Planning and Implementing Construction in a Structured Manner

Alexander Lang

Construction is the most exciting phase in the project life cycle of a construction project. It is in this phase that things are actually being constructed. Specialist employees operate machines on the construction site and use the required materials. Throughout this phase, everyone involved must have a good overview of the complex ways in which things are connected. The right employees must be on site at the right time. Appropriate and timely planning of the use of machinery and provision of machinery is required as well. The companies involved must be instructed, and all work must be coordinated according to schedule. Finally, the correct amount of material must also be delivered at the correct time. Many tasks must be completed, and extensive coordination as well as effective communication are required in order to complete the construction project efficiently.

Construction planning

Construction planning mainly involves scheduling as well as materials planning. Certain key dates are often predetermined, such as completion of the project and the handover to the customer. However, good and continuously updated plans are necessary in order to be able to provide all services according to schedule. In addition, partial services, for example relating to one specific trade, might have to be outsourced to subcontractors and a call for tenders must be issued if required. Thus, there are often multiple schedules, such as a schedule for the awarding of orders, a construction schedule or a project schedule. These schedules should be available to the construction manager and the project manager as well as to the employees involved in work scheduling and project preparation and the customer (who has commissioned the building). In addition, these schedules must always be accessible to these persons while they are on the go or on the construction site. Integrated systems simplify this process significantly. Thus, it makes sense to additionally use cloud-based functions for certain areas.

Optimal material requirements planning

Material requirements are derived from

  • the bill of quantities,
  • the implementation plans of the specialist departments and
  • the BIM model, in case BIM is used.

In many cases, however, only a certain percentage of the overall amount of material is required on the construction site, such that the planned quantity is not requested all at once. It is therefore useful to allocate different amounts of material to different construction phases and different units. The material requirements should be planned in the ERP system in order to allow for a smooth transition between theoretical planning and practical application, e.g. when site managers need to request material, and to be able to continuously compare the quantity of material that has been ordered/delivered to the planned quantities. By means of BIM, you always have an up-to-date plan vs. actual comparison.

Construction documentation

An important aspect throughout the construction phase is the documentation of construction progress and of events that have occurred on the construction site. Depending on your role in the construction project, you might even be obligated to keep construction records or prepare daily construction reports. Keeping these records is definitely recommended in case there are ever any disagreements or discrepancies. The records can be created in digital form directly on the construction site. In this regard, it is important to use tools that can be used easily and quickly by a foreman, group leader or site manager and are also linked to the ERP system.

Why does a connection to the ERP system make sense?

All authorized persons should be able to access the collected data centrally. This makes the overall construction process more transparent. Further processing of the data with the ERP system or by means of Microsoft Power BI for the purpose of evaluation is easily possible. For instance, structured documentation of project data is possible in Microsoft 365, and structured data collection is feasible using Microsoft Power Platform. Alternatively, apps are also available for specific requirements.

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Alexander Lang
Industry Manager Project | COSMO CONSULT