Construction is not always kind to the environment. Producing and renovating infrastructure are among the worst carbon emission culprits. The good news is you can minimize that impact by shortening your construction project timeline.
How Timelines Impact Carbon Emissions
A recent report from the United Nations found that the construction industry’s carbon footprint increased by 5% from 2020 to 2022, and the sector is not on track to achieve decarbonization by 2050. Materials and machinery, as does the time spent on a work site, play a role. The longer you use energy and fossil fuels and create trash, the more carbon a project sends to the atmosphere.
The shorter you can make a project timeline, the less you’ll need to worry about the planet. It has the bonus of saving time and money.
Reducing Your Company’s Carbon Footprint With Better Timelines
The less time your company actively works on a site, the less emissions you’ll produce. Optimizing your workers’ time through site monitoring and innovative scheduling practices can help you avoid delays and maximize productivity.
The Planning Phase
Shortening your construction project timeline begins before anyone approaches the work site. Proper planning can help you identify and work through potential problems efficiently.
Internet of Things (IoT)
You can use Internet of Things technologies to plan your project. Everything can move virtually between devices, from budgeting to blueprints. Use cloud computing software to easily adjust a plan without creating a new paper document.
IoT also allows you to communicate with clients and stakeholders quickly and efficiently, avoiding the need to always meet in person to see changes.
Never assume something you used a week or month ago will be in working order for a new project. Maintaining the equipment you own and inspecting the machines you rent is crucial to avoiding unnecessary delays.
Check over your tools before use, ensuring there are no signs of external or internal damage, such as loose parts or damaged wires. Also, make sure the blades are sharp and the handles are clean enough to keep a solid grip.
Ensure you have sufficient fuel in heavy machinery and no signs of a malfunction. Tires should be at the appropriate pressure without signs of damage, and tracks and rollers should be tight and smooth. Check that there are no missing pieces and that nothing is broken or unnecessarily altered. A regular maintenance schedule can extend the life of your machine and make the inspection process easier.
While any rental equipment company should inspect their equipment, you shouldn’t rely on it. Use best practices and manufacturer recommendations for each machine to develop your protocol for examining each before use.
Shortening Construction Project Timelines on the Work Site
Planning is essential to shortening your construction project timeline, and managing on-site variables is equally important.
Weather can be your best friend or worst enemy on a work site, and it’s vital to know whether being there is worth you and your workers’ time. Keep an eye on local weather reports, but you can also do some of your forecasting with sensors.
Smart sensors have microprocessors to collect and analyze real-time data before sending it to a device remotely. They can help you manage schedules based on weather conditions. You can use a weather station with sensors to send an alarm whenever extreme temperatures, wind or humidity occur. You can also examine site conditions before having workers arrive for shifts.
Scheduling work in undesirable weather conditions wastes time and money. Planning keeps your time on the site safe and productive.
Waiting around is an overlooked issue on construction sites. Efficient scheduling is critical to creating the most productive work sites. As nice as it is to have a bunch of busy subcontractors completing tasks together, things can get crowded. You don’t want people to wait until someone else finishes working on the same section or make heavy machinery operators anxious because of how many employees are around.
Consider laying out your work site like a grid and think through who can safely be in each section without disrupting the other areas. Separate various subcontractors schedules into days and nights so you’re not adding more time to a project but also not minimizing site productivity.
Consider timelines when you or your subcontractors are working on multiple projects simultaneously. You can send workers to another job when something gets done on one site.
Your workers are the most important thing on a site, and it’s vital to prioritize their safety. The good news is that doing so can often shorten your timeline. Fatigue is a major problem throughout the industry, increasing the risk of accidents. Long shifts given to complete a project “faster” actually lead to less productivity and burnout.
It’s hard to justify unfocused workers when building a structure that needs to be around for decades. Arrange schedules so everyone gets sufficient time away from work. Give people time to recover if they have a 12-hour shift.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is primarily for safety, but managing it can help you optimize your timeline. Everyone should have clearly labeled vests, hard hats, goggles, harnesses and other necessary items.
Designating PPE for each employee ensures items fit properly and that each person always has needed equipment. Missing, damaged or ill-fitting PPE is useless when improving safety and productivity. Have a secure spot on-site or in the office to store equipment at the end of each shift. Using hooks with name labels clears up confusion and lets workers grab their PPE and go.
As much as you plan, there will likely be necessary changes on-site. Fast communication is key to minimizing delays, whether stopping due to unexpected weather, prioritizing a new section or changing a specification.
Virtually sending updates ensures your workers immediately get them. There’s no need to run around and deliver verbal or written instructions. For example, in the planning process, you can use cloud computing to send everyone the same information simultaneously. Ensure at least one person in each section has easy access to a device with the updates and is willing to check and alert others in their vicinity frequently.
Shortening Project Timelines for Better Outcomes
Optimizing your construction project timeline doesn’t mean cutting corners. Careful planning, using modern technology and better scheduling ensures you can finish your project faster, saving time, money and the planet.