5 Tips for Creating a Realistic Construction Timeline

Embarking on a construction project is an exciting time for a business. New construction projects can indicate growth, change and progress. However, without proper planning and foresight, the many, many details involved in a construction project can quickly become a nightmare. Here are our tips to creating a realistic construction timeline that will help keep the momentum of progress going for both your project and your company’s progress.


Find the right contractor for the job

Finding the right contractor for your specific project is crucial. This does not necessarily mean to find the GC with the most experience, the GC with which your company has done previous work, or the GC who is the least expensive. This truly means finding the right contract for your project. Research and interview firms. Look into firm experience- with your type of project (warehouse, commercial office, urban, suburban, etc), your location, their experience in managing teams, and their experience with clients similar to your business. Make sure the contractor has good references, that they know how to organize a project, and most importantly, that they are honest and trustworthy. The GC is a crucial member of the project team and your trust in their work will make for a smooth project. Choosing the right GC for your project is a worthwhile investment.


Work with the entire team to map out the project

Work with your internal project team, your real estate project management team as well as your architects, engineers and GCs to understand the details of the project. Understand the materials involved, the long lead time items that need to be ordered, how long the GCs think their team will need, etc. Then, using all of this information, map out your project schedule and be sure to build in time for unforeseen delays.


Assess and Track Materials

With your project team professionals, identify all needed materials. Be sure to understand the cost associated with each, so that your budget stays in-line. Budget conflicts can quickly lead to schedule delays. Make sure that all materials are ordered at appropriate times and keep track of delivery dates.



Understand what are the top priorities for your business. Do you need construction to be complete before your busy season begins? Or, is the design delivery more important and you are willing to accept a longer schedule in order to get the design that you want. Prioritize your needs and be sure that all members of your organization are in agreement.



Tracking project process is so important. At the outset, establish reporting standards and track and update all reports on a weekly basis. Maintain at least a 3-week look ahead and make a note of any key milestones that may be at risk.

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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