create timelines, fill in workers, and spot the gaps you may not have noticed if you were writing things out on your own. This can be used along with your construction communication software.
But there are a few things you know before you implement these softwares — the good, the bad, and the ugly of project schedules included:
“The Good” of Construction Scheduling
Construction schedules can be used not only to tell project participants what to do and when to do it, but also to track work-related goals and milestones. They can make it easier to understand what day specific products, like tools and materials, will be needed, and provide a way to put that date on the calendar so everyone knows it is happening.
Schedules can help customers achieve satisfaction, as clients know what is being done at all times, as well as when the project is supposed to be finished. And we all know that customers want to know what is happening and when in their home, rightly so.
Schedules can even help spot previously-hidden struggles in the construction process, as it’ll be easier to pinpoint issues when you can see the exact date and time your team starts falling behind because of them.
“The Bad” of Construction Scheduling
The largest negative about construction schedules is it can take a lot of time to manage a schedule. They can be created incorrectly, leading to numerous issues. The schedule may miss important information, such as when supplies are needed or when they will be dropped off.
They may not fit into the availability of the client (i.e. starting a bathroom remodel at 6 AM on a Sunday). Schedules may not leave extra time for weather concerns when the work needs to be completed outside. They may also get mixed up when project participants need time off mid project.
Schedules may not be communicated appropriately to the team in an appropriate manner, which can lead to unavailable project participants or unhappy workers who show up late or do not show up at all.
“The Ugly” of Construction Scheduling
And then come the worst aspects of construction schedules — they may not be used by your project participants. This makes their creation feel like lost time, as the hours you spent working on them did not alleviate missed due dates, more overtime worked, or less productivity during project participants’ shifts.
Along with all the pertinent pieces of information shared above, you’ll also want to remember that some of your project participants may be resistant to change — or even technology entering their workforce in any fashion.
This is common because construction is such a diverse industry. Many workers, for example, have been in the field for decades and aren’t yet ready to give up on the ways they were initially trained with. Others may have taken on their position because they prefer to work with their hands, so technology doesn’t seem to fit into their preferred working methods. Some teams you work alongside may already be utilizing another software already, or they may have lost data via tech in the past, creating an experience they do not wish to repeat.
To show how common these issues are, consider this statistic from a study on technology challenges in the construction industry: 60% of contractors have attempted to implement construction scheduling technology, but have hit a roadblock when their project participants were unhappy or unwilling to adapt.
So, how can you successfully support construction workers who do not appreciate the use of your upcoming construction scheduling technology?
Above all else, it is important to come from an understanding point of view, and provide the tools your project participants need for scheduling success. For example, if your workers aren’t big fans of learning new technology, consider choosing a software that works with the devices they already know.
Many scheduling apps can be used on smartphones, and some even integrate text messages, so project participants can simply be told where they need to be and what time to show up.
Making sure your entire team is comfortable with your construction scheduling choice will help ensure they use it too — effectively taking away the long list of issues that can come from unused schedules.
Getting New Members on Track
Construction scheduling success isn’t only about your current project participants. It’s also about the subcontractors you use on and off, the brand new employee on their first day in the field, the supplier you chose for a special project, but may never need to purchase from again, etc.
After all, the construction field is filled with relationships of all forms. Sometimes you work with specific individuals for years, while other times you may meet someone once and never partner up again.
Your schedule needs to include all these project participants, as well as be easy to use without formal training for your workers, which are used on a more one-off basis.
Your software should be easy to understand for turnover purposes. Did you know that according to construction industry statistics, 16-20% of the average construction worker’s salary can be lost when one worker quits and a new one begins? It takes time, effort, and hours to train new workers in. Make sure your construction schedule training isn’t wasting funds when new workers join your team.
Supporting Speakers of Other Languages
Even if your project participants appear fairly tech-savvy, other obstacles may come up that make your scheduling system complicated. One of those roadblocks is a language barrier.
Statistics on challenges posed by language barriers in construction are shown in the table below:
So even if you do not have any speakers of other languages on your team right now, there’s a pretty good chance you will in the future.
Why is this a concern? If some of your workers do not speak English fluently, they may have a harder-than-average time trying to understand:
- Where to be
- When to be there
- And what to do when they arrive
Thankfully, language barriers are easy to beat with a translation tool. And if the ability to switch between languages is located inside your scheduling app or software, you and your project participants will experience far fewer miscommunications regarding what needs to be done and when.
