PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMARTâ€”Building a Future Together
Moving together into the future Embracing Technology Market Recovery Construction Summer Camp Scheduling for Success
PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMART—Building a Future Together
JOSEPH SELLERS, JR. NATHAN DILLS Co-Publishers KAARIN ENGELMANN firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief JESSICA KIRBY email@example.com Editor
8 Photo credit: Girls Build
December 2018 - Volume 12, Number 7
3 HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY Hope fortified by action is the best strategy for navigating uncertainty and securing market share moving into the future.
EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY Technology is the future. How will labor and management come together to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities?
MARKET RECOVERY Never underestimate the ability of a strong partnership to overcome adversity and create brighter horizons.
8 CONSTRUCTION SUMMER CAMP FOR GIRLS Katie Hughes is bringing the trades to girls ages 8-14 because early exposure to the trades is key to long-term engagement.
10 SCHEDULING FOR SUCCESS
Owners, contractors, and tradespeople benefit from a well-crafted schedule,
proving effort and communication always pay off.
POINT ONE MEDIA INC. firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Services ERIC WESTBROOK Cover Illustrator
Partners in Progress is a publication of the Sheet Metal Industry LaborManagement Cooperation Fund. All contents ©2018 by the Sheet Metal Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Fund, P.O. Box 221211, Chantilly, VA 20153-1211. Find Partners in Progress online at pinp.org or at issuu.com/ partnersinprogress. An archive of all issues is available and printed copies may be ordered for a minimal fee. For comments or questions, email email@example.com.
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is not a Strategy
A phrase that has been used in military circles for about half a century is “‘Hope is not a strategy.” Those words are particularly applicable at the moment for the organized construction trades. We can’t simply do business as usual and wish away our industry’s issues. Indeed, “hope” is not sufficient to obtain or retain enough work to provide the cash flow that keeps the doors open, craftpersons hours on the books, and pensions funded. Crossed fingers won’t get the right talent to walk through the doors of our training centers, complete their apprenticeship programs, and become effective leaders or open their own union-signatory contracting shops. In fact, desire is only the start to getting a project completed on time and within budget. Instead of sitting around and thinking or talking about how our current situation could be, we also need to act, making a concentrated effort to address our problems and increase our positive opportunities. Frank Abagnale, the former con artist portrayed in the movie Catch Me If You Can and current security consultant, puts it this way: “You have to think a little smarter, be proactive, not reactive.” Being proactive can be stressful. It means stepping out of the places and situations where we feel safe or at ease. Leaders from both SMACNA and SMART have recognized that embracing technological change will open doors for us, allowing us to move away from musing about market share issues to making strides toward helping our customers realize the value we offer over our competitors. Of course, that means changing mindsets, adapting our training, and investing in new equipment. The article that starts on page 4 brings together ideas about how we can work together to maximize our opportunities as work evolves. On page 6, we offer an update on the initiatives that SMACNA chapters, contractors, and SMART locals in Houston, Texas, and Washington, DC, are implementing to capture and recapture work, particularly in the hospital and healthcare sectors. Recruiting is another area where we are pushing hard to get away from doing things the way we always have. We are identifying new approaches for attracting the best and the brightest people. These pages have spent a lot of time lately talking about reaching military veterans, females, ethnically diverse individuals, and youth from disadvantaged communities. However, the story that starts on page 8 of this issue provides another perspective. It is a reminder that when it comes to recruiting, we can’t always wait until high school to demonstrate the opportunities available within our industry. Girls from ages 8 to 14 are lining up for the chance to attend summer camp where they put on hard hats and tool belts and take on construction projects, even some involving sheet metal.
