A construction plan is a detailed, comprehensive plan for a construction project. It gives the project manager a clear step by step process to follow, ensuring that each phase of the project is executed in the proper order. This is important because a good plan will maximize efficiency, eliminating any possible need for work to be repeated if a task is completed outside its proper order. For example, pouring a concrete floor before necessary plumbing work for drains is completed could result in a need for the floor to be torn up and redone. A construction plan operates in a way similar to a flow chart, as the completion of each step allows for further steps to be undertaken.
Management of a construction project can be an extremely complex task, depending on the scope of the project. A good construction plan provides a framework for the project manager to follow. The plan may be compiled by a separate construction planner or by the project manager. In some cases, more than one individual or even entire firms may put together a plan for a very large or complex construction project.
The creation of a construction plan has many elements. Blueprints, diagrams, and schematics depicting the finished project are extremely important, and no good construction plan can be undertaken without them. By studying these documents or digital representations of them, the planner can decide what equipment, materials and manpower are necessary to execute each step of the plan, the timing of each step, and the manner in which each step will be accomplished. In a complex construction project, this requires an understanding of a very large number of interrelated activities and how each affects the others, as well as an understanding of the time needed to complete them and the costs involved.
The construction planner or project manager may approach a construction plan in a variety of ways. The plan may be created with an absolute emphasis on keeping cost to a minimum, with an emphasis on completing the project as quickly as possible, or with the aim of balancing cost and construction time in some way. Cost and construction time are not absolutely related, but a change in one can often cause a change in the other. A good construction plan will take into account both elements and provide a framework for properly completing the task in the least possible time while minimizing costs.