5 Ways to Improve your Construction Resource Capacity Planning Strategy

Construction projects, owing to their long-term commitments as well as their budget overruns, are easily projects that suffer the most without scientific capacity management. Even if a construction manager is a practitioner of the basics – meticulous data analysis, seamless integration and frequent accounting of new demand, he/she is likely to face hurdles in committing to resource capacity that can be allocated to a project.

This is usually caused by the gap that arises between demand records that don’t qualify the ‚Äòreal-time’ mark necessary to prompt intuitive decisions. As a result, capacity is not shaped to have the precision that prompts quality. The effects of such mismatched capacity supply are catastrophic, to say the least, especially given the external risks that a construction project has to mitigate.

On the other hand, real-time updates, a layered skill inventory, and demand forecasts that encompass pipeline projects as well as their requirements can help you build projects and brands alike. Here is how!

  • Calculate capacity

    Needless to say, every construction project manager is aware of having to keep a track of his/her resource capacity. And this is mostly exercised in terms of staff count and timesheet hours. However, what they often forget to do is to bring their different resources – full-timers, part-timers, contractors, and freelancers onto the same plate. Add to this, the differences in resource timelines and project hours, the manager can hardly deduce the capacity available in actual numbers. A simple start is to have your capacity measure in full-time equivalent (FTE) so as to have a unified measure of your capacity. Similarly, you can easily convert your demand hours into the same measure too and calculate whether or not you are equipped to handle the upcoming demand.

  • Build a skill inventory

    While your non-human resource inventory is meticulously detailed, your human resource skill inventory faces the brunt of mismatched details or worse, obsolete information. Allocations, as a result, are products of speculation and circumstances rather than strategic motives. In addition, a skill inventory helps you plan whether you need more contractors skilled to do a special task or start hiring to meet time commitments that are beyond the capacity of your present resources.
    In the competitive construction industry, for you to win repeat business, it is of utmost importance that you can access both primary and secondary skills of your resource pool without having to pore over different databases.

  • Forecast demand

    Having the business development and operational wings of your construction project aligned with one another is probably a checklist item you have ticked off. But this flow of information shouldn’t be a monthly status update mandate that is oblivious to changes. Invest in real-time reports that draw data from your current as well as future requirements and base important resource planning decisions around this data.
    Further, managers of your engineering and contractor teams have to be in the loop to plan their team’s schedule and start training them if necessary. This also helps keep your risk, medical and safety licenses updated before their due expiry.

  • Make room for transparency

    From the perspective of work culture, transparency is probably something you are absolutely invested in. Yet, the realities of a construction site can easily mar the decisions made from the comfort of an office. So, let there be a free flow of information between the site and the project office. Remember that you can hardly be precise about the weather and that despite your best efforts, safety hazards cannot be completely avoided. Besides, you’ll have to keep buffers in terms of time as well as manpower too. The quicker these requirements can be communicated, the better your damage control is likely to be. Communication and transparency, no doubt go a long way!

  • Keep the process cyclic

    Given the complexities of individual projects, it is likely that your capacity management is shaped around projects rather than having a set process for itself. A classic example is the unfortunate losses that construction companies face in the wake of letting their contractors go at the end of a large project only to hire them a little later, for a similar project that they hadn’t prepared for. Instead, a cyclic process that runs irrespective of your lean or viable seasons, helps you retain a workforce, train them and harness their potential in more ways than one. In the longer run, you’ll immensely benefit from a pool of resources who believe in your brand and are passionate about your projects.

What has been your most significant learning while managing the capacity of your construction business? Let us know in the comments below!

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Aakash Gupta

Resource management subject matter expert at Saviom Software with over 7 years’ experience, Aakash Gupta champions for scientific resource management with publications on best practices and tools. You can reach him through LinkedIn