There is no reason such programs need to be limited to the northwestern United States. Find out what is happening with Girls Build, and you may be able to spearhead something similar in your area. (Don’t forget to tell us about your best practices.) The final story in this issue is a reminder that movement is not always progress. Structure, in this case using construction schedules, keeps us moving in the right direction. Additionally, communication about schedules, whether it is with the craftspersons on the job site, between the trades, or between owners and contractors, equals more successful projects. And it turns out that is true even when the schedule is on paper instead of in the “cloud.” What it comes down to is that this issue is about “hope” accompanied by “action”. We have expertise—from HVAC to industrial and architectural to “green”, environmentallyconscious work; we have top-notch training and safety programs; we have a partnership that allows us to progress even when the going gets tough; and we have a strategy and the resolve to carry it out.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR Our next Partners in Progress Conference will be Feb. 25-26, 2020, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. This meeting will provide an opportunity for both labor and management to be All In as we position ourselves for success in the signatory sheet metal industry. We’ll share success stories and lessons learned from the efforts we are undertaking now to bolster market share and hours, find out the characteristics of high performing areas, build roadmaps to better relationships, and more. Watch these pages for additional information during the coming months. Visit pinp.org to keep up to date and find useful resources available to SMART locals, SMACNA contractors and chapters, labor-management cooperation trusts and committees, training centers, and individual members of SMACNA and SMART. Registration is required for full access. It is free but limited to members. You can also find us on Facebook as “sheetmetalpartners”, on Twitter as “smpartners”, and on Instagram as “smpartners”. Partners in Progress » December 2018 » 3
Richard McClees, SMART
By / Don Procter
“Sometimes imagination is more important than knowledge.” —Albert Einstein The sheet metal industry is experiencing a wakeup call from technological change and members of SMART and SMACNA cannot afford to ignore it. “It isn’t business as usual,” says Guy Gast, former SMACNA president and chair of the New Horizons Foundation (NHF), which produced the HVAC Sheet Metal Industry Futures Study (2016). He says both management and labor must collaborate now to prepare for the future. Scenarios that are changing the nature of the work are emerging from “rapid” technological advancements and evolving energy standards, which are sometimes presented as “subtle changes in local codes and legislation.” Rich McClees, SMART’s general secretary-treasurer, concurs, and is confident that new technology and other factors on the horizon won’t eliminate opportunities for the sheet metal trades. “The work isn’t going to go away; it is evolving,” McClees says. 4 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
“We have to be in front of that with training, though.” He echoes comments by SMART General President Joseph Sellers who recently called on business managers and agents to look at the two- to five-year horizon in order to maximize training opportunities and capture work. An example is architectural metals contracts, which are projected to grow by 26 to 40 percent in the next few years. Adapting training methods – on the fly, if necessary – to stay in front of change is critical. The International Training Institute (ITI) and the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) are tasked with developing timely training. The ITI’s strike force training initiative (covered in the last issue of Partners in Progress) is a prime example. SMART, meanwhile, is organizing a committee to examine strategies required to meet training needs for new technologies, McClees says.
