Construction projects require intentional planning. While every job takes an “all hands on deck” approach, today’s featured position is the backbone of keeping projects on-time and on-budget.
It sounds simple, but with the many moving parts that go into a construction project, the role of a scheduler is truly a science. In the past, a project superintendent or project manager took on the role of scheduler. But today, there is a need for consultants and full-time staff members alike. No matter the capacity, a scheduler is considered a part of the management staff and, therefore, must have a solid understanding of construction practices and procedures.
At smaller construction companies, schedulers hone in one one project at a time, while larger organizations require schedulers to juggle numerous projects at once. Oftentimes, larger companies may have an assistant to the scheduler. This provides a great opportunity to spread some of the workload and to take on more of a leadership role.
No matter how many projects are taken on at a time, schedulers are involved from start to finish, making sure that nothing is dropped along the way.
At the beginning, even back in the proposal phase, a scheduler creates a preliminary schedule, including insights into potential risks. Throughout the project, a scheduler works hand in hand with a project manager, project superintendent, and subcontractor to monitor and analyze the schedule.
In a typical day, a scheduler will:
- Create timelines, outlining when certain contractors will be needed to keep everything moving forward.
- Plan for delays, as the unexpected is to be expected in construction projects, and readjust as necessary to avoid further delays.
- Manage budgets and resources, even overseeing equipment needs and expected material usage.
Life as a scheduler is never boring. In this role, individuals get a chance to work on a range of projects across many market segments, both in the field and in the office. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone that is looking to learn throughout their career, never getting stuck in the mundane, everyday tasks.
The nature of this position requires a unique blend of skill sets. Schedulers need to have:
- Excellent attention to detail with big-picture thinking.
- As a scheduler, individuals must be able to perfectly plan every aspect of every project through computer-based Critical Path Method (CPM) Scheduling, without forgetting the overall project goal.
- Refined interpersonal skills with technical expertise.
- Schedulers must be able to connect with all team members, inspiring them to work and clarifying critical pieces of project, while, at the same time, provide their well-rounded expertise to every part of the project.
- Strategic, accurate planning with flexible, analytical abilities.
- Coordinating the logistics of every stage of a project takes purposeful forecasting, but schedulers must be able to learn on the fly and understand drawings and details, adjusting when risks and opportunities arise.
If this role sounds like the right one for you, first, complete your high school education or equivalent schooling. Then, look into completing an apprenticeship near you. There’s no better time but the present to get started working toward your management position as a scheduler.
Some follow high school and apprenticeship experience with higher education, but it isn’t required. On-the-job experience and proven performance is the true indicator for success, rather than in a traditional class setting.
If you do desire to complete higher education, many schedulers find a degree in Civil Engineering or Construction Management to be incredibly beneficial to their overall career success.
No matter what route is taken, experience in a range of markets, training in scheduling software, and exposure to all the ins-and-outs of logistics management sets a career as a scheduler up for success.
Contact us at I Build America-Ohio for personalized guidance on how to get your career as a scheduler going.
Photo: I Build America