A top challenge for home builders is managing workforce schedules in an efficient, repeatable method that keeps a home construction project on time and on budget.

Completing a project on time is fundamental to earning the customer satisfaction that builds a business’s reputation for the long term.

Professional home builders know just how important it is to stay on schedule, stating in a 2024 industry survey that nearly 30% of their projects do not finish on time.

That survey of 1,800 builders from the Association of Professional Builders also found that subcontractor delays is the number one challenge in terms of running construction projects. To combat delays, builders look for a visual overview of their subs’ work. After all, knowing how to time the critical tasks they complete is what successful construction scheduling is all about.

Gantt charts have long been a mainstay used by project managers to create that successful overview. A construction Gantt chart shows what needs to be done and when. It coordinates subcontractor teams and ties them to the teams involved in other stages of construction planning.

While Gantt charts themselves are nothing new, a more dynamic and adaptable approach to using construction Gantt charts has become more common. 

Many teams are increasingly turning to modern construction management software, which offers a more interactive Gantt diagram of complex project tasks. Construction software also offers project estimating, budgeting and invoicing features.

Why are Gantt charts used in construction projects?

Construction Gantt charts visually depict the project schedule, breaking work into manageable tasks and highlighting how those groups of tasks ideally flow together in a progressive order. This forms a backbone of task dependencies that allows construction managers to plan precisely the arrival of various materials and labor teams. 

With this visual picture, managers also identify potential bottlenecks, and formulate plans to avoid them. The resulting project plan keeps the entire project on track.

Consider what can go wrong when project phases and construction timelines are not properly laid out. Sub teams that arrive on site without sufficient materials to complete a job can upend the schedule, especially if the team can’t return to finish the job on time. 

Equally inefficient is padding too much time in the schedule and having to pay to store materials not needed on site for weeks.

Let’s discuss how to get the task sequence correct to avoid these problems.

Steps when Planning a Construction Project Schedule

Every construction project is unique, and your schedule should be a customized roadmap, not a generic timetable. It involves understanding various scheduling techniques, utilizing project planning tools, and carefully considering the project’s specific materials, contractors, timeline and scope.  

Here are some steps to consider when creating your project schedule:

Review scope baseline

Carefully analyze the project’s scope of work (SOW) document before doing your construction scheduling, ensuring your schedule aligns with the defined deliverables, milestones and objectives. With Buildxact, you will have created a specifications document that details all that you need to ensure your schedule reflects the project at hand.

Create specific activities

Break down the project’s major deliverables into smaller, manageable tasks, leading to a granular list of the specific actions required for project completion. With Buildxact, all the detailed tasks are at your fingertips. Tasks created in the estimate move smoothly over to an online scheduling tool that uses a Gantt chart view.

Sequence those activities

Analyzing the tasks you’ve created and determining their logical order, or critical path, will identify dependencies and help you prioritize tasks in logical order. This order helps you schedule subs and material deliveries properly. Remember, you don’t want the start date for the painters to hit if the drywall is still incomplete.

Estimate activity resources

For each task, you must assess the necessary workforce, materials and equipment. But you also must consider external factors like the availability of your work teams. With Buildxact, builders send RFQs and purchase orders on the same platform that they use to schedule all the individual tasks. Using one software platform makes project planning and team coordination easier.

Estimate activity durations

To avoid running teams into each other’s work, you need to know the duration of tasks. Carefully consider each task and realistically determine how long it will take to complete. Then factor in potential risks, resource constraints and historical data to arrive at accurate durations. With Buildxact, builders easily follow the progress of tasks and can use schedules that successfully estimate task durations as a template for future project schedules that are similar in size and scope.

Buildxact offers easy ways to catagorize and group tasks in a logical order.

The drawbacks using Gantt charts for construction projects

While a helpful tool, Gantt charts may have limitations in the complex world of construction projects. Gantt charts can become overly detailed and challenging to interpret as projects grow in scale. This complexity means that even minor changes can require significant restructuring of the chart, which can become pages long when using spreadsheets to create them.

Moreover, Gantt charts created with spreadsheets are better suited for visualizing basic timelines rather than offering detailed insights that adequately showcase specific task requirements, resource needs, or how far along a task is to completion.

Finally, relying on manual updates in spreadsheets hinders the Gantt chart’s effectiveness in dynamic construction environments. Delays or errors in updating the chart can lead to outdated information, hindering its usefulness as a real-time decision-making tool.

The modern way to schedule and plan construction projects

Construction management software like Buildxact represents a more modern way to plan construction projects, with its digital scheduling and planning that go beyond the capabilities of a manual Gantt chart.
Software solutions, like Buildxact, are built to run real-time updates, dependency visualizations, resource management tools, and integrated communication platforms. These platforms empower teams to handle the complexities of construction projects with greater flexibility and transparency.

A cloud-based software tool like Buildxact allows everyone on a construction project—project managers, subcontractors, and field crews—to access and update the schedule from an internet device. This type of transparent information ensures everyone involved is on the same page.

Software platforms also offer real-time dashboards and progress reporting that provide data-driven insights. It allows teams to spot potential bottlenecks early, adjust plans proactively, and improve future project planning.

Easy to update

Buildxact offers intuitive interfaces and functionality using basic computer skills that builders already know. With point-and-click commands, builders create and modify Gantt charts for all the tasks that make up even the most complex projects. Any modifications and dependencies can be adjusted quickly, keeping the chart up-to-date and reflecting the real-time project.

Collaboration and communication

Cloud-based software lets team members access and edit the Gantt chart collaboratively, promoting a shared understanding of the project, reducing version conflicts, and fostering transparency.

How to create a Gantt Chart with construction project scheduling software 

Creating a Gantt chart with construction project scheduling software is intuitive and efficient. You’ll save hours by building your schedules using a software’s interface and drag-and-drop functionality, tasks, durations, and dependencies and linking them visually.

Construction project scheduling software like Buildxact will elevate your scheduling beyond the static Gantt chart. Buildxact integrates scheduling with estimating, purchasing, and cost tracking to create a seamless workflow that eliminates data silos and minimizes manual updates.

Tailored specifically for the construction industry, Buildxact offers a robust, user-friendly solution to streamline scheduling and drive project success.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a risk-free trial today or talk it over with one of our team members during an interactive demo.