Although many large contractors are able to stay ahead of the tech curve through capital investments, McClees is concerned that small and mid-sized contractors will lag behind without support from their labor partners. “SMART needs training in place so the workforce is ready when new technology hits the market,” he says. Gast agrees, adding that the service/support sector and traditional supply channels are increasingly affected by equipment with embedded intelligence—the Internet of Things. For example, self-diagnosing components allow airhandling equipment to send alerts for issues like rising bearing temperatures. “Contractors may be more valuable if they can advise on system alternatives, constructability, energy use, lifecycle costs, and service operation and maintenance needs,” Gast says. As the new systems evolve, there will be a shift from large air handling systems to ones with less ductwork. “Those systems will require different skills and trade craft for installation,” he adds. “You have to pay attention to systems that are a by-product of energy choices.” However, McClees says that the high cost of many technologies will keep them from spreading across the country overnight. “Partnering with contractors to figure out which technologies are up-and-coming and how fast they will arrive will be the key for us when it comes to training,” McClees says. One technology already making a mark is modularization because it allows for quick and efficient installations. SMACNA President-Elect Angie Simon sees prefabrication and modular industries, including spooling and sub-assemblies, growing significantly in the next 5 to 10 years as the result of technology improvements, which will help soften or fill the gaps in shortages of skilled craftspersons in some regions. “If you are a mid-sized contractor or larger and you are not doing prefabrication, then you will be relegated to smaller jobs,” she says. The Waldinger Corporation, where Gast is president, recently completed a Hilton convention hotel featuring pre-fabricated, modular hotel bathrooms. Major prefabrication opportunities are common in new hospitals, which increasingly use largescale multi-trade racks for corridors and prefab head walls for suites. Marriott rolled out its modular initiative in 2015 and has completed or is scheduled to complete five projects this year—in California, Washington, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, companies such as Trane, York, and Daikin turn to fabricating modular chilled water plants that are “plug-in ready.” “Many SMACNA contractors have invested a lot in their shop fabrication capability,” says Gast. “It is no longer a leap of faith to prefabricate because contractors are starting to see the gains from their initiatives.” He believes anyone who tries to do business the old way will find it difficult to compete. While prefabrication technology is not new, adoption has been slow. Many industry pundits thought it would have taken
“Partnering with contractors to figure out which technologies are up-and-coming and how fast they will arrive will be the key for us when it comes to training,” says Richard McClees, general secretary-treasurer, SMART. off five years ago. McClees believes SMART will be prepared with training workers as it grows. “We’ve done the detailing on systems for 50 years or more as part of our craft, so I think we are well suited to it,” McClees adds. “We already recognize what needs to go in a space and what components have to come together into a system.” Regardless, moving to full modularization will be a sizable transition and the speed will vary by region. How fast SMACNA and SMART partners adapt to this trend will define the signatory percentage market share of fabrication. “Fabrication is the strength of our industry,” McClees says, “and I think modularization could help us, as far as man-hours go, as long as we are positioned to take on that work.” Simon believes the SMACNA and SMART team must be “nimble” to keep a sizable stake in the game. “Don’t be a Swiss watch when everyone is wearing Apple watches,” she says. Apprenticeship programs may even need to change format to respond to rapidly changing times, Gast says. “The key is to quickly deploy a team that is ready to work safe and smart.” McClees says adding new technology “training modules” within curriculums is one answer. “If a technology is coming in now, don’t put it into the fourth year of a program; put it in the first year. I think it is something that trainers can easily adapt to.” However, adjusting training to address technological change will require SMART and SMACNA to work as partners, especially at the local level. “Contractors on joint apprenticeship committees need to indicate early on what direction they are moving so training can be directed that way,” McClees says. Further, according to Gast, technology can be a selling point to bring in more apprentices. “There is more technology in this industry than ever before, and if 10 to 15 percent of the hours on an HVAC job are spent on the technology, then we should be selling this as a career opportunity for young people to consider,” he says. Jack Knox, president of R.F. Knox Co. Inc., Smyrna, Ga., and immediate SMACNA past-president, believes technology initiatives need to come from both the national and local levels. “By putting our labor and management talents to work today, we will make a difference, for our industry, our employees, and ourselves tomorrow.” Don Procteris a freelance writer based in Toronto Canada.
Partners in Progress » December 2018 » 5
Market Recovery SMACNA and SMART work together to garner market share in key sectors across the United States and Canada.
By / Don Procter Photos: Top and middle photos courtesy of SMACNA Mid-Atlantic Chapter. Bottom photos courtesy of Justin Cogdill.
