Planning a Project

Planning a Project

21 January 2019

The four most important factors when planning a new project are:

  • Finishing the work on time.
  • Staying within budget.
  • Meeting the clients’ requirements.
  • Learning from the mistakes of a previous project.

Each project is unique; each client has their own quirky requirements; however, if the choices made in a previous project led to time delays or going over budget, then those choices must not be made again.

The first step in project planning is to create an overview of the entire project, including key milestones and KPIs which need to be met for bonus purposes. This overview will provide the base for more detail to be added at later stages.

Once you have the overview, you can focus on scheduling, budget, and suppliers.

Scheduling

Developing a schedule is quite possibly the most important step in a construction project. Whether it be a house or a large office block, a schedule provides the client with a timeframe for when they can expect the project to be completed, as well as keeping them in the loop throughout the entire process.

We’ve previously mentioned how innovation and technology could help enhance transparency within the construction industry. You can read this article here.

The cold, hard truth regarding construction projects is that many do go over schedule because of uncontrolled issues, such as bad weather and lack of funding from the client after the project commences; however, some delays can be eliminated.

Delays described as direct actions, made by parties involved in the project, can be avoided through the acceleration of site activities and contingency plans. These should be included in your initial schedule and with the help of PAL Hire, we can increase the number of labourers on-site for several jobs to be completed simultaneously, as well as assist with contingency in case of last minute issues with your supplier base.

A schedule should also include a procedure for modifications. Very rarely do the original plans become the end product and a modification process would allow the client to request changes without major delay to the project.

Some construction contracts will also have penalty clauses imposed upon the contractor if milestones are not hit; however, this may differ depending on the type of contract signed. If it is a fixed-price contract, delays and additional costs would have to be paid by the contractors rather than the client.

Budget

Budgets and schedules go hand-in-hand. If a project overruns, it can be automatically assumed, and most of the time correctly, that it has also gone over budget.

As Forbes investigated, some projects tend to have a final cost substantially higher than the planned budget.

As investigation completed by UK Construction online found that 69% of construction projects exceed their budget.

The first major reason for projects going over budget was the failure to have a properly costed forecast. This ties in with the message being presented in this article – have a foundationally solid plan in place before beginning a project. Once you’ve created the building blocks, you can use PAL Hire to provide the equipment required to ensure you stay within budget.

Another reason for going over budget was due to an increase in labour costs. Simply put, the number of projects currently taking place in the UK stretches its labour force to extreme lengths and this will undoubtedly get worse when we leave the EU. Brexit will have a major impact on the labour market and costs could increase further as the demand for workers rises and supply falls.

Brexit will increase project costs. An example of this is the skyrocketing costs of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Donna Cullen, Tottenham Hotspur Executive Director, has stated, “Brexit has added a straight 20% costs for foreign goods due to the exchange rate, overtime working and increased construction costs.”

This could very well be the case for other construction projects that are currently ongoing and within the SME market, these costs could result in significant losses for construction companies.

Suppliers

A schedule and budget are in place and you may need to make a choice between hiring or purchasing equipment. To ensure you have costs under control and are not spending too much in one instance, it will be more beneficial to hire plant and equipment.

When deciding to choose an appropriate supplier, one must not only consider price, but service. As mentioned, there are several reasons a project could be delayed and if choosing the cheapest supplier brings about a terrible service, then it will cost you more in terms of time and money changing suppliers.

You may have a list of suppliers for each provision – several provisions, such as plant, powered access, or skips may have more than one supplier. PAL Hire can arrange for all three products to be delivered in a sequential order to your site to allow the project to progress smoothly.

Using PAL Hire also has additional benefits if you become an account holder. The benefits of a trade account with PAL Hire can be found here.

PAL Hire can help you when it comes to project planning. Our unique Site Builder Tool enables you to choose exactly what type of equipment you may require on-site. When you’ve selected your equipment and quantities, submit the quote and our consultants will be in touch.

They’ll do the leg work by speaking to our extensive supplier base and get you the best price with the best service options ensuring the project will remain within budget and can be delivered on-time.

Conclusion

There are various reasons for a delay in project and planned budgets being exceeded, but Project Managers must learn from mistakes of the past. If delays have occurred, losses have been incurred, and you’re hiring equipment, then it is time to call PAL Hire.

We combine reasonable prices with excellent service to ensure delays are minimised as much as possible. Even if indirect actions cause a delay, PAL Hire will do its utmost to help you bring the project back on schedule.

Call our team now on 0844 288 7265.