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There are three levels of planning – 1. An overall plan that provides a general outline of work. 2. Contingency plans to fall back on in case the original plan goes awry. 3. Detailed planning for work execution at the task level. Detailed advance planning ensures that the project is complete on time, safely, and under budget. The timings of preplanning may fluctuate from a week to a year, depending upon the type of operation, crew, equipment, and size of the project.
Preplanning is broadly defined as an organized system of advance planning that produces detailed written instructions for a given task, be it an assignment of responsibility for away-from-the-work-face activities, coordination among work assignments, or instructions at crew or individual worker level.
The construction managers often tend to ignore and avoid preplanning because they consider it as an added extended task that will cost more money and demand staffing. On the other hand, the construction managers ignore the fact that a false start, delay, or insufficient operations can cost much more which can be easily avoided through preplanning. If done properly, preplanning facilitates in the team effort, pooling of ideas, improves effectiveness and kindles creativity.
Preplanning affects multiple parts of the construction processes in so many ways that it makes it difficult to quantify the savings that are made. But, positive responses from industry personnel and cost effectiveness studies encourage the use of preplanning on cost centric projects. Usually, young engineering graduates are hired under superintendents because they are likely to come up with more innovative solutions to a problem and the exposure helps them to advance in the field.
Time and cost are the two most important factors an owner must consider while deciding to go ahead with a conceived project. Cost is usually determined by approximate estimate. Four most common methods to be used in cost and time estimates are- 1. Horseback estimates: In this method, the owner would know the approximate cost and completion time. 2. The judgement of a qualified expert: This method relies upon the personal knowledge and skill of an expert. 3. Statistical method: It depends upon records from earlier projects. 4. Computed or engineered standards: Values of time required to carry out operations are calculated based on estimations.
Preplanning without scheduling has a very little value. Scheduling is the activity operations carried out by adjustment to fit changes that develop as the work progresses. Another form of preplanning in the form of block and task drawings (employed for concrete placements), and physical models which are built to scale could also be used effectively. Additionally, 3-D model by the use of computer aided design (CAD) models have also gained prominence in recent past. Some major areas for preplanning are- an improvement of constructability, work site, material management, installation of equipment, and on-site operations.
For a project to be successful, functions such as assigning responsibilities to deserving candidates, follow-up on preplanning efforts and analyzation of alternative methods, following standard methods, and maintaining a job-assignment sheet is of paramount importance.
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