Expose Scheduling Delays Before they Get YOU
The Project Manager

Give the shop a prelim set of fabrication drawings. If you are using an unapproved set of drawings, mark this set 'Not for Construction' or, if you are able, have this set printed on colored paper if your construction set is issued on white paper.

Get the material order information from purchasing including the name of the steel supplier, a list of materials from that supplier with the expected dates of arrival. This will help the shop schedule the workers.

Provide zoning information together with the anticipated labor hours and expected delivery dates.

Provide a complete set of Division 5 specifications, paint specifications including manufacturer requirements with paint type and dry mil thickness.
Provide quality control requirements with hold points for third party inspection.

Provide contractor superintendent contact information for deliveries.
Help your shop plan their work load
Scheduling maintenance is a difficult process. Not often do things go as planned. Every day that the schedule falls behind will result in a three day delay in the shop.

The ability to work through unforeseen delays and issues is what cuts the wheat from the chaff in project managers, and this is where the talent of the project manager will become apparent.

The project may have a delayed start resulting in time that has to be made up somewhere, certain materials are not readily available, vendors for outsourced items may not be ready when you are. The nightmare actually begins before the letter of intent is issued, though may not be fully realized until the shop is in full swing of fabrication. How do we work through all of this and come away with a piece of sanity left and a project that was executed within budget?

In the beginning of the project, figure your schedule in a backwards fashion. Starting with the site delivery date and working towards the beginning with executing the steel detail drawings, you will be able you to find the pertinent dates required for approval submittals and returns, receipt of purchased materials, as well as execution of shop labor including painting and galvanizing. Assign to each function the necessary time for execution. Use the information in the estimate to establish each assignment and shop labor hours, and get updated availability and delivery information from the vendors to be used.

Work this out on a bar chart schedule with a separate line for each category and you will see that some things may overlap. Material order may precede receipt of approved drawings to save time. Outsourced items may be ordered early to prevent scheduling impact.

Usually project start ups are already behind schedule. Look for the root cause of this delay. Was the project award beyond a reasonable amount of time from the quote date? Did you now miss the opportunity for the chosen steel detailer? Are certain materials now unavailable or difficult to resource timely?

These missed opportunities all are part of what made the quote competitive. Take control of your project by documenting the impact of the delay. and present that to the customer in writing, standing firm on the impact. If the root cause of the delay is late award of the project, the door is now open for added costs or scheduling time if you act quickly for a resolution with the contractor.

If you do not act immediately and in writing upon discovery of these delivery issues you will be held responsible to continue to maintain the schedule as it stands. You will end up executing overtime that will blow your budget to maintain an impossible schedule. Do not let this happen to you!

The Fabricator's Resource - July 2011
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