A construction planning about housing estate and risk analysis

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1 Introduction

With the development of IT, computer has already been widely applied to Civil Engineering Industry. Pertmaster is one kind of planning risk analysis software which assists civil engineers to seek a better planning considering plenty of unpredictable factors. After self-learning tutorials in Pertamaster where some examples displayed to detail how to use this software correctly and effectively, the Pertmaster is applied to the Housing Estate project to do the whole plan, with some risk analysis outputs. The objective of this report is to illustrate how to use Pertmaster to plan project and what kind of useful information about the project risk from it.

2 Methodology

In this report, procedures of how to complete a construction planning about Housing Estate project will be presented step by step and then show the outputs of risk analysis, followed by making some comments about Pertmaster Software.

3 Housing Estate project

"This project named Housing Estate, including four blocks of low rise flat, a block of five storey flats and a shops and marionettes complex. New water and sewerage systems are required and an existing drain requires diverting. It starts on the 2nd Monday of January of next calendar year and the whole duration should be within 82 weeks excluding holidays (the deadline is 03/03/11). In addition, the Flat A and Flat B should be completed as quickly as possible, however the shops and Marionettes are not required until all the other work on site is completed. At last attractive landscaping fencing and screening will complete the site."(Dr H.Evdorides 2009)

3.1 Assumptions

Before do the planning, it is necessary to assure some basic conditions:

five working days per week, eight-hour normal working day

four-week holidays (two at Christmas and a two-week summer break)

There is no probabilistic branch after every task.

Assume a triangular distribution with a minimum duration of 50% of the most likely duration and with a maximum duration 150% of the most likely duration for Flat, Block A, B, C and D, Shops and Maisonettes and 5-storey Block. (Dr H.Evdorides 2009)

Assume a triangular distribution with a minimum duration of 70% of the most likely duration and with a maximum duration 200% for all other activities' duration. (Dr H.Evdorides 2009)

3.2 Planning the project

Before putting all the tasks into the Pertmaster, considering the logical order of whole programme with the help of real experience is essential, because the order is a guide, which contributes to a clear structure in the planner's mind, so that the project planning will be implemented successfully. With respect to the Housing Estate project, a clear order is bound to be taken account before doing planning (Figure 1). After that input all the tasks involved in Housing Estate project by logical orders and then connect them by using finish to start link or F-S. One point should be mentioned is that流°-å·¥ is good planning way of saving time and resource, thus 流°-å·¥ will be used in construction of Flat A B C D and the 5-storey Block.(Appendix 2)

3.3 Task duration

Making sure how much labours should be put into every task is a complex stage, for it needs a strict calculation and arrangement, meanwhile consider the optimisation of labour resource. According to the requirements of Resource Demand, lacking of bricklayers brings some difficulties to the labour planning owing to large scale of work with less labour. According to the requirement of Housing Estate that task duration - labour = week - man= task resource demand. Usually allocating the exact number of labour to each task needs attempt again and again so that the whole project can be finished within the deadline (03/09/11).Twice change in task duration (Appendix 1). And then the whole construction program is finished ( Appendix 2).

3.4 Adding resources

In this stage, all the resources needed in the project should be added into a table in order to modify and calculate them and seek to an optimized resource supply (Figure 2). Adding resources to the Pertmaster, four points should be paid attention to:

The cost needs to be added by days, in conformance to the default of "Remaining Duration"

Giving an approximate number to "Supply" of each item. It is impossible to input an appropriate number at the first time therefore this number should be modified by means of optimising resources.

If the type of resource is "Labour", there is a need that creating a new calendar which regulates how many working days a week and applying it into resource table.

Making sure the type of loading is in conformance with the resource. If the resource is "Labour", the "Default Loading" should be "Normal".

In the Housing Estate programme, the resource of site engineer and site agent should be added by hammock which exists from beginning to the completion.

3.5 Resource Levelling

The aim of resource levelling is to resolve over demand. Two approaches of levelling resource are available in Pertmaster: one is by hand and watching the effect on the Resource Graph, the other one is Pertmaster's automatic levelling.

Manual levelling is the most difficult section in planning, because seeking a good balance among the optimized resource supply, task resource demand and task duration would spend lots of time and needs the vast number of attempts and modifications. (Figure 3 Balance)

In Housing Estate project, Optimized resource supply is to control the number of each kind of labour so that complete the whole tasks by using as few labour as possible. Task resource demand is to regulate the sum amount of each labour. With respect to the Task duration, it controls the period of every task. Once the number of labourer in an exact task changes, the duration of this task will change accordingly. It is informed that "bricklayers are a somewhat scarce in the area", therefore treating bricklayers as a priority is reasonable (Figure 4 Bricklayer). It can be seen from the figure 4 that from February to March the brickwork is allocated 20 bricklayers which matches the bricklayer's supply in figure 2 very perfectly, hence the bricklayer is used with a high utilization rate. As for other types labour, within the restriction of optimized resource, the more high utilization rate it gets, the better it is.

3.6 Risk analysis

Risk analysis is to show how much possibility of this project can be completed successfully by means of displaying figures and histograms. Besides, Risk analysis provides chances to add extra information about the uncertainty of the duration and cost of tasks. This extra information contributes to form more accurate and realistic plans. For example, according to the assumption mentioned-above, apply the Triangular Distribution to the task of Block A by inputting 50% to the minimum duration and 150% to the maximum duration. (Figure 5 Triangular Distribution). Adding all the tasks in this project with Triangular Distribution and then running risk analysis, some histograms will be shown on the screen with significant information such as Finish Date, Start Date, Duration, Float, Cost (All of these histograms are collected in Appendix). Analysing this information contributes greatly to perfect and modify the whole planning and resource, making it more effectively and practically.

