Project planning: The foundation for a successful build

Project planning is the fundamental building block of project management and develops the framework along which your project will proceed.

Project Planning



Your plan should identify the objectives and parameters of the project along with the resources required to complete it. Return to construction project managementfor help with these.

Producing a plan allows you to consider requirements throughout the build and, as far as possible, anticipate problems and eliminate uncertainties. The structured plan can be communicated to the project team, providing a baseline from which to monitor progress and to control the project as it progresses.

There is a temptation with any project to skip the planning and get things underway as quickly as possible.

Be patient!

An hour spent project planning can save several hours down the line.

Ask Yourself Some Planning Questions

Whether you are project planning for the whole build or a particular task or section of work, you should bear in mind the following questions:

  • What needs to be done?
  • Who will do it?
  • What materials are required? Is there a lead-time?
  • What information is required?
  • What equipment is required?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • When does it need to be completed?
  • How will it be done?
  • How will it be done safely?
  • How will each task fit into the overall project?
  • Are there any regulations or legal requirements?
  • Are there any other requirements?
  • What problems might arise?
  • How might the problems be overcome?
  • How could what is happening now affect something later on?

Project Planning – Research

Answering the questions above will require research. We hope our site is a great start point but you should supplement it with other sources of information including.

Plan to Paper

The questions above focus on what you need to find out and your research finds the answers. You now need to record the findings in a useful format.

The construction project management section suggests a couple of tools that can be used to manage your project, in particular the Gantt chart, which displays each task, their start dates, duration, the resources required and their relationships and interdependencies within the whole project.

Another important tool in self build project planning and management is the production of a detailed set of budget costs. Divide your self build into phases of work and the items that make them up. Find out costs for each item in terms of labour and materials to build up a full set of budget costs.

The sum of the costs can be compared to your overall budget for the project. If there is a deviation, the specification or design can be adjusted to bring the cost plan back in line with the funds you have available. Entering actual figures as the project progresses enables you to monitor and control costs throughout the build.

Be Realistic

It is important when project planning to be realistic. Setting unachievable targets at the planning stage gets your project off on the wrong foot and will create problems down the line. Do your research, be realistic and keep the time, cost, quality triangle in mind.

Keep on Planning

Project planning does not end here. It is an ongoing activity throughout your build and is an integral part of project management. Remember! Good planning saves time, money and headaches down the line!

When you’ve developed a solid plan it’s time to implement it.

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