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Section 1 Method and Resource Statements

Section 2 Safety Plan and Risk Assessments

Section 3 Planning, Coordinating & Monitoring 

Section 4 Methods of Programming 

Section 5 Bar or Gantt Charts

Section 6 Precedence Diagrams 

Description:  This unit introduces the methods of planning and programming within the Construction industry.

Author:  Gates MacBain Associates

Section 1  Method and Resource Statements

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Explain the reason for a method statement
  • Produce a method statement

A Method and Resource Statement is a detailed schedule that considers alternative proposals and makes recommendations on how a task is to be carried out and the resources that will be needed.  It considers time, costs and technique for each method of carrying out the work and the resources necessary to perform the major activities in the project.

Prior to the programme being drawn up it is essential to know the following:
  • what is to be done
  • how it is to be done 
  • what is the sequence of activities
  • how long will each operation take to complete
  • what labour is required
  • what plant is required

When assessing a job it is probable that there will be a number of options for how it can be carried out. The production of a method statement enables each option to be assessed prior to deciding on the most appropriate method.  

A method statement will enable all the resources to be assessed and consequently this can help in the costing of the project. This can be produced as a Method and Resource Statement or as separate forms.

The method statement is best produced at the earliest opportunity as it is used to guide everyone within the contracting firm regarding the method and sequence of construction.

To produce the method statement, the construction work is broken down into operations, and the labour and plant requirements are then estimated by those responsible i.e. plant by the plant manager.

The Method Statement is the basis from which the programmer works in drawing up the Contract Programme. It can also be used on-site by the site manager as it conveys how the work should proceed.

Not all firms produce a method statement as many will rely on the site manager to carryout the work using their experience, this is particularly true in housing developments.

The production of the method statement must consider the contract documents i.e. drawings, specification, Bill of Quantities. If the contract is handed over in stages the method statement will include this.

Once the method statement has been produced it should be adhered to with no deviations without official permission.

The work that is to be done by the contractor and any nominated sub-contractors should be shown on the Statement. 

A number of variations exist for the setting out of a method statement, one such example is shown.

  • Determine what is required to be done
  • Break down the complete job into separate operations
  • Determine the ways that each of those operations can be carried out
  • Select the most appropriate method (alternatively produce a method statement for each method)
  • Place them in the sequence that they are to occur
  • Determine what, if any, plant is required for each operation
  • Determine the operatives required to carry out each operation (Remember to  include plant operator) 
  • Determine if any special requirements apply.

Having obtained the above information this can be transferred onto the Method Statement. A number of forms can be used and the one below is used as an example.


Filling in the Method Statement

Operation Number (Op No) - This records the sequence of the operations it also ensures that when the calculation sheet is produced all items are included and related.

Operation - Itemises the operations that are to be undertaken.

Method -  Describe what is to be done and how the operation is to be carried out.

Plant - Any plant that is required for the operation should be listed.

Labour - The type of labour required is listed. If the labour requirement is known this can be inserted, if not, it can be calculated on the Calculation Sheet (See below)


Notes - Any additional points can be noted here i.e. notify Building Inspector.

















Sheet No:








Prepared by:








Op No































  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2009) Construction planning, programming and control 3rd Edn. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford (Chapter 11)

Self-Assessment Task

  • Using the form above as a template, produce a method statement detailing the main tasks in the construction of a house.

Section 2  Safety Plan and Risk Assessments

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Explain the need for a risk assessment and how to produce one.

The assessment needs to look at the situation from a practical point of view and should involve employees and management. The process should address the following:
  • What is to be done - including plant, equipment, people, materials and in what working environment
  • How exactly is the activity to be carried out
  • Where is the work to be done
  • How will this affect the employees, plant, equipment, other people and the materials in the working environment.

This will address:
  • The likelihood of injury or harm arising to employees and others who may be affected by the work
  • Any other specific legal requirements
  • All of the risks
  • The necessary control measures to eliminate or reduce health and safety risks associated with the work
  • The information required by those involved or affected by the work.

Producing the Assessment

The form that the assessment can take can be seen in the worked example below.



  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2009) Construction planning, programming and control 3rd Edn. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford (Chapter 12)



Self-Assessment Task

  • Using the format of the example shown, carryout a risk assessment on the construction of a house.

Section 3  Planning, Coordinating & Monitoring

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Explain the need for the requirement to plan, co-ordinate and control a project.

