Construction capacity planning refers to how many resources you will need to finish a project. In this modern scenario, most project managers use workforce management tools like Bridgit to manage resources and track the project’s progress.
The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry are expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% from 2021 to 2028. That means construction companies need more tools backed by cutting-edge technology to improve capacity planning.
A sound capacity plan can maximize the profit involved in a construction project and minimize equipment, workforce, and time.
Keep reading to learn how to improve construction capacity planning for your next project.
5 methods for effective construction capacity planning
Capacity planning is a continuous process. You must keep measuring the performance of the particular department using the right capacity planning tools.
The following are the five methods to make a good capacity plan for your construction project.
1. Document capacity process
Documentation is a necessity for a smooth workflow in the construction industry. When you document the capacity process, you have a competitive advantage as it helps you devise a strong capacity plan.
The capacity document also creates understanding among the stakeholders of the project, including:
- Project owner – The party who owns the project and hires construction services.
- Contractor – The person who signs an agreement to provide resources for a project.
- Project manager – The person who manages and supervises the project lifecycle.
- IT department – Major function of a project which deals with all IT-related processes.
The documentation process measures and monitors capacity planning. You can make adjustments in the capacity document anytime you want. Plus, it’s easier to give the project stakeholders a briefing on capacity planning using the document.
Documenting these processes creates a mutual understanding and eventually improves the construction capacity planning.
Besides, a documented capacity plan becomes evidence in case of a capacity breach. If the resource utilization is poorly managed, project members can find the weak spot in the document and hold the parties accountable.
2. Analyze current metrics
One key advantage of documentation is that you can easily analyze critical process metrics. These metrics are used to measure the capacity of a construction project. Although sometimes no metrics exist to measure capacity, you can simply document the capacity planning.
When you or any particular member have the capacity document, they can give suggestions and help you improve the metrics. Additionally, analyzing those metrics requires looking for loopholes in capacity planning.
Don’t forget to look for loopholes in the metrics. For example, if capacity exceeds the limit of a particular resource, you must get an alert from the capacity metrics. If it doesn’t notify you, quickly adjust or replace that system.
The improvements in the capacity metrics are associated with:
- Cost reduction – Analyzing the current state of capacity metrics can minimize cost without affecting efficiency and quality.
- Risk mitigation – You can reduce the risk of cost overruns during and after the construction project.
- Time-saving – The metrics give a schedule with capacity planning, which helps you finish the project on time.
The capacity planning software offers several tools like Gantt charts and Kanban boards to manage resources. You can also manage employee performance, documents, schedules, and communication using the software.
3. Observe trending requests and incidents
Capacity breaches affect the whole construction company’s performance. Therefore, it’s important to note the trends and incidents due to capacity breaching.
You must go through the operational history to analyze the capacity trends. While reviewing the records, observe how many times the company requested a change in the capacity plan.
Frequent change requests in capacity planning also show poorly managed capacity processes. For a construction project, it’s important to know resource utilization limits. Otherwise, the company might suffer a huge loss.
Secondly, check how many incidents happened due to a capacity breach. A study shows that less than 60% of projects meet the original budget due to poor capacity planning in the construction industry. Furthermore, 50% of projects barely finish in the committed timeline.
4. Structure a capacity management community of practice (CoP)
A community of practice or CoP is a group of people who share the same concern and focus on a single entity. Members of CoP also possess a similar knowledge base which makes them collaboratively work on a particular area of a system.
When you form a CoP, its members must be connected to the IT sector and run the capacity process either directly or indirectly. That way, the CoP can easily manage the capacity process and planning.
But how does that improve capacity management? This community of like-minded people can focus on a single entity rather than catering to the whole IT sector. Consider it a sub-department of IT, for example, a transactional unit.
The CoP, an expert in transactions during a construction project, can manage the capacity without interfering with any other unit.
You can also form a CoP early in a project, invest in their training, and boost capacity planning.
5. Hold capacity plan review sessions
Documenting the capacity plan can be challenging. You should hold review sessions where all the project’s decision-makers and stakeholders gather and review the capacity plan.
If anyone finds inconsistency in the document, they can all discuss that matter. Similarly, the IT department’s feedback on the capacity plan is important because they have full control over the capacity processes.
Therefore, you must analyze the capacity plan using the respective metrics and compare the capacity measures as well.
Besides, you can schedule monthly meetings to review the capacity plan. That can improve resource utilization, and the IT department can efficiently fulfill all the business requirements without incurring additional costs.
Capacity planning is essential for every project as it prevents you from cost overruns. You can find tools and hire an expert to manage the resources. Also, you can train your employees on how to use capacity planning tools.
Using the right tool to manage the resources is important because construction companies have unique ways to perform each task. Therefore, use a customizable capacity planning tool and manage your resources in the most optimum way.