The scope of this article is kept only up to the basic understanding of how a resource is to be derived and planned so it is kept like that only.
For a successful project it should be planned well and all efforts should be made to ensure that all the components required to complete the project are understood, established and taken care off. Even a small bolt required at a vital location not planned can cause a delay. There are many vital components of planning one of them is resource planning.
To understand resource planning while starting a project one needs to understand the activities involved in that project. The activities form the basis of all planning & monitoring of the project. An activity if well understood before starting of a project will lead to a good planning and understanding of the requirement & implementation of resources in a project. My this notation shall form part of almost all the knowledge sharing as I myself try to repeat and remind me of this fact about need to understand activity well, which if missed even once may lead to arbitrary and unexpected results, mostly failures, in a project.
Once we understand the activity, its sequencing and the difficulty of execution then the resource requirement related to that activity is easy to work out and its optimum utilization can also be planned and achieved successfully.
Let me try & explain this process with one or two examples that how understanding an activity before start of planning and then estimating resource requirement will help in better planning.
Let me take the example of most common activity in construction i.e. Concreting and its allied activities like shuttering and reinforcement. While planning for concrete to execute then there are two method of planning one is by thumb rule and the second is detailed planning.
There are few major components to achieve execution of concreting for any element viz.
- Location of element to understand ease of reach and the equipment required to produce and place concrete,
- Shape of element to plan formwork, shuttering & scaffolding
- Quantity of concrete, to plan Men, Material and Machinery
- Reinforcement requirement including its quantity, location of cutting & bending, transportation means etc.
Then all the major components are divided into the small components like the concrete is divided into its ingredient viz. Cement, Aggregate, Sand, Admixtures, water; The form work then be planned for the material like plywood, runner, nails, scaffolding material, steel shuttering plates, jacks etc. depending on the methodology finalized and so on.
If we go by thumb rule of estimating resource requirement, say, for shuttering, for overall project, let’s take an example that against 1 Cum of concrete 3 Sqm of shuttering is required and 100 Kg of reinforcement is required and we start estimating the quantities required for shuttering and scaffolding materials and all allied activities. If, the norms are well established for a particular type of building then we may be successful but for all new projects this method is advised to be used as only a rough cast estimate and not the detailed planning. If we bank on the rough cast estimate then the chances that the same may lead to resource crunch during middle of the project or may lead to cost overrun due to excess procurement of material which shall actually be not used in the project.
Let me explain it further. In a project, depending on type of project the structure type changes for example in a building project the concrete quantity in foundation shall be approximately 30% of the overall quantity (Thumb Rule). The shuttering required for this quantity of concrete shall be approximately less than 1 Sqm per Cum and even less in case of single raft foundation for building. As we grow upward, depending on the plate area of slab the shuttering quantity requirement will increase. Though the overall average may match with the average estimated but the type of material requirement for raft shall be entirely different than the components required for shuttering of column and slab. Also understanding the details of activity will help in many other ways most important of them are optimum utilization of material, for example, the number of typical columns if worked out before material planning will again save the cost of unwanted column shuttering sets and shall help in achieving a better repetition. Even the ready sets of shuttering from project or building can very well be utilized. The standardization of elements in a typical project is not covered in this instance though that is also a vital parameter for a successful project within optimum time & cost.
Similarly there are many examples on need of understanding activities before taking up the activity of resource planning. Few checklist can be prepared as a standard which can be used as a handy tool in planning resources and understanding if everything required is catered for or not. The checklist once prepared may work as a datum and many others though not equipped in resource planning still may help the planning team in contributing the valuable information and sharing their experience. The checklist may be made separately for each activity or may expand or reduced based on the need of project & activity.
Few Tips for resource planning:
Questions to be asked to yourself before Labour Planning:
- Do you know how to prepare a labour schedule?
- Do you generally keep your workers steadily employed?
- Do you make good use of your skilled workers?
- Do you make sure that workers are not suddenly switched from one job to another?
- Do you make sure that you only employ capable workers?
- Do you compare the time the job takes to the cost of the labour used on it?
- Do you know how many workers are required for each job?
- Do you have standby jobs available for workers who are temporarily surplus on other jobs?
- Do you schedule workers in advance for essential but non-productive jobs such as tidying the site?
- Do you avoid having to hire casual labour as a panic measure by planning labour needs in advance?
Questions to be asked to yourself before Machinery Planning:
- Do you know how to prepare a plant and transport schedule?
- Do you generally keep your plant regularly in use?
- Do you make sure that plant is regularly maintained?
- Do you make sure that concrete mixers are clean out after use?
- Do you make sure that shovels and other hand tools are cleaned after use?
- Do you compare the time the job takes to the output of the plant used on it?
- Do you know which items of plant to use on each operation?
- Do you have standby jobs available so as to get full use of your plant?
- Do you schedule plant in advance for essential but non-productive tasks such as tidying the site?
Do you make sure that you never have to hire in expensive plant as a panic measure?