Project Planning  

The purpose of planning and monitoring is to ensure that the project is produced on time and within the cost constraints and at the quality required. Any delays in the programme or increase in costs must, where possible, be foreseen or detected at the earliest opportunity in order to allow appropriate action to be taken. The methods of planning and control will depend on the type and complexity of the project, though the options must be understood by all those who are involved in the development process. 

Reasons for Planning 

In some cases to fall behind programme can involve financial penalties, in that the finances will be required for a greater period of time than was allowed for in the budget, resulting in increased interest costs. It will also increase the period of time prior to receiving income from the property or the sale fee. If contracts have been signed specifying a handover date the client may take legal action for the recovery of monies lost through not being able to trade from that date.

A detailed programme will therefore enable the developer to see at the earliest possible time if problems are occurring which could delay the programme. This would then enable him to instigate some measures which would reduce the delay and enable the project to catch up with the programme.

From the client's point of view, planning will enable him to anticipate the financial commitments throughout the contract period. It will also indicate the time scale for the programme with regard to engaging agents for the disposal of the project, either by way of letting or sale or for the engagement of staff, moving in, setting up and opening. 

Planning Objectives

The objectives of planning are to:
  • Analyse. This entails envisaging how the job will be done, in what order and with what resources. The total job is then reduced to a number of manageable activities.
  • Anticipate. This involves foreseeing any potential difficulties and making arrangements to overcome them.
  • Schedule resources. This will enable the best use to be made of all resources, these being money, men, materials, machines and management.
  • Co-ordination and control. For any project to be successful it must be co-ordinated and controlled in order to ensure that the right resources are available when they are required.
  • Feedback. Information and data on the project must be kept so that it can be used for future projects, thereby learning from the previous works.

Types of Planning and Monitoring 

A number of factors will be considered:

Design Information Planning.    This looks at the stages of design, feasibility design, sketch and detailed design. It also lays down the dates when information and drawings are required to be received by the Contractor from the design team.
  • Site Activity Planning (Construction Programme).  This shows when the activities for individual operations are scheduled to start and finish on site. This can include the programmed timings and the actual timings. Such a programme would show if the contract is running to programme and if not what the difference is and why.  
  • Resource Planning. This involves the allocation of the five m's of money, men, materials, machines and management to the activities on the programme. The resources available will either dictate the time scale for the project, or the time scale of the project will dictate the resources that are needed in order to complete by a certain date. 
  • Financial Cost Planning.  This should show the anticipated costs throughout the duration of the project. It will show how much money is required and when it will be called upon in order to finance the construction costs. It must also show actual costs to be compared to those that are anticipated, thereby showing if the project is within the allocated budget. The usual methods of showing this is by the use of cash flows and S-curves. 

Controlling and coordinating

The object of control is to check current achievements against predetermined targets, and adjust deployment of resources to attain desired objectives. 

A good control system should establish:
  • Realistic standards in terms of output, cost and quality.
  • A good system of measuring and checking current performance against plans, goals and objectives.
  • Action to be taken quickly by someone with the necessary authority.
  • It should concentrate on essentials, be economical, comprehensive, timely, and acceptable within the organisation.
Coordinating involves ensuring that all resources are available at the place and time that they are required

Monitoring a project can involve a number of things
  • Work programme
  • Finance
  • Quality

In this Unit we are just looking at the work programme, the other factors will be looked at in other modules. Before moving on to the next section which looks at how we monitor the programme ensure that you understand this section by doing the self assessment below.


  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2009) Construction planning, programming and control 3rd Edn. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford 

Self-Assessment Task

  • Looking at the types of planning listed above discuss the need for each.

Section 4  Methods of Programming

It is important that suitable planning techniques are adopted and implemented. The method of planning should be selected to suit the requirements of the project. This must consider size and type of project and its complexity and the nature of construction. 

It is also important that the programme and the work completed in relation to the programme is monitored on a regular basis. This may be done by using the following:
  • Bar charts 
  • Critical path analysis  
  • Precedence diagrams 
  • Line of balance

A good place to start in ensuring that you understand the process of planning, its' considerations and methods is to read Construction, planning programming and control listed below.


  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2009) Construction planning, programming and control 3rd Edn. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford 

Section 5  Bar or Gantt Charts

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Produce a simple bar chart and show the resources requirements on that chart.

This depicts each operation as a bar on a chart.  The length of the bar shows the time that the operation is expected to take. It shows the starting time and the finishing time. As work proceeds the actual time taken can be marked under the programme time, thus showing the state of the contract. This will show whether it is on programme or how far ahead or behind time it is running. This method provides a good visual method that is easy to understand. 