Translation capabilities within a construction scheduling app can look like:
- The ability to choose a language within each user’s application functions
- The ability to translate messages received and/or messages sent within the software, whether the topic relates to the schedule or another work-related concern.
These features, as well as any other version of language learner support, will make a difference on your path toward your construction scheduling success.
Choosing the Right Construction Scheduling Software
Now that we’ve covered some of the most important aspects to consider when creating your construction schedule, let’s look into how to choose the right software or application for your company.
Here are some questions you’ll want to ask before making your final choice:
- How much does the app cost?
- Is it easy to use?
- What features does the specific app offer?
How Much Does the Construction App Cost?
This is important because it affects your project budget. You want to choose a software with a price point that will pay for itself. If it’s not too expensive, it’ll likely even out — or even save you money in the long run — when you look into the miscommunications and mistakes avoided because of its use.
If you have a large team, even the highest-priced applications might make sense, as they’ll save you from having to pay an employee to create handwritten schedules for every worker and project.
The average costs of today’s top construction scheduling apps are shown below for your planning purposes:
Free software for construction scheduling is also available, though they typically don’t have the variety of features that the higher-priced versions offer.
Is it Easy to Use?
This is where you’ll want to consider the ease of use features we mentioned earlier. You may want to ask questions like:
- Does the software you’ve chosen work on smartphones, so your project participants won’t need to learn a technology that is unfamiliar to them?
- Is the setup straightforward, or does it need training for each new member of the team?
- Is there a way for non-smartphone users to access the application, or at least the schedule it creates?
When considering the ease of use, be sure you think of every member of your team and how they will feel. You want this schedule to work for your consistent employees and one-off workers, as a cohesive method will lead to fewer mistakes and miscommunications down the line.
What Features Does the Specific App Offer?
When it comes time to consider features, begin by writing down everything you need — or want — your construction scheduling tool to do. This will ensure you aren’t missing any important aspects, and it will also help you recognize features that you would never use.
Why is this important? Because an app filled with unusable features may feel crowded, or even difficult for your project participants to use. That’s not even considering the higher price point you will have to pay for all those unwanted capabilities.
Choosing a construction scheduling software with the features you want — and not many extras — is the perfect way to cut down on both confusion and cost for your company and its workers.
If you’re looking for a construction scheduling application that is simple, user-friendly, and cost-efficient, you may want to consider a lite software that does only the most important parts of the job.
Here at Rivet, we’ve created a construction communication software that includes some of your construction scheduling needs:
- Schedule creation
- Strong communication
- Simple setup
- Translation tools
Even though Rivet is a construction communication app, it allows you to schedule events and tasks on a shared project calendar that’s easy-to-use and lets you send those things to people off the platform via email or SMS. This is often enough for smaller, low maintenance teams. Each project participant can also receive their workloads via the app on their smartphone or a direct text message, making it convenient for everyone you work with.
For teams that need more, Rivet offers a simple to use project info hub where you can link out to external apps and documents so project participants don’t have to scroll through email or texts to find links to your schedule, plans, or any other critical information they need to get the work done and get paid.
How does this relate to scheduling? If one of your project participants has a question on where they need to be or what they should be doing once they get there, it’s extremely easy to send a message to a project specific chat where anyone from your team can get back to them. They also have a basic calendar with tasks to see where they need to be and what they need to be doing. There’s no excuse for no shows with schedules and communication methods at project participants’ fingertips.
We created Rivet to make it easy for everyone to use. It works on smartphones, ensuring project participants won’t need to carry an extra device around. Text messaging is integrated for workers who do not use the software. It takes less than 60 seconds to set up a project, and signing up for project participants is free is free and easy to use as well. We also have training sessions on Zoom for the entire team if you’d like a more personalized introduction.
As mentioned above, making sure the diverse construction field can easily access and understand the schedule you create is essential in this industry. Rivet offers the ability to translate messages, tasks, events, anything in the app — into English or Spanish. Soon, we’ll also offer the ability to translate incoming messages to other languages.
Rivet can also support your daily construction project administration tasks in other forms, such as creating a communication plan for your construction project.
The information shared above shows the importance of taking your time when you choose construction scheduling software for your business. Be sure to go over features that include:
- Getting new members on track
- Supporting speakers of other languages
And ask yourselves the questions we listed as well:
- How much does the app cost?
- Is it easy to use?
- What specific features does it have?
If Rivet sounds like a good fit, please contact us or download our app for free today. Otherwise, look around and use the tips from this article to choose the best software for your specific company needs!