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Size of schedules

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Tomas Rivera
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Anyone care to tell us what is the usual number of activities you have in your schedules?
What is the largest activity network you have developed?

What is the industry in which you work?

For me, the usual number of activities per schedule is between 2,000 and 6,000 activities.
The largest schedule I have developed contained 15,000 activities.
Sometimes I also develop schedules with 2 or 3 hundred activities.

I work in construction, mainly industrial building.

Replies

Mohamed Gebriel
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Repetitive work does not cause a problem with current planning tools, on the contrary they could be a cuase of simplifying the planning task specifically with the ability to create fragnets and templates in P3 and P3e. On the other hand LOB charts have more disadvantages than advantages in comparison with CPM networks that theyve never made it to strong commercial tools that planners could utilize. The most important issue though beyond any discussion is the way the owner would like to see it. Most owners would usually ask for commonly used and familiar layouts, known tools and the ability to share throught the different involved parties.
Clive Holloway
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You do not need that many activities for repetitious work such as hotel fit outs. Line of balance type charts will suffice.
Mohamed Gebriel
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Hi Joe,

Ive participated in planning a 5 Star hotel-residential-business complex in Cairo and this is how I can anaylize it.

In this project and in most large projects nowadays there is a trend to fasttrack the project, i.e. commence project while still working on detailed drawings. The advantage is getting the project finished as quick as possible, while the disadvantage of course is delay of information concerning drawings, procurement, suppliers and subcontracting. So, what Ive done here with a fellow planner was an initial master schedule which took about two calender months of work with a total of about 2500 activity.

Our next step was to detail each and every discipline and trade as more information is available. The most important step is when a trade subcontractor is approved and he submits a detailed schedule for his work in accordance to our master schedule. With each and every method statement received from a s/c or supplier, a part of the schedule gets detailed. After a few months we had a finalized detialed schedule with 7000+ activity. Of course many revisions to that followed.

So, as I see it, the process of planning a large scale project is not a one shot task. It is a gradually build-up of information starting with the tender scheule that gets more detailed as you move, but you must have it finalized in a very early stage of the project.
Tomas Rivera
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Joe:

I planned and implemented a 15,000 activity schedule for a 96 room hotel building. It took me 1.5 months to develop the initial schedule. This schedule included all the detailed activities for all the disciplines, like structural, architecture, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, etc.
We udated this schedule every week and it took me an average of 6 hours to update, issue two week look ahead field reports and a management schedule report which included about 10 individual reports.

Tomas Rivera
Joe Mansour
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Hi everybody,
I am very interested in your discussion. I do mostly hotel and building planning. In a 100 room hotel , I find it necessaru to go up to 5000 to 6000 activity. The problem then will be the time you spend to develop the schedule. The prject management is not really convinced that such a detailed schedule is needed. They think they can manage with a much smaller schedule, and it shouldnt take that much of planning manhours to spent.
Does any of you have an idea about the average planning manhours a planner should spent to develop agood schedule, say like in hours per 500 activities?
Or is there any reference on the issue?
This would really help me convince them.
Bernard Ertl
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We consistently use detailed schedules averaging around 6,000 tasks for maintenance projects in the oil refining and petrochemical process industries (also called shutdowns / turnarounds). The largest schedule that we were personally involved with contained 37,000+ tasks.

We update all of our schedules twice a day (every shift change) to provide the oncoming shift updated schedules. We use our own ATC Professional™ system for managing turnarounds.

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc.
Luis Silva
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The project that I am working (combined cycle) has 3900 activities devided by:

1000 related to major equipment supplier engineering, procure, fabrication, delivery.
1600 related to engineering that put together the supplier of equipment engineering with any other needs to get the design completed.
200 related to client issues
1100 under main contractor responsability as procure, delivery, subcontract, mobilize, contruction, statup.

The main contractor IDs are updated on weekly basis, and all other are update on monthly basis.

My personal opinion is that 1100 main contractor responsability, should be increased to 2500-3000 items. The problem that I face is that the company control is for accounting purposes and not for tracking construction performance, which FS relationship is difficult to occur.

Hey Tomas if you can send me more info about your system I appreciate: la.silva@verizon.net
Mike Harvey
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Dear Toms

Visit hpcconsult.co.uk and look under ’Planning Academy’ it may answer your question?

