How to Shorten Your Construction Schedule

Jun 26, 2020 | schedule

The four tenets of “Do it Together” Development (build your team early, leverage your team’s talents, protect your time, and manage your project proactively) are all about one thing: delivering your project on time, on budget, or better. Shortening your project schedule is a great way to do this. Not only does it get you to revenue sooner, shortening your schedule can also result in a lower overall cost to build.

On a construction site, time is money. That is why we are committed to helping you streamline processes at the project’s onset to avoid adding unnecessary time throughout it.

Understand Your Developer’s Targets

As you know, we build places where people live. Depending on the type of building, developers have different times of the year when they need to open by. Knowing this information and using it to inform the planning process can do wonders in shortening your construction schedule. 

For instance, in the hospitality industry, developers want to capitalize on the summer travel season. That means they will typically aim to have their doors open by late winter or early spring. Spring is also a typical target for apartment complexes, since tenants tend to move more during that time of year. And, of course, student housing needs to be open by mid-summer to accommodate students moving back to school. 

Falling behind schedule creates serious headaches, some of which may not be easily remedied in order to open on time.

Be Mindful of Weather

My company, Peak Development Partners, works on projects primarily located in the Northeast. Up here, we get all four seasons. 

The weather, particularly the freezing cold winter months, can have quite an impact on your schedule. Plan your schedule around the weather you’re expecting. So, during the cold winter months, make sure you’re working indoors. Things like site work, framing, and roofing all employ different methodologies when it comes to the weather. Know what those are for your particular project, and adjust your schedule accordingly so that you literally don’t get left out in the cold. 

Once you have your schedule mapped out, there are certain measures you can take along the way to shorten your schedule as well. Not surprisingly, most of them employ one or more of the four tenets of DIT Development. 

Drawings/Construction Documentation

Applying the tenets of building your team early, leveraging their talents, and managing your project proactively, be sure to keep your drawings and construction documentation as coordinated as possible. This will drastically reduce or eliminate questions along the way, and keep your project running smoothly.

Clarify Owner’s Intent

It is important for you to be crystal clear on what the owner and/or operator’s intent is with the building. This is why we build the team early, leveraging everyone’s talents from inception to opening. 

If your team and the ownership team are not on the same page, meaning there were questions left unasked which led to important decisions not being made early, it is almost inevitable that the owners will order changes down the line. As we have learned in previous posts, this means undoing work, then redoing it. This isn’t just costly, it’s also a  red flag to contractors

Integrate Your Team Early

We can’t stress enough the importance of getting your design team and your construction team together as early in the process as possible. This is why building the team early is the first tenet of DIT development. Too often we see interior designers being brought in during construction. This is way too late in the process, in our opinion. 

What if the interior designer plans to bring in furniture that simply doesn’t fit, based on the building design? Or, what if your interior design requires electrical/water in an area where there is none? You will either have to undo, then redo work to accommodate the interior design, or your interior designer has to revise their plans to accommodate the building design. Both of those options will add time to your schedule and increase your cost.

Build the Right Team

Different levels and types of experience have their place on different types of projects. It all depends on the size, scope, and complexity of the project. For instance, if a project requires a high level of experience, you may want to go with a larger, more established contractor. For projects where budget is a concern, a smaller, more nimble company might be in order. 

Knowing the difference at the beginning and assembling your team accordingly will prevent a smaller company from getting in over their head and making mistakes that need fixing, or will prevent you from overspending on a large company, when it is unnecessary. 

Many Hands Don’t Necessarily Make Light Work

It might seem like common sense that the more people you have on a project, the quicker they will finish it. But, too often, the old adage is true: too many cooks spoil the broth.

For instance, if you’re working on an apartment complex, physically having too many bodies in any one room at once will actually reduce efficiency, instead of increasing productivity. Workers will be tripping over one another, and some workers simply can’t perform as well when the area is crowded. 

You have to be aware of the sweet spot in terms of team size for any given facet of your project. Two people laying tile in one room can 2x your productivity, but ten people laying tile in one room will not 10x it. 

Concurrent Operations

If you take only one thing from this article, let it be the importance and benefit of running processes concurrently. There is perhaps no more powerful tool when it comes to reducing your construction schedule, and running an efficient project. 

Having any phases of your project that can be running at the same time, running at the same time, can help you make up for lost time before it is actually lost. 

We want you to deliver your projects on time, on budget, or better, everytime. Internalize and employ these methods, within the framework of the tenets of DIT Development to start slashing weeks or months off of your schedule, and get you to revenue sooner. 

About the author

Lee Crewson

Lee Crewson

Founder & President

Lee has made commercial construction management his life’s work, focusing on building places where people live like multi-family, hospitality, student housing, and senior living for successful developers. He’s also committed to the values of this country and has over twenty five years of service in both the active and reserve forces as a Commissioned Officer in the US military. Lee embraces the power of a committed team that collaborates early and often and is happy to guide any developer who shares the same philosophy for success.