A Gantt Chart is basically a bar chart that is quite helpful and useful within the construction industry. This chart is used for planning and scheduling construction projects and the activities that take place each day that work is being completed. These charts also include information about supplies that are ordered, the subcontractors schedules, and any job-related administrative tasks.
There are many advantages to using a Gantt Chart in Construction, but these are the 5 most popular ones:
- Everyone can read these bar charts and understand which phase the project is on and what activities are being done or need to be done in the future.
- Critical points on this type of chart can be shown with bold colors or by outlining the bars in a different color.
- Updating the Gantt Chart can help keep the project managed properly and ensures that problems can be solved before they occur.
- These charts can be easily created using Excel or another similar type of software, which makes them easy to update and change.
- A Gantt Chart can easily be used for marketing purposes, as well as any aspect of the construction process.
When a construction company is creating their Gantt Chart for their current project, they will need to list the activities and tasks that are needed all the way down a single column. Another column will be used to indicate the time that it should take to complete each one of those activities and tasks. The top row will indicate the dates of the construction project.
To the right of each activity, a bar will be drawn to indicate the starting date and will continue across until it reaches the completion date of that activity.
Most of the activities and tasks must be completed in the sequence that they are listed, because many of them require one to be finished before the next one can be started. However, there are some activities and tasks that can be completed on their own.
While there are many times when a Gantt Chart can be used in the construction industry, most companies will use them for the following circumstances:
- To communicate the plan of the project or to update people on the status of the project
- To monitor the tasks that are listed within the project
- When creating proposals for smaller projects
- To share the sequence and the time it will take for each specific task
- To share what tasks need to be completed before other tasks can be started
There are a few drawbacks to using Gantt Charts in the construction industry though. A few that are the most notable include:
- These charts should not be used to define the breakdown structure of the work at the same time they are being used to show the scheduled activities, as this can cause confusion.
- If there are more than thirty activities for a project, a CPM is often a better tool for construction companies to utilize.
- These charts are not always helpful if a construction company needs them to display information.
- A Gantt Chart cannot completely represent the complexity of any project.
- All those horizonal bars can significantly misrepresent what resources are required for parts of any project.
- Any Gantt Chart that utilizes shading that represents the percentage completed may miscommunicate the true schedule of the performance of the workers.
Any construction company that is considering creating a Gantt Chart for their next project can use a sheet of paper and a pencil to get the same effect as what can be created on an Excel spreadsheet or similar program. However, any changes to the paper form will require that same person to create another Gantt Chart. Those same updates can be implemented into the Excel spreadsheet easily, saving time and headaches.
Most of the time, Gantt Charts have additional columns put in when modifications are being completed, as they will show some additional details that are necessary for everyone to know. These details often include the name of the person who is responsible for that activity or how much resources will be needed to complete each activity.
There are certain items that should never be included in Gantt Charts and those include specific meetings and the reviewing process. The reason for this is that each of those items may occur continuously over a longer period of time and it will come across as unclear on the chart.
Gantt Charts can allow construction companies to create an easy to read plan of the project that they are starting next. The chart is easy to follow, which means that even the new construction workers will understand what is going on, and that means that no one will feel like they have been left out of the loop when it comes to what is going on each day on the job site.