Article #470 Why Project Owners Should Require Contractors to Develop Level 5 Construction Project Schedule if Artificial Intelligence is on Their Road Map?

On most construction projects, the Integrated Project Execution Schedule will usually be done at Level 4 while Level 5 is considered as a temporary document for coordinating site activities that will be detailed on weekly basis by the project team. Nevertheless, for those Project Owners and Contractors who have Artificial Intelligence (AI) on their road map, having an Integrated Project Schedule detailed at Level 5 is a must and not an option.

To explain the difference between Schedule Level 4 and 5, for example, in a Level 4 schedule, the scope of work for “Foundations” will be shown as “Foundation 100”, Foundation 101” and so on. On the other hand, in a level 5 schedule, each foundation will be detailed into the tasks of Excavation, Lean Concrete, Reinforcement, Formwork, Pouring, Formwork Stripping, Concrete Protection, External Backfilling, and Internal Backfilling. The same concept will apply for the “HVAC System Installation” which will be detailed into Ducts Installation, Equipment Installation, Piping Installation, Electrical Installation, Instrument Installation, and Functional Checks.

Since one of the key requirements of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on capital construction projects is to improve the predictability of project completion date and at completion cost, actual project performance data and events need to be associated with their relevant schedule tasks to make their prediction meaningful. In addition, having the cost-loaded schedule detailed to level 5, will improve the capturing of activities progress percent complete values which will be the basis for calculating the interim payment certificate or earned value amount. Similarly, it will improve the ability to capture actual labor and equipment resource hours spent on executing those tasks.

When using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb to manage all project business processes including those for daily reports, request for information (RFI), meeting minutes, safety incidents, submittals, work inspection requests (WIR), non-compliance reports (NCR), disruption events, interim payment certificates among many others, each transaction will be linked to schedule level 5 activities. In addition, all supportive documents either attached to those transactions or simply uploaded into the PMWeb document management repository will also have the link to schedule level 5 activities. This will ensure that every single record or document that relates to the project is associated with its relevant schedule level 5 activity.

In addition, some project management business processes use the schedule level 5 activities to aggregate and consolidate the captured data like those of daily reports and timesheets where actual spent labor and equipment resource hours will be recorded. PMWeb daily report and timesheets modules allow assigning the daily reported hours against each scheduling level 5 activity. Those hours can be classified as normal working hours, premium working hours, overtime working hours, idle hours among other categories if needed.

Furthermore, other business processes use the schedule level 5 activities to calculate the amount of due payment or expected revenue like the interim payment certificate and requisition modules. For example, the activity percent complete will be the basis for calculating the earned value and actual cost incurred in performing the same scope of work of a project.

For documents that are uploaded into the PMWeb document management repository, whether those were associated with single or multiple business process transactions, PMWeb also allows having the project schedule task field as one of the document attributes. This will enable having the option to assign attributes including task identification to documents that are uploaded in bulk to a folder or sub-folder in the document management repository.

PMWeb even allows the project team to link risks identified and captured in the project risk register with their relevant schedule level 5 activities. Similar to other risk registers, each risk will have a description, type as per the risk breakdown structure, occurrence likelihood, impact, individually responsible for the risk, probability, and impact value which will be the basis to calculate the risk score or exposure, estimated cost impact of the risk as well as delay impact, the weighted estimated cost impact of the risk as well as delay impact when considering the risks score or risk exposure, notes among others.

It is highly recommended that in addition to the requirement to have a detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is to also has a meaningful description of the level 5 activities as well as a structured activity numbering or identification. This will help the project team members who are not part of the project planning and scheduling team, to have a better understanding of what each project schedule activity stands for.

PMWeb schedule import function allows importing schedule activities along with their duration, remaining duration, percent complete, planned and actual start and finish dates, WBS levels among others will be imported into the PMWeb schedule module to become available to be used with other project management processes managed in PMWeb.

PMWeb schedule module allows uploading all schedule updates with the option to select which schedule version or update will become the schedule to be used while linking the schedule activities with their relevant records and documents. The current active schedule can be changed when needed. The additional advantage of capturing all schedule versions in PMWeb is that PMWeb allows creating reports to compare those schedule versions.

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By linking records generated from the project management business processes and documents as well as labor and equipment resource hours, details of generated revenue and cost incurred cost, and potential risks to their relevant project schedule level 5 activities, organizations will not only have the wealth of trust-worthy granular meaningful data that can be traced to its source and audited but data that is also associated with the detailed project schedule activities that represent the backbone for managing the execution of the capital construction project. The value can be further increased if organizations standardize the procedures followed in developing and maintaining their integrated project schedules as well as their project management business processes across their complete projects’ portfolios. This will help in growing the captured data volume in a structured format which is also a requirement for improved Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services, and project management information systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality, and shopping malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 300 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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