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Answered: - Describe resource leveling and explain why it is important

Describe resource leveling and explain why it is important for the scheduling of a construction Project.

Explain why and how some resources need to be shared between multiple projects.

Explain the methods to figure out how many of these resources should be allocated to each of the projects.

Submit: 2-3 pages, Arial 12 point, double spaced, APA cover page and citation page

The term resource is used in many fields and contexts. Most companies have human


resources departments, which match the need for employees with the appropriate


supply by hiring and laying off workers. The term financial resources is commonly used


to indicate available monetary sources. In project management, we use the term


resources to indicate three main categories: labor (human), materials, and equipment.


Ultimately, everything is translated into a monetary quantity that may be?for the


accounting department?a part of the financial resources.




All expenses, in any construction project, can be classified under one of the three


categories just mentioned.


Labor can be further classified into the following two subcategories:


1. Salaried staff: These individuals include the project manager, superintendent, project


engineer, secretary, and any other person who is tied to the project but not tied to one


particular activity or work package. Salaried persons usually get paid a fixed salary for


the duration of the project or their assignment.


2. Hourly workers: These individuals are hired to perform a specific task or activity.


Examples include carpenters, masons, ironworkers, electricians, foremen, and so forth.


They are usually paid for actual hours worked.


Equipment and materials can also be further classified into two subcategories:


1. Construction equipment and materials: This type of equipment and materials is used


for the construction process but is not permanently installed in the project. Examples of



construction equipment1 are bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, power generators, forklifts,


mechanical trowels, heaters, and blowers. Inexpensive personal tools are usually


treated differently (either as a lump sum for all tools or as the laborer?s personal


property). Examples of construction materials are formwork materials and scaffolding.


2. Installed equipment and materials: This type of equipment and materials stays


permanently in the project after completion. Examples of installed equipment are heat


pumps, emergency generators (in hospitals, industrial projects, and some other


projects), kitchen equipment, and many specialized equipment in industrial projects.


Examples of installed materials are concrete, rebar, CMUs (concrete masonry units),


brick, mortar, insulation, framing wood, shingles, floor tile and carpet, bathroom


accessories, plumbing pipes and fittings, and electrical wires. Elevators and escalators


may be classified as either installed equipment or installed materials, but in most cases,


they are installed by the same vendor and in the estimate are considered a


subcontractor cost.


For estimators, the equipment category includes mostly construction equipment.


Installed equipment belongs in the materials category.




Resource allocation is the assignment of the required resources to each activity, in the


required amount and timing. Resource allocation is also called resource loading.




What Is Resource Leveling?



Resource leveling is minimizing the fluctuations in day-to-day resource use throughout


the project. It is usually done by shifting noncritical activities within their available float. It


attempts to make the daily use of a certain resource as uniform as possible.


Why Level Resources?


When the contractor adds the daily total demand for a specific resource for all activities,


he or she must provide the required amount, or work will be delayed.


This daily demand for a certain resource naturally fluctuates during the lifecycle of the


project, depending on the work being performed that day (i.e., activities requiring that


resource) and the resource demand for each activity. This fluctuation (say, 10


carpenters for the first two weeks, 6 for the week after, 18 for 4th and 5th week, 12 for


week 6, and so on) is not practical or economical.


Leveling may also be necessary for an expensive piece of equipment (which may cost


money not only in rental expenses but also in the cost of mobilization, setup,


maintenance, and demobilization). Say, for example, two activities require a tower crane


at the same time. If you can delay the start of the second activity till the first has


finished, you will redirect your resource (the tower crane) to the second activity. By


doing this, you will have reduced the maximum demand of tower cranes at any time to


only one, which will save expenses.


Do All Resources Have to Be Leveled?


Not all resources need to be leveled. The main idea of resource leveling is to improve


work efficiency and minimize cost during the life of the project. This concept applies to



resources that are hired or rented?namely, labor and (major) construction equip- ment.


The need for such resources may vary significantly as some activities start (they pull


new resources) and other activities finish (they release their resources). Likewise, the


resource requirement of some activities changes during their duration.