Regards

Mike Harvey
Mohamed Gebriel
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Tomas,

The schedule was cordinated with 2 others and yes it was difficult specifically at the beginning.

The update cycle was weekly. The update itslef was not a big issue because we created an integration tool to upload actuals from the company’s DB tool which contained all site information and download all planned dates back again to the DB after scheduling. All team members working on the sites then had accessibility to this company server based DB from anywhere. They were able to extract updated scheduled dates and then reupdate the DB with actuals and the cycle repeats itself again.
Tomas Rivera
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Mohamed:

How often did you update this 140,000 activity schedule?
Was this updating effort difficult to coordinate?
How did you distribute the updated schedule to 4,500+ sites?
How long did it take?

By level I, II or III, you mean the level of detail of the schedule I suppose. In my personal case I usually do only detailed schedules down to the crew daily task. And as you said, this level of detail is geared to a select group of projects and/or management/owner requirements or needs. These level of detail is done using our Altek System which produces schedules directed to high performance construction projects. High performance projects are projects that have a very tight completion date, high cost if delayed, great risk or uncertainty or in general a need for an extraordinary control.

Tomas Rivera
Mohamed Gebriel
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Hello all,

I think schedules sized can vary dramatically according to many factors as:

* Stage (Tender schedule, construction sch.)
* Schedule Level (I, II, etc)
* Scope of control and involvement
* Scheduler’s experience
* Field (Construction, IT, Utilities, etc)
* CM’s point of view and requirements!

My average schedules range from (500 - 7000) activities. I’ve worked in construction, telecommunication and Oil & Gas. In one recent case, and try to believe this, I’ve developed a 140,000 activity schedule, which I do believe could be the largest ever!?

This was a schedule for an enormous mobile network with more than 4500+ sites around the country. The two main activity templates themselves contained only 50+ activities repeated for 4500 sites and a few other templates which go along.

I used P3e with a dual 1GB Processor Server with 1G of RAM and still it was a nightmare. I had to divide the projects into 9 projects each resembling a region in able to be able to work on them.

By the way, the schedule run took almost 20 hours, yes it’s not a joke. But once you get everything working and in spite of being slow, you can really feel what you have accomplished and be proud of it specially when you see that this effort has supported project control a lot.

A question to all you planners. Is there any specific standard or guideline for creating diferent levels of schedules (level I, II, III, ..) other than just being more detailed as you go to a larger level?


Ali Hamouda
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Thanks Tomas,

I am waiting for the reports so as I can have good understanding about your system.

Tomas Rivera
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I am sorry Ali, but my system is not yet structured in a way that can be marketed. It is used so far as a service I give to my clients.

There are plans for the medium term future to get it ready for distribution, including a book about it. I will send to you instead a set of reports for you to better understand what I am talking about.
Thanks

Tomas Rivera
Tomas Rivera
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I will be sending some reports to you, to your e-mail account. The part that takes the most time is to develop the initial target schedule, it could take from a couple of weeks to two months for small to medium size projects (1 to 50 million dlls projects) on average. The work needed to update is minimal, from 4 to 10 hours including the management report. For the field people it is something that in a way does not take any additional time to them if they adopt a disciplined method.

Tomas Rivera
Tomas Rivera
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I will be sending some reports to you in a couple of days, to your e-mail. Thanks Tomas Rivera
Ali Hamouda
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Thanks Tommas for this valuable information, I wanted to ask about your system "Altek System", about the procesures and routins and guideline you have used in this system, or if you don,t mine to send me example. and if the system can be sold, give us a demo if available. thanks
William Stakelin
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This level of scheduling would not be practicle for the company that I work for. (This seems like a great idea, and I would love to take part in a project with this amount of control.) As a Supervisor I am expected to work as well as supervise. This amount of control in a project would take alot of time to produce and track. I do not think that my boss would alow me the amount of time that I would need to do this work. Although I would most likly not be able to impliment such a large schedule, I am still interested in learning all that I can about creating and tracking schedules.

