Construction Management – Performance Management of Build Time

This is primarily written about the Australian residential construction market.

What is Construction Management?

To understand how to manage something we must first identify what it is. The four main tenants of construction management are time, budget, quality and safety. Additional items that are also a central responsibility of construction management are regulatory compliance, supply chain management and reporting.

This article focuses on the management of construction time; in later posts I will discuss the other essential elements.

To manage the timely construction of any project you must ensure that all items are properly planned for, including materials, future labour requirements, regulatory and compliance requirements and construction difficulties identified and mitigated, amongst many other things. I am going to concentrate on measures of timely performance, and discuss their positives and negatives.

Construction Time Measurement Strategies

There are many methods of measuring construction performance, and they vary significantly in approach and emphasis:

Stage Timeframe

Reporting periodically (usually monthly) on duration taken from the start of a stage of construction to the end of the stage (e.g. frame, brickwork, fit out, etc.). These are averaged for each stage across all jobs where that construction stage has been completed, in that period.

This allows comparison across multiple supervisors, but is very simplistic as it assumes all contracts should take the same duration in the same stage. It is also prone to significant ups and downs due to the low number of contracts stage completions within a period (anything below seven stage completions makes the statistical average dubious). The other downside to this is that at a monthly average you don’t get the opportunity to resolve problems, you only report on them. It is a good reporting strategy for quarterly, half yearly and yearly supervisor performance charts, and to see the overall average movements across all the supervisors.

Progress Markers

This is about placing a theoretical weight against specific milestone tasks in the contracts construction program, and therefore, recording the completion of these tasks during a time-frame, rewards the supervisor of the job. This can be reported per contract, per supervisor or per construction manager.

As a relatively common strategy it aims at weighting different elements of the construction program and links reward accordingly. It is normally a numeric value associated with each milestone, and therefore easy to statistically analyse to identify figures such as sum of value per week and average weekly value for lifetime of a contract. The downside to the weighted markers approach is that it rewards progress on a small subset of the tasks, and therefore progress might be made such that the numbers look good, however significant other works may be left languishing and the numbers won’t tell you this story.

Baseline Markers

Laying down an ideal world expectation of the construction programme (baseline), allows for comparison at any point in the programme of current forecast against the baseline laid down at the beginning. You are then able to state whether you are ahead or behind the baseline, and give this a numeric value.

This is normally a base measure, which other statistics are gleamed from. Important things to consider are, ‘how realistic is the baseline?’, ‘does the baseline duration adjust with contract complexity and size?’ and ‘do delays outside the control of the construction team get adjusted into the baseline?’ You can also see slippage from the baseline, so that you can easily identify areas of construction issue to be improved. The down side of this is that it consists of a singular number recorded at a point in time against a contract, and therefore is difficult to use to identify trends and averages.

Days of Work Achieved per Period

This measures progress per week against the contract, by measuring the forecast number of days to completion at the beginning of the reporting cycle and then comparing against the same state at the end of the reporting cycle. This gives the metric of days of progress achieved per period, which is a measure of how much closer are you to the end of the project. It allows the complete construction programme to be performance managed, as forgetting items or delaying them will eventually push out the forecast and hence will reduce the number of days progress per period. The issues with this metric is that it can go negative in short periods, and that the construction programme forecast needs a level of accuracy, that can only be achieved with complex project management systems.

Revenue Achieved

At the end of the day, revenue needs to be achieved, and a very common metric is the measure of revenue achieved per period. This is an easy state to collect, and concentrates the supervisors on the important numbers.

The downside to revenue, is that it becomes a numbers game, pushing claims into different periods depending on requirements. This is then very visible to the client, when they check their home against the claim, but the roof isn’t on! Also the inverse happens where a supervisor might delay a claim by a day or two to smooth out for a bad month coming up, messing with important cash flow.

