How to create the perfect construction timeline template for your business
It’s high-peak construction season. You’re getting contracts left and right, and are booked solid.
Can’t complain — you’d prefer being drenched by rain than dying of thirst.
But there’s a problem:
Each project you’re working on needs its own construction timeline.
And creating these from scratch can make you want to use your head as a hammer.
This is an issue every busy construction project manager has to deal with. Thankfully, there’s a workaround…
By using a construction timeline template, you can quickly copy your existing project model, add and remove tasks relevant to each particular project, punch in the time frames, and assign your contractors to each task.
Then voilà, your project is ready to begin.
Let’s break the process down, and show you how to create a construction timeline with one of monday.com’s templates.
But first, let’s get a little background on what a construction timeline template is (and why it’s a must-have).
What is a construction timeline template?
A construction timeline template is a template you can use over and over to create timelines for your construction projects. It’s used to speed up the process of creating construction timelines and project schedules without having to start from scratch every time.
It looks like this.
Using a scheduling template helps you create your construction timelines faster and more consistently.
Since you’re starting from the same outline, they’ll always look the same, you never have to worry about forgetting a key task, and you don’t have to retype the same info a million times.
All this is particularly critical when the average backlog for general contractors is sitting around 9 months. You just can’t afford delays.
What are the 6 phases of construction?
Creating a construction project schedule with phases makes it simple to see what needs to be done on a weekly and monthly basis. This is essential for organizing your construction timeline template.
There are 6 phases in construction, which include:
- Project Planning & Development
Within these phases, you can add the common tasks associated with each. For instance, in the 1st phase, you’ll schedule a time to meet with the client to take down their ideas and specifications.
For more on optimization of the construction process, check out our article, “The 6 steps of the construction process”
Keep in mind that the construction timeline template for a single-family home will differ from commercial projects. Although the phases are the same, the tasks and time frames will vary greatly.
So if you work on both, then it’s a good call to create 2 unique timeline templates: 1 for residential projects and 1 for commercial construction.
How to create a construction timeline template
There are several ways you can create your project timeline template. Some project managers use a board, while others use spreadsheets. However, you’ll find software designed specifically for project management timelines is more efficient.
That’s because they’re easy to change and share in real-time — making collaboration seamless. The visual timeline chart also helps clarify the details of a project.
Some project management platforms (i.e., monday,com) also come with pre-made construction timeline templates you can customize.
So what are the steps to create your construction template?
Step 1: Create your timeline template using monday.com
Roughly 38.2% of companies state “lack of IT staff” as the reason for not adopting new technology. But with monday.com, you don’t need any technical expertise to put it into action.
In fact, it’s the simplest way to develop your construction timeline template. This way, you can use a premade construction template (rather than start from scratch).
Check out our 4 templates every construction manager needs.
Step 2: Determine which phases to include
Now it’s time to take our template and modify it to suit your business.
First, determine which of the construction phases you need to include.
Maybe your construction firm doesn’t handle the design aspect of a project. In this case, you may only need 5 phases in your timeline template instead of 6.
Or maybe you only construct and deliver prefab homes. In this scenario, your phases could be different altogether.
Figure out the stages for the majority of your projects and use them as the major project phases in your template.
Step 3: Identify which tasks to add to each phase
Next, it’s time to input your major milestones (such as inspections) and essential activities (i.e., poor foundation, run electrical).
Start with the big picture items. Then you can break them down into smaller tasks, as long as the tasks are common to most of your jobs.
For instance, you can’t break ‘lay flooring’ down into ‘lay 1st level flooring’ and ‘lay 2nd level flooring’ if not all your houses have 2 floors. But you could break it down into ‘lay kitchen flooring,’ ‘lay bathroom flooring,’ ‘lay bedroom(s) flooring,’ etc.
If you’re building a house without a bathroom you’ve got bigger problems than your construction template…
The point is: keep the tasks in each section standard so the template is reusable.
For each unique construction, you can easily add and remove tasks from the timeline as needed. But the fewer changes you need to make on each project, the more time you’ll save.
You’ll find a lot of the major activities are already included in our high-level construction template.
Step 4: Map out dependencies and sequence of tasks
Map out which tasks are to be completed first and by which contractor or subcontractor.
For instance, you can’t move on to ordering supplies until you’ve found vendors with the best quotes. Your electricians can’t begin installing wires until the framework is complete. And your carpenters can’t put up drywall until the electrical work is complete.
Visually seeing the steps and how they overlap makes it clear what needs to be done and by when.
If you always use Jane Monday as your head electrician, feel free to pop her name and contact info right into the template. Or you can just input the role Lead Electrician.
It might be obvious that an electrician will do the electrical, but, by assigning people or roles, it helps remind you and your team who you’ll need when. Which becomes pretty essential when you’re running multiple projects at once.
Step 5: Estimate how long each task should take
Calculate how long each of the tasks should take. If you’re an established construction project manager you should have a good idea of completion time frames.
Keep in mind that the timeframes used for your template will differ based on the type of home you’re building.
U.S. stats show that in 2019:
- 47% of homes took 4 to 6 months
- 14% took 3 months or less
- 21% took 7 to 9 months
- 9% took 10 to 12 months
- 9% took over a year.
But these stats don’t show the breakdown by house-type.
On average, it can take up to 6-8 months to build a stick-built house (depending on the weather).
Of course, your business might be able to smash them out even faster, or you might do a lot of high-end custom work that takes longer.
In your construction template, you can populate estimates based on these averages or your experience. Then refine them later when you have the final house design.
ConclusionConstruction seasons come with slow periods. But when it comes time to pick up the pace and deliver, you need a template to streamline the process.
With the right software and our 5-step process, you can develop your template and timelines with a few clicks of your mouse.
Be sure to check out our free construction templates to get you started, including this construction schedule template!