In general, materials do not need to be leveled. For instance, it is common practice to


place 100 CY (cubic yards) of concrete in one day, place no concrete for one week, then


place more concrete the week after, and so on. Project managers mainly have to


arrange small deliveries in an economical way. Materials must be managed using a


completely different concept, as discussed at the end of this chapter.


Multiproject Resource Leveling


Some resources may be shared among projects. The question is which resources and


how much of them. For small projects in a relatively close vicinity, for example, some


staff (project manager, safety manager, quality manager, secretary, etc.) and equipment may be shared. Project managers must make decisions when the situation looks


like a borderline case: for instance, would it be more efficient to have someone travel


between two jobs or to hire another person even though the person will not be occupied


100% of the time? The same argument holds for equipment. In general, convenience


and simple economics are mostly the driving criteria. However, other issues may be


considered, such as the short- and long-term need; future market expectations; staff


morale, fatigue, and satisfaction; relationships with vendors and subcontractors; and so





Staff members who do not have to be present at the job site every day may be spread


out, either by dividing the day between two or more jobs or by assigning certain entire


days to different jobs. Certain high-paid staff, such as safety officers, schedulers, and


project control people, who need to spend only one day every week or every two weeks


at the job site, may even fly hundreds of miles between jobs. With the advancement of


telecommunications tools (phones, internet, video conferencing, etc.) many functions


can now be performed from a remote location.


Assigning Budgets in Computer Scheduling Programs


Without going into accounting details, let us briefly cover budgeting in this chapter?


only in the context of project control and resource leveling. In scheduling programs, two


methods are available for assigning budgets to activities (this subject is discussed


further in chapter 10):


1. Assigning a lump-sum amount without telling the scheduling program how was the


number derived or which resources used. You may still need to supply a cost account


code in some software packages, which helps track the cost.


2. Assigning a number of units of certain resources (e.g., one foreman, one equipment


operator, two laborers, one bulldozer, and one hydraulic excavator) to the activity. The


program will calculate the budget for a particular activity from the ??resource dictionary??


in the project database.


The second method has six advantages:


1. You can level your resources only when you assign resources to the activity.



2. You can produce procurement reports specifying the resources need by type,


quantity, date, and cost. You can link your schedule with the accounting (and estimating)


system, match your demand with supply, and trace each expense in your project. You


can do this, too, with the first method, but you will see only dollar amounts without any


breakdown details.


3. This method aids more in project control and earned value management.


4. In case there is a change in the cost or availability of a resource that is being used for


one or more activities, the scheduling program will reflect the impact of the change at


the entire project level.


5. You may be able to use a ??resource calendar.?? This type of calendar is defined for a


specific crew. For example, if a plumbing crew is available for work on a project


Wednesday through Saturday only, the program will automatically schedule work only


during these days in the activities with this crew assigned to.


6. Resource-driven schedules are possible. Under certain conditions, you can allow


your resources to control the duration of an activity. For example, if a resource-driven


activity requires four painters for 10 days, the program uses a total of 40 man-days, or


320 man-hours, for its basis. Depending on the painters? availability and logic, the


scheduling program may assign a fluctuating number of painters to the activity to finish


the job in the most efficient way (from a resource management perspective). The result


may be an increase or a decrease in the duration, with the same bottom-line 320 manhours. This option may also be turned off to maintain the original duration.



One interesting scenario that pertains to point 4 is when resources are priced through a


certain date, then increase. Suppose that a union contract calls for a carpenter?s pay


rate of $24 per hour through 30 June 2010. After this, it will increase to $26.50 per hour.


Assume that a particular activity requires 128 carpenter man- hours and is scheduled to


take place in June 2010. The total cost for the carpenters is 128 ? $24 1?4 $3,072. Now,


suppose that the activity schedule slips to July. The cost will increase by 128 ? $2.50


1?4 $320, for a new budget of $3,392. You have to be careful in such cases as to


whether to allow the resource dictionary to drive the budget or to treat the budget as a


fixed amount. Leveling Resources in a Project Resource leveling is a mathematically


complex process. The resource-leveling method is called the minimum moment


algorithm, as it was discussed by Robert B. Harris (1978) in his classic textbook,


Precedence and Arrow Networking Techniques for Construction. Fortunately, computer


programs eliminated the difficult part of this process.




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