When scheduling projects, many moving parts can mean the difference between an early start and a late finish. The critical path method, also known as CPM or critical path analysis, has been a type of scheduling software used in the project planning process for decades.
Construction project management has required CPM scheduling on occasion since around the 1980s and is much more common in recent years due to software improvements.
Thanks to CPM software companies continually improving their product, affordable scheduling software exists, making it a sound investment for large companies, small businesses, and startups.
Even so, many general contractors and subcontractors don’t leverage the benefits of CPM scheduling software in their construction projects.
What Is Critical Path Method Scheduling Software?
CPM software takes the critical activities required to complete a construction project. It breaks them down into segments with an activity duration that can last anywhere from one day to twenty days.
Once the software identifies the critical tasks, they are arranged in the most efficient management sequence to create a schedule for the overall project. This includes a potential start date, overall completion time, and potential issues that may cause conflict within the construction management process.
Using this baseline data, CPM schedulers can oversee the construction process and use the CPM software’s algorithm to streamline the construction project progress.
Project managers familiar with CPM software can begin to develop positive improvements and meaningful adjustments to the project scope, management, and bottom line.
Three Benefits Of CPM Scheduling Techniques
While CPM scheduling software is used throughout the construction industry, many project managers still choose to navigate their complex projects without it. This is a grave error that can have negative impacts on a project from start to finish.
CPM scheduling offers tremendous benefits to general contractors or subcontractors that help them enhance their company’s efficiency.
Here are just three examples of how quality CPM scheduling software and a knowledgeable scheduler can help your next construction project run as smoothly as possible as you work towards meeting the finish date.
1. Manage Cash Flow
A good CPM schedule is a source of revenue itself. While not all have reached this level of sophistication, some scheduling software products can predict the monthly costs of an entire project for an owner or contractor.
CPM software is an excellent negotiation tool for working with stakeholders because it provides essential information that an owner can bring to a lending institution. By offering an actionable schedule, contractors can adjust that schedule to make the plan a reality.
This software also allows contractors to combine construction projects to predict necessary funding and staffing based on the region or company requirement. Even a basic CPM schedule is an excellent communication tool for construction project management.
2. Make Project Predictions
While no one can truly predict the future, the CPM scheduling algorithm can help contractors determine the project’s expected duration, when they can expect retainage, and the optimal time for supply deliveries.
These predictions can help determine how much manpower is needed long before the hiring process begins. CPM scheduling software can also determine the start and completion date for subcontractors, in addition to the number of workers the trade typically requires.
This will help minimize the number of required workers on a project by logically planning the task sequence without adding time to the total duration of the project schedule.
3. Alter Order Management
It’s typical for complex projects, especially in the construction sector, to receive change orders during the project lifecycle.
Contractors can determine how a change order will impact the finish time by using CPM scheduling. Critical path management scheduling offers a great way to identify and justify additional expenses with change orders.
Critical path management scheduling can also help contractors how the changes affect other project activities, subcontractors, and requirements for additional staffing for your project team. It also enables you to predict what adjustments need to be made to the project schedule.
A CPM schedule is the ultimate communication and negotiation tool to help you manage change orders successfully.
Unsure how to implement CPM scheduling into your current project or in the future? Partner with experienced CPM schedulers to ensure your project is completed in the amount of time required.
What To Expect From CPM Scheduling Services
As you can see, the importance of a strong CPM schedule is essential for complex projects on a tight schedule.
If you want to meet the target completion date or even position subcontractors to finish early, you will need to use professional CPM scheduling services, with deliverables such as:
- Preliminary Schedules
- Monthly Construction Preview Schedules
- Resource-Loading And Cost Schedules
- Time Impact Analysis
- BIM 4D And 5D Scheduling
CPM scheduling services will provide you with a work breakdown structure that can predict scheduling issues as your construction project progresses. Without it, you may find yourself on the longest path due to inaccurate time estimates.
Use Critical Path Method To Maintain Strong Project Control
As you can see, CPM scheduling is essential when it comes to effective project management. Construction project managers who do not leverage CPM software to their advantage may find themselves lagging behind the competition and struggling as their projects miss vital milestones.
When you choose to partner with Ariabuild’s professional construction scheduling consultants, you can rest assured that they utilize CPM scheduling to provide reliable and realistically achievable schedules and timelines.
Our consulting services connect you with a dedicated expert project team that will build a realistic project schedule to ensure your project stays on schedule and within budget.
Contact Aribuild today to get started on optimizing your construction project schedule.
CPM Method FAQs
Can you have more than one critical path if there are multiple dependencies?
Yes, you can have more than one critical path and even several critical paths running at once within a project timeframe.
Is the critical path method static?
No, the critical path can and will be changed often.
What happens if there is a delay in one of the activities within the critical path?
A delay in the critical path will cause a delay in providing deliverables and push back the project completion timeline.