How to Build a Schedule Example in Commercial Construction

Written by chuck brown
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How to Build a Schedule Example in Commercial Construction
Commercial construction needs a schedule. (Hard working construction worker at a construction scene. image by Andy Dean from

Commercial construction, like all other major construction, is multifaceted. It involves various contractors, their schedules and coordinating the completion of each phase of the project in a seamless, timely manner. With so many different people involved, and all the unforeseeable delays which can not be planned for, you may wonder why even bother with developing a building schedule. Construction schedules are useful in that they do organise the different phases and put the project into a loose, flexible time frame, with a beginning and an end.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Be flexible. Expect delays. Build these delays into the commercial construction schedule with schedule ranges of between two to four weeks. For instance, if you plan to have the permitting process completed within 30 days, write into the schedule 60 days. Plan to adjust the schedule forward or backward in time based on actual phase completion.

  2. 2

    Call the building permits office to find out the information you will need to give them in order to initiate the permitting process. Ask the permit official for a time of permit delivery. Record this date for completion, as well as the person with whom you spoke, on your commercial construction schedule. Stay in touch as needed to guide the permit toward issuance.

    How to Build a Schedule Example in Commercial Construction
    Obtaining permits is the first construction phase (offices building facade image by laurent dambies from
  3. 3

    Identify and write down, in order of completion (with schedules and costs), the 10 to 15 different phases of the entire commercial construction project. Include on the list: permits, site preparation, foundation, framing, roofing, rough wiring, HVAC, rough plumbing, door and window installs, insulation, drywall, interior trim and finish, flooring and landscaping. Assign time lines of completion for each step of the construction process.

  4. 4

    Start lining up the different contractors. Call at least three for every job of the project before hiring one. Confirm the time frame for completion with them, and adjust as needed. Take your time when deciding on the contractors; ask for references and visit their finished projects.

    How to Build a Schedule Example in Commercial Construction
    Line up and schedule contractors (construction site image by Greg Pickens from
  5. 5

    Stay in touch with the contractors you've lined up. Schedule meetings with them as their appointed tasks approach within the schedule. (For example, there's no need to talk extensively with the trim carpenters before the framing is done.) Encourage the contractors with related jobs, and jobs next in the sequence, to communicate and coordinate with each other while keeping you informed.

  6. 6

    Maximise coordination of the different contractors as much as possible. Keep the project in front of you. Watch materials and labour costs. Manage the construction from the prepared, planned, proactive approach. Stay within budget and on schedule as much as delays will permit.

    How to Build a Schedule Example in Commercial Construction
    Keep the project within budget and on time. (construction site image by Radu Razvan from

Tips and warnings

  • Require schedule commitments from every contractor.
  • Hiring contractors is the most crucial part of the entire process.

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