William E. Stakelin
William Stakelin
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I would like to take a look at that schedule. My e-mail address is wstakelin@msn.com thanks, william e. stakelin
Tomas Rivera
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Ali:

I said before that my main area of application was industrial building, but this 15,000 activity schedule was a three story 60775 sf hotel building with 96 guest rooms. It was originally scheduled for 7 months but change orders delayed the construction 2 more months plus contractor and owner delay was one more month.
It was a lot of information and reports on the jobsite. But this information was organized according to the site organization. The contractor had a superintendent and 4 area resident engineers (one for each story and one more for site work). Also there were support personnel acting as supervisors (steel, concrete, finishes, electrical, HVAC, etc). The owner had his own small organization plus that of the subcontractors. Our reports were organized in such a way that each responsible person had his own part of the schedule every monday morning. This shcedule was updated every weekend and a two week window of information was distributed at the site every monday.
Amount of resources? The usual for this type of project, nothing fancy. Actually, one of the benefits we offer with our system is to build a project in less time with less resources. Sounds contradictory?
Dificulties encountered? The implementation of a detailed schedule on site requires discipline by everybody which is something dificult to find.
As to the initial schedule development, it took me 4 weeks to do it. Our schedules are done entirely by us. We do not compose schedules from the subcontractors’ schedules. We use a group of procedures, routines and guidelines to develop detailed schedules. The above elements are the heart of our Altek System developed over years of analysis and experience.

Tomas Rivera
Ali Hamouda
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Hi Tomas,

in response to your question ,

I usually work in schedules from 3000-4000 activites, and the industry in which I work is building construction & Oil field.

But I wonder about the 15000 activity size schedule that you have build! I did not imagine such a huge schedule,,,till us about this project,such as the time of execution the amount of resources and the cost .did u execute it in a reasonable time...I mean no delay...what are the dificulties you have met when you have big activites like that????.

I have an Idea I am trying to make it now me and our project manager,,is to build a model (some thing like programing methods), about how to build a project from A-Z.I read that u did that before,
some guides or examples from you about how to build this Model would be appreciated.

Regards
Ali
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Imron Asran
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I was so interested with your report ( schedule). Please send me the sample of the schedule or report as reference to my e-mail : Imron.Arsan@tripatra.fluor.com.

Thank a lot,

Imron

Tomas Rivera
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I relate to your answer because many people that have been in the construction bussiness for many years had never heard of schedules so large until they heard about my system. But, I am still wondering how many out there have been developing schedules this big.

Actually, I developed a system called Altek System geared to developing detailed schedules for high performance projects. High performance projects are projects with a special need or condition, like a high cost if delayed, or complex, a very tight completion date, great risk or uncertainty or something else that requires an extraordinary control.

I have been using this system for 14 years as a service I offer to my clients. The projects or clients that hire me are usually special projects or clients, as I said.

It is not hard to understand and it is easy to use. The hard part comes when it is difficult for people to change the way they are used to work, and this happens when that special project comes along that needs to be managed in a nonstandard way.

Detailed schedules must be updated every week to be workable. Most of the activities are daily activities at the crew level for very specific tasks at very specific stretches of the job.
Part of the system is the way it should be used at the jobsite. Information distributed is handled differently depending on the person and the intended use. Every monday morning every subcontractor, superintendent, resident engineer and supervisor, gets his/her part of a two week window bar chart. This bar chart shows detailed activities for everything that person is responsible for. He or she manages his work based on the timing and priority shown on the bar charts, and reports progress at the end of the week. There is a specific procedures for every part of the process of implementing the system on a project. There is also a weekly management report.

The key to all of this is to develop a model that reflects the true nature of an ever changing construction project. This model serves as a decision making tool for keeping the job on target, everyday.

If you are still interested, I can send example reports so you can have a feel of what I am talking about. I would have to send them to your e-mail because it seems the forum does not handle attachments.
William Stakelin
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I was wondering what size projects you deal with. I work for a general contractor that builds commercial and industrial buildings. I can not imagine a schedule with the amount of activities that you speak of.

I have been in construction for about seventeen years. I have supervised for the last three years. I am just starting to get a feel for creating schedules.

In construction as you must well know, there are sixteen divisions. There are 254 sub-divisions. Most of the time all of the sub-divisions are not used. I can not imagine the need for a schedule with 2,000 activities.

I would be interested to see an example of such a schedule.

Also, do you broadcast only that part of the schedule that is relevant to each sub-contractor. It seems to me that a schedule of that magnitude would be hard to understand.

I was thinking that on my next project I would create a schedule. Then I would follow-up with weekly or monthly (whatever meets the needs of the project) sub-schedules for each contractor with only the information that is relevant to each particular trade. This way each contractor has a clear understanding about what is expected of him.

Respectfuly yours,

William E. Stakelin