- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 19 Oct 2018
The timeline bar chart, Gantt diagram or Gantt chart was conceived by the American engineer Henry L. Gantt between 1903 and 1917. The basic technique is quite simple, consisting of a graphic representation based around two axes: the vertical axis features tasks and the horizontal axis shows time.
Gantt attempted to solve the activity scheduling problem so that the duration of a basic task was seen on a horizontal bar,showing its start and completion date, and in the same way the total time required in executing an activity. It is the most widespread scheduling method as it adapts well to both small and large projects of all types, assuming they are not overly complex. It is the most commonly used method of scheduling works in the construction industry and can be easily understood, even by those less familiar with scheduling tools.
- Activities, according to the order in which they are carried out.
- Budget or cost.
- Quantity in its corresponding units.
- Predicted performance for working equipment.
- Duration of the activity.
The time unit used may be days (short projects), weeks (medium term projects) or months (long-term projects). The beginning and end of each horizontal bar represents the start and completion date for the corresponding task and so the length of the bar is therefore proportional to the duration. The last two rows of the chart may detail the cost or budget per unit of time in addition to that accumulated since the project began.
The figure below shows a simplified Gantt diagram, indicating the tasks and their monthly distribution for the first break-down level as well as the tasks which comprise the critical path and the float.
Gantt charts can be very effective in the initial planning stages, but the graphics can become confusing when changes are made and they have serious limitations for complex projects. It was these difficulties which gave rise to the development of more complex network diagrams.
The text in this article is based on an extract from CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT, by Eugenio Pellicer, Víctor Yepes, José M.C. Teixeira, Helder Moura and Joaquín Catala. Valencia, Porto, 2008. The original manual is part of the Construction Managers’ Library – created within the Leonardo da Vinci (LdV) project No: PL/06/B/F/PP/174014, entitled: “COMMON LEARNING OUTCOME FOR EUROPEAN MANAGERS IN CONSTRUCTION”. It is reproduced here in a modified form with the kind permission of the Chartered Institute of Building
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Activity schedule.
- Contractor's master programme.
- Critical path method.
- Design web.
- Earned value.
- Information release schedules.
- Key performance indicators.
- Line of balance (LOB).