Actual vs Target vs Forecast

None of the performance measures above have included any target setting, and there is no measure of performance against targets. Targets are typically used to get team members to set realistic expectations and manage themselves towards them; a very powerful motivator! This process of target setting can be done on any of the above metrics (and others), but is a very powerful tool when comparing last periods’ target versus actual, then planning for the next week by creating targets from the forecasts (with minor adjustments agreed between the manager and the supervisor).

A powerful tool, but it requires good processes to ensure it works successfully. The method works best when interim reporting is available to the construction team so that they can measure their own tracking against the targets set for themselves.

Conclusion

I have highlighted some of the more common strategies for used construction time performance management, which hopefully gives you a taster of the different methods available. There is no ‘one size fits all’, but it is important to evaluate how to performance manage the most important part of the home builders process; the construction.

In the next article I will be discussing Supplier Performance Management. What metrics are available and how they can be utilised?

Easy Home Improvement Projects

Fixing up your home can be fun and often times very profitable even when you’re only doing a few easy home improvement projects. There are several touches that you could add to a bathroom or kitchen for added value in your home. These easy home improvement projects are very quick too. In this article you will learn some modest ways to fix up your home, and add significant value in less than a day.

Adding Trim to Your Ceiling

One of the neat tricks you can do when creating some easy home improvement projects is to add some trim around the top of your ceiling. Simply take a border of colorful wall paper about 5 to 6 inches wide and apply it around the top of the ceiling. This will give your room a rich look and is very cost effective.

Paint Your Bathroom Light Switches

If you would like to save some money fixing up your bathroom you can paint the light switches. Don’t forget to do the plug-in covers as well. There are several easy home improvement projects that you can do to the bathroom. Maybe you could add a toilet seat cover and matching towels to add a nice look. The cost is very minimal, but can add a nice touch to the room. If you have a spare bedroom you may want to consider painting those switches as well.

The kitchen is another place where you can apply some easy home improvement projects. Try changing the handles on your cabinets. If the timing is right, you may find some great deals on closeout cabinet accessories at your local stores. Often times at the end of the year your local stores will have huge clearance sales and unload very nice packages of hardware to add to your kitchen cabinets. This is great when searching for some easy home improvement projects to do.

Change the Lights for Appearance and Savings

There are so many choices in lighting these days. You could add a couple simple energy saving lights to your kitchen or bathroom for your next easy home improvement projects. Many lights can add value and energy savings, helping the budget as well. Once you have finished inside you may want to think about some easy home improvement projects for the outside of your home next.

You can add some lighting to the outside of your home to make some nice touches. This is another one of those easy home improvement projects that only takes a couple hours, but if done right, can add value and convenience if you have nighttime gatherings at your home. As you can see there are many simple little projects you can implement to add some easy decorative touches to your home.

Look Online for Some Ideas

The internet is a wonderful place to search for easy home improvement projects. You just might be surprised just how simple and fun it can be the next time you get ready to make a few changes to your home.

Get Cheap Home Improvement Ideas

Home improvement is the best way by which you could raise the standard of your home. One of the places at home which is of high importance is kitchen. People use to find out the ways by which one could improve their kitchen. It is also required also because kitchen is a place which is being used by the people in their daily life. There is lot of money needed for its renovation of it and so the people are finding out method to fulfill their wish within their budget.

If you want to have some cheap Kitchen Remodeling ideas then you need to follow some important points. First find out what all components are needed for your kitchen. The best way to do this is by looking what all components are present in the kitchen. This way you could prepare the list easily. The important part of the kitchen is the cabinets. There are many ways by which you could renew your kitchen. By doing painting you would be able to give new look to it. This would cost you little and the cabinet would look new and fresh.

If the appliances work better but it doesn’t look better than one fine option available is to change the front panel which would give new look to it. By this you could save a lot of money. Labor cost proves to be the biggest cost in the kitchen remodeling process so if you want to save money and try to do the installation yourself. The simple type of flooring that could be easily set up is the vinyl tiles. By this both the money and time would be saved. Another way to change the look of kitchen is by changing the light of it. There are different types of designer lights are available in the market. So choose the one which better fits in your budget