To gain an overview of a bar chart watch the PowerPoint presentation below.

Preparing the Bar Chart

The information obtained from the Method Statement and Calculation Sheet is used to produce the programme for the job. 

A standard bar chart sheet is used and the details of the contract are filled in along the top of the sheet.

Details of the operations are then placed in each of the columns. A bar is then drawn in the appropriate column to represent the operation to be carried out and when it is to be done. This will take into account the length of time taken for all subsequent operations if they are on the critical path, or when any preceding work has been done which will then allow that operation to be carried out i.e. drainage. 

The bar is normally drawn at the top of each row, which then allows sufficient space for the actual time taken to be drawn in, enabling progress to be checked.


Resources of labour and plant can be shown at the bottom of the chart under each week column.

Labour is itemised by the specific operative required. 

The requirement for plant is shown as a bar for the duration of use.

Every effort should be made to ensure continuity of work for labour and plant thus ensuring that when the Labourer finishes digging the foundation trench they can move on to the drainage trenches.  The requirement for any plant should be, where practicable, batched together.

If the bar shows excessive time, or, if the adjustment of time for a specific operation will allow better use of resources this should be considered.

Resource Histograms 

Histograms or resource profiles are used to level or adjust the amount of resources in order to make the maximum use of the resources. This may mean the rescheduling of activities either by adjusting their start times or their duration. This ensures the maximum use of resources and the avoidance of unproductive time.

Other Information

Symbols can be used to show when other events need to occur i.e. the delivery of materials, the requirement for information or any notifications which must be made i.e. Building Regs or for the calling of sub-contractors.

Linked Bar Chart

A variation of the bar chart is the linked bar chart. This displays the link between an activity and the preceding ones. It is therefore possible to see which must be completed before moving on to other activities. This is useful in assessing the results of any delays, which may occur. Resources can be added to each activity that will show, for example, the amount of labour required. This can be called a resource aggregation or a resource histogram.




  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2009) Construction planning, programming and control 3rd Edn. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford (Chapter 9)

Self-Assessment Task

  • Using the method statement produced previously,  draw a bar chart to show the programme of work and the resources required.

Section 6  Precedence Diagrams

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Explain the principles of a Precedence Diagram.

Precedence Diagrams are also known as Activity-on-the-node.  This is an improvement on the Critical Path method as it gives more control information, as not only does it give earliest and latest start and finish times, it also gives the amount of float (extra time) available on each operation before it affects the critical path.  

This provides the most control information of all the programming charts.

Precedence Diagrams are produced similarly to the Network, though rectangular nodes are used which indicate the activity as shown in the example below. 



Precedence Box

The control information can be recorded in a number of ways though the most popular is by the Precedence box, this records the following details:
  • Activity
  • Activity Number
  • Duration
  • Earliest Start
  • Earliest Finish
  • Latest Start
  • Latest Finish
  • Total Float
  • Free Float

These are displayed as follows:





Use of Arrows

The arrows have no time value but merely indicate sequence and relationship, though a time can be shown to indicate a delay. The arrows can be drawn to show when the activity should start and finish.

The placing of the arrow indicates when the activity can start. In the example below the foundations cannot be started until the excavation is finished.






If we needed to wait two days before an activity can be started after the preceding one is finished the time of the delay is inserted. This is referred to as a lag start.






We can also show if an activity cannot be started until the preceding activity is started.




A lag can also be shown if the activity cannot start until 2 days after the preceding activity has started.



We can also show if an activity cannot finish until the preceding activity has finished.



Once again we can show any lag required. Here the activity B cannot finish until 2 days after activity A has finished.




This will also allow us to state a number of conditions, i.e. activity B cannot start until at least 1 day after activity A has started, and it can't finish until 4 days after activity A has finished.




  1. Prepare list of main activities (Method statement can be used)
  2. Determine the duration for each activity
  3. Determine the sequence of activities
  4. Draw up network
  5. Insert all activity information on the network (activity, No, duration)
  6. Calculate earliest start and finish times
  7. Calculate latest start and finish times
  8. Determine critical path
  9. Calculate total and free floats

An example of a simple precedence diagram can be seen in the book Construction, planning, programming and control listed below.  



  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2009) Construction planning, programming and control 3rd Edn. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford (Chapter 9)

Self-Assessment Task

  • Explain the advantages of a precedence diagram over a critical path.

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