3.7 Results

After risk analysis, some critical graphs can be gained: a resource histogram (Figure 6); a total project cost (Figure 7); a cash flow curve of expenditure (Appendix 3)

The distribution in figure 6 reveals that there is an 80% chance of spending under £1,125,192 on labour for completing project.

It is can be seen clearly in figure 7 that there is an 80% chance of completing the project under £1,168,510. Furthermore, the chance of spending under £ 1,088,824 is only 15%.

Focusing on the Figure 8 which is one of results of risk analysis, some critical information is provided regarding the Housing Estate project planning.

What is the chance of finishing the project on time? ( 10%, but 85% in 29/08/11 )

What date can you be 75% confident of finishing by? (17/08/11)

What tasks are more likely to cause project delay?

The tasks located in the critical path will result in the project delay. It can be found in figure 9 that 0360-Concrete Frame, 0380-Finishing Trade and 0370-brickwork have high probabilities of causing delay are higher compared to other tasks.

What is the date range that the activities are likely to take place in?

The date range will be shown in Appendix 4

4 Advantages and Disadvantages

Pertmaster is a useful planning software which assists planner to complete an effective and practical project planning with low risk. Pertmaster's advantages bring the vast number conveniences to planners. However some disadvantages also can be noticed by users.

4.1 Advantages:

Before doing planning, some information such as five working days per week, four-week holidays. Pertmaster provides the chance to default this information which is a part of planning and shouldn't be ignored, although it cannot contribute greatly to a good plan's completion.

In Pertmaster, the whole planning structure is like a big chain and every task has two links to connect the task before it and the task after it, thus each task has its only exact position in the planning. It brings a good structure for planner and gives a deep impression of orders to planner.

When planner does resource levelling, Gantt chart and Graph chart totally be taken on in the same screen, which is very convenient for planner to modify and check figures in two graphs at the same time.

The results of risk analysis are greatly useful, for lots of information about the project can be gained, for example cost, finishing date, resource histograms, cash flow. All of this information provides probabilities that whether this project can be implemented and finished successfully with low risk. If the probability of every element is too low to practice, the results of risk analysis can be taken as evidence to modify the planning.

4.2 Disadvantages:

Arranging and allocating number of labour into each task is a complex process result from its calculation with high frequency.

In the stage of resource levelling, compared to automatic levelling, the manual levelling is more to planner's intention and the results are more practical owing to it is done by planner who will take account the whole structure of planning and the priority order of each task. But it needs a long time to achieve a perfect planning. On the other hand, the Pertmaster's automatic levelling is done quickly by computer that only considers meet the resource demand without any other aspect.

The probabilities, inputted into the Triangular Distribution for risk analysis, are what planner estimates. Therefore there must be some gaps between planning and reality regarding of the risk in the future construction.

There are few options in planning and resource levelling in Pertmaster, compared with Primavera. Pertmaster is useful for small or middle scale project like Housing Estate project, but if there is a big project with many tasks, using Pertmaster might needs a long time to plan.

5 Conclusion

Pertmaster is an application of IT in Civil Engineering industry. Planner will get a wonderful construction schedule by combining the practice experience with the functions of Pertmaster, for the first stage of planning in Pertmaster needs the support of real logical task orders which can be tested by experience. The process of resource levelling is essential part, although it would spend much time to get a balance. Furthermore, the results of running risk analysis detail useful information to help modify and get a perfect planning. Last not the least Pertmaster provides value risk analysis to warn the potential dangers and contingencies by probabilities.

6 References

Dr H.Evdorides , 2009 Core Skills Project Management Software (Pertmaster)

Appendix 2

Activities

Resource Demand (mw)

First time

Second time

Site Establishment

3-4

12- 1

Drain Diversion

10-3

30- 1

Completion of Main Drain

8-3

8- 3

Drain Connections

10-4

20- 2

Water Services

20-4

10- 8

Block A B C D

Excavation,Foundations

10-4

20- 2

Brickwork

8-15

10- 12

Carpenters

10-3

10- 3

Finishing Trade

14-5

10- 7

5-storey Block

Excavation,Foundations

 19-10

38- 5

1 storey

Concrete frame

20-3

10- 6

Brickwork

7-10

10-7

Finishing Trade

25-4

20-5

2 storey

Concrete Frame

20-3

10- 6

Brickwork

7-10

10-7

Finishing Trade

25-4

20-5

3 storey

Concrete Frame

20-3

10-6

Brickwork

7-10

10-7

Finishing Trade

25-4

10-10

4 storey

Concrete Frame

20-3

20-3

Brickwork

7-10

10-7

Finishing Trade

25-4

10-10

5 storey

Concrete Frame

20-3

20-3

Brickwork

7-10

14-5

Finishing Trade

25-4

10-10

Activities

Resource Demand

First time

Second time

Shops and Maisonettes

Excavation,Foundations

20-6

24-5

Concreter frame

15-10

15-10

Brickwork

30-5

15-10

Finishing Trade

25-10

25-10

Roads-1st Phase

20-3

10-6

Road surfacing

20-2

10-4

Paths

15-5

15-5

Fences and Screens

10-2

10-2

Landscaping

10-10

20-5

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