ever underestimate the capacity of a great partnership to get the job done. In a show of resilience and ingenuity, SMACNA chapters have teamed up with SMART locals in several jurisdictions across the United States and Canada to strategize on how to recapture work lost to non-union competitors. Initiatives in various jurisdictions demonstrate regionally-specific strategies, including mutually beneficial contract amendments like those in Houston, Texas, and Washington, DC. The Houston Sheet Metal Contractors Association (SMCA) and SMART Local 54 are focused on regaining market share in the hospital and healthcare sector in Texas’s largest city. Right now, union contractors represent less than 15 percent of that sector. “It had been quite a mainstay for us and a source of a lot of man-hours,” says Glenn Rex, executive vice-president of the Houston SMCA. “But we’re not as competitive today.” He says evidence of changes in unionized contractors’ market share comes from a five-year survey of more than 900 local hospital and healthcare projects constructed between 2013 and 2017. In 2017, the local union and the contractors’ association brainstormed market recovery initiatives, and the collaboration decided to formulate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to target hospitals and healthcare. Taking lessons from other MOUs developed across the United States, the Houston chapter and Local 54 also identified and eliminated a number of elements in its contract. “There are no more ratios and no more rules, and we are going to work straight time for 40 hours (overtime after 40),” Rex says. “The typical CBA has quite a few more working conditions and rules. We simplified the contract for this market niche, and I am confident we have the right people to make this change.” Eddie Gonzalez, business manager for Local 54, and Rex add they are formulating a request for a variance from the national pension fund. Details have yet to be finalized. From surveys of non-union jobsites in Houston’s healthcare sector, a typical project consists of a leadman (journeyman/fore-
6 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
man) with a crew of what union contractors call preapprenticesbut what non-union contractors call helpers or apprentices. “It is part of why their crew costs are so low,” Rex says. Local 54 and the Houston SMCA are trying to determine if a similarly comprised crew can be achieved using existing building trade rates in the union contract. “Employers are struggling with that concept because they are used to a journeyman/apprentice crew with people who are skilled and don’t need constant attention,” Rex says. Gonzalez says each employer will be asked what type of crew makeup they are comfortable with. “We are coming up with examples of different crew costs and what the average apprentice and average classified worker make along with the journeyman and/or foreman.” “The ultimate goal is to dominate the healthcare projects again and raise the standards where we can have more apprentices in the near future,” Gonzalez adds. “For now, now we have to try to recover what we’ve lost.” To make this happen, Rex says, it is going to require a different mindset from both the members and the contractors. Union contractors working in healthcare are generally preferred by the owner or general contractor for their high skill and high-quality labor, but many hospital and healthcare owners go non-union because it costs less. Gonzalez says there will be some “heartburn” for members along the road, but the industry must do something to recover its loss. Members will be given the option of participating or staying the course, he says. “But I have to do what I do to man these jobs because we do want to move our percentage of the market share into the positive.” He adds the Local’s partnership with SMACNA is the key to success. “It’s like a family: we aren’t always going to agree on everything, but our members know that we have to do something together to regain the sector.” Visit pinp.org/conferences/ pinp18/schedule for market recovery ideas presented at the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference. Don Procteris a freelance writer based in Toronto Canada.
GIRLS. POWER. TOOLS. Girls 8-14 get fired up for the building trades long before anyone has time to talk them out of it.
© Can Stock Photo / mike301
the early spring of 2016, an independent young woman named Katie Hughes stepped up to make a difference in the lives of young girls in Portland, Oregon, when she founded the non-profit organization Girls Build. As a carpenter having taught at ACE Academy and Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. (OTI), Hughes realized opportunities for girls to get involved in the trades are very limited, reflected in the fact that despite a debilitating worker shortage in the construction industry, only about two percent of on-site workers are women.
By / Deb Draper Photos courtesy of Katie Hughes
The mission of Girls Build is to inspire curiosity and confidence in young girls by introducing them to the construction trades, while also instilling an awareness of the possibilities and satisfaction of creating something strong and useful with their own hands. At one-week summer camps, girls 8 to 14 put on their hard hats and tool belts and jump right into the exciting world of making and building. They use all the regular equipment, from hammers to chop saws, to make several small, individual projects and one big project together over the course of seven days. “We have 20 workshops each week,” says Hughes. “This year was our third summer camp, and we had seven one-week sessions: two in Portland, two in Seattle, two in Southern Oregon, and one on the Oregon coast.” Hughes explains that the camps sell out almost immediately once they’re announced. Three hundred girls attended in 2018, and with another location added in 2019, she anticipates 500 eager-to-learn young construction workers this coming year. The last two years, Hughes has included projects within the sheet metal trade, recognizing that it may not be as well-known as other trades, yet can be very rewarding. “I got in touch with
SMART Local 16 in Portland and said, ‘I’d like to make a lamp shade out of metal–what do you think, can we do it?’ “From that moment on, they have been super supportive, training us not only how to build something out of metal but also how to teach it to our girls. They even lent us their Rotex hand turret punch for this year’s project, a metal lunchbox that the girls were thrilled with.” Charlie Johnson, business manager for Local 16, said when the program was just getting started he and other instructors at the local’s facility would help train the girls on sheet metal projects that usually involved welding. “It was great fun,” Johnson says. “We would have them roll up some of the material and some of the girls actually want to do the welding, so we would get the machine set up and help them through it. They were really excited about it.” As the program grew, having the girls into the shop became less practical, but Local 16 still supports the program with equipment loans and materials whenever possible. “It is great that the program has grown to that extent,” Johnson says. “We try to help them the best we can.” Angie Simon, president of Western Allied Mechanical Inc., has been involved in the HVAC industry for more than 30 years and knows there are too few women involved in sheet metal. That is why she is excited to see programs such as Girls Build working towards improving this imbalance. “The summer camps are a great way to introduce young girls to construction at exactly the right age,” says Simon. “We need to show them how fun and satisfying it is to build something. They can take pride in what they are making and learn about the future careers available to them in the field of construction.” Simon will serve in 2019 as SMACNA’s first female president. But Girls Build isn’t stopping at summer camps. Right now Hughes is looking for a new, larger space in order to offer open shop hours for girls to come in and work on projects; she wants to set up after-school programs during the day and for older women in the evening and on weekends so females of all ages can get some experience of the trades. Johnson says offering the program to girls sooner rather than later is an important key to long-term engagement. “Women need to be made more aware that this is a very doable career option for them,” he says. “We find trying to market that approach at the high school level is almost too late. A lot have already been so ingrained with ideas about what options are right for them; it is a bit problematic. If we get in there a little younger and show them they can have some fun doing our activities, it helps later to translate into more applicants.” Meanwhile, Hughes also brings workshops to those who can’t attend. “We hold the same classes for young women every Friday at the Oak Creek Correctional Facility and have had one of our girls come out and apply to enter into the sheet metal trade.”
This past year, the organization launched an internship program with the City of Portland over the summer, training four interns, ages 16 to 24, in the construction trades—one of whom was a former camper. Girls Build was originally solely funded by the generosity of individuals and corporations. Since then, the number of girls involved has doubled, scholarships have increased by 20 percent, and with continuing help, the program will be able to expand and reach out further to as many as possible. In addition, Hughes notes that donations of materials from the construction community to use in the workshops and summer camps are very gratefully received. “I am proud to see the Sheet Metal Training Center and Streimer Sheet Metal Works are supporters of this great program,” says Simon. “Both the local SMART union and the union contractors realize that increasing the number of women into our trade is good for future of the sheet metal industry.” Through exposure to the pride of workmanship and rewarding career possibilities, Girls Build is building a strong foundation for many young women to stand upon in the future. Katie Hughes and her work with Girls Build was featured on Mike Rowe’s program, “Returning the Favor”, which spotlights groups and individuals giving back to their communities. Watch the Girls Build episode at mikerowe.com/2017/09/rtf-girlsbuild-episode-3/. From her desk in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Deb Smith writes for trade and business publications across North America, specializing in profiles and stories within the hospitality, food service, mining, recreation, and construction industries. When not writing, she’s likely travelling, gardening, or taking long walks with her big white dog.
Partners in Progress » December 2018 » 9
© Can Stock Photo / alexmillos
It was not until the First World War
that simple bar charts were employed by the British army for planning military exercises. The construction of the Empire State building (which began in 1930, well before the invention of modern scheduling techniques) was a marvel of scheduling excellence. The site in downtown Manhattan was so congested there were virtually no lay down areas. Expediters at the materials’ source had to arrange for delivery to coincide precisely with installation. The building’s 58,000 tons of structural steel were erected in six months at the remarkable rate of 4.5 floors per week, all without the aid of a critical path method (CPM) schedule or a computer. With the development of cheap, powerful computers, scheduling entered a new era. Today’s project schedules can usually be handled by one person and result in sophisticated graphical output. A word of caution, however: a schedule that is produced by one person in a vacuum, without input from those who will actually build according to the schedule, will be absolutely useless. The Need for Construction Schedules Owners, contractors, and tradespersons agree that completing a project as quickly as possible is a common goal, although for different reasons and with different expectations. Contractors will use the schedule as a planning and management tool that determines the overall approach to the job, organizes and plans labour and equipment, and helps organize materials purchasing and deliveries, sub-contract awards, and shop drawing submittals. Tradespeople will view the schedule as a tool for timing their projects and work, and for coordinating the presence (or lack thereof) of other trades on site. They will be the first to acknowledge and report the need for adjustment and will use the schedule to make field-based recommendations on timeline, materials, and change orders. Owners will use the schedule to monitor progress and see when the job will be completed. The schedule will help to plan and monitor cash flow requirements and determine when owner-supplied materials and equipment must be delivered. Construction projects continue to increase in size and complexity. So does the demand to build more quickly and 10 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
SCHEDULING FOR SUCCESS Put snappy subtitle here By / by John Owens, C.E.T., P.M.P. Revay and Associates Limited, Ottawa
economically. In 1982 (reprinted in 1992), The Business Roundtable issued a report entitled “Modern Management Systems, A Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness Project Report” in which the authors state: “The construction industry has been criticized, to a large extent justifiably, for its slow acceptance and use of modern management methods to plan and execute projects. Many people both inside and outside the industry view this as the primary cause of serious delays in schedules and large cost over-runs that have plagued the construction industry in recent years. Yet there is no lack of modern, cost effective management systems that provide project managers with all the controls they need. But many owners do not seem to be aware of the economic payoff from the appropriate use of modern management systems, and therefore are unwilling to incur the costs of operating the system.” While there are obvious benefits to proper scheduling – and potentially saving money is a pretty compelling reason – why do many contractors not want to provide owners with a schedule? Why do owners not seem willing to pay for the scheduling from which they will ultimately benefit? Over the years, we have heard many reasons like high expense, lack of usefulness, too much effort required, and, “We’ve only been on the job for six months and the owner says we’re seven months behind schedule. How can that be?” This final example illustrates a fundamental lack of knowledge about how to read and understand the schedule and demonstrates a frequently encountered problem. There is generally a lack of proper training in the preparation, understanding, and use of schedules in the construction industry. This is apparent not only in contractors but also owners, architects, and engineers. The other issues listed above are more challenging to resolve, but there are solutions. Training Today, many universities and technical colleges offer scheduling courses, and many excellent books have been written on the subject. There are also companies that provide customized in-house training in scheduling.
Construction companies require sufficient sales volume to justify employing a full-time scheduler. Unfortunately, this is often an entry-level position for a recent graduate who may know how to manipulate software but knows little about construction. In most small and medium sized firms, the project manager is often the scheduler. Having a project manager who has been properly trained to create schedules makes good fiscal sense; the benefits will ultimately far outweigh the cost of training. The “Partnered” Approach to Scheduling A partnered project is one where all the project stakeholders – owner, contractor, architect, engineer, and consultants – get together and agree to work together to successfully achieve the common goals of the project. A dispute resolution process or ‘ladder’ is established clearly, setting out the method, roles, and responsibilities of each party. The basic principles of partnering can be applied to assist project teams in working together to plan and schedule complex projects. A case in point was a complex bridge rehabilitation project running behind schedule due to weather and an extreme shortage of skilled labor. The owner was also anxious to make up the lost time and accelerate the work to achieve an early completion. Rather than argue about who was responsible for the delays and their associated costs, the contractor and owner held joint or ‘partnered’ schedule update meetings. During these meetings, detailed discussions were conducted regarding the previous month’s progress and the issues to be dealt with by the stakeholders. Having the computerized schedule projected on the wall during the process allowed the participants to examine the issues and study the matter, generating good constructive dialog. Both parties had time to present their concerns and to ask questions of the other. Delays were noted and agreement was usually reached on responsibility for the individual delays. This approach requires goodwill and an honest attempt by all parties to progress the job, save cost, and avoid litigation. It may not be easy to achieve, but it can and has been done very successfully. Resource and Cost Loaded Schedules The critical path of a schedule is usually defined as the sequence of activities that will take the longest time to complete, and is calculated by summing the duration of each activity falling on the critical path. To be useful, the duration of scheduled activities must be based on factual data and not guesswork or the use of horoscopes and crystal balls. For example, if we know one crew can install 10 widgets in a day, there are 100 widgets to be installed, and only one widget installation crew is available, it will take 10 days – no less – to install all the widgets. The critical path is often driven by the resources available to complete activities that lie on the critical path. In other words, the critical path flows through the resources. A simple illustration would be a high-rise apartment building with one tower crane. The project schedule may call for precast concrete panels to be installed externally on the tower, at the same time that formwork is to be relocated on the adjacent underground parking structure, and the elevator rails are to be
lifted into the elevator shaft. Clearly, one tower crane cannot perform these three tasks simultaneously. If at the outset of the project the schedule had the tower crane defined as a resource and scheduled accordingly, the conflicting resource usage would have been detected and the work rescheduled. This is known as resource loading the schedule. The properly resource loaded schedule allocates all resources, including labor and equipment, for each activity on the schedule, allowing the project manager to plan the most efficient and effective use of the resources available and to monitor productivity. It also records the planned sequence of events and the logical relationships between them. Computerized Schedules vs. Squared Paper Built in the1930s, the Empire State Building was obviously planned and scheduled without the aid of powerful computers and modern scheduling software; it was most likely scheduled using squared paper and a pencil. The success of the project is testament to the power of such a ‘primitive’ scheduling system. There are many situations today where a piece of paper and pencil are better and faster than using a computer. For example, a project manager may produce a so-called “fragnet” on site to plan a specific sequence of tasks to be performed in a short period of time. A ‘squared paper’ schedule may also be used to schedule the use of a material hoist or tower crane. The big advantage of a hand-produced schedule in such cases is that a computer and printer are not required and the schedule can be put to use immediately and is easily adjusted. The usefulness of a hand-drawn schedule should not be under-estimated, providing, of course, that the information contained in the schedule is accurate. There can be no question, however, that computerized schedules have made the once daunting task of producing and updating large complex schedules much faster and easier. In addition, most scheduling software allows a project manager to examine alternate sequences of events by performing a ‘what-if ’ analysis. Conclusion The time and effort spent preparing a proper initial project schedule and performing subsequent regular monitoring is well spent and pays dividends on the final result of the project. As stated by the Business Roundtable, “Owners are the ultimate beneficiaries of improvements in cost, schedule, and quality of their construction projects”. Perhaps owners should give serious consideration to recognizing the importance of schedules and adding an independent bid item for scheduling. Since contractors and tradespeople will also benefit from properly prepared and updated schedules, consideration should be given to investing in schedule training and continuing education for key contractor employees. Rest assured that, in construction at any rate, it is not a good idea to plan your project on the basis that “the sooner we get behind schedule the more time it gives us to get caught up.” Partners in Progress » December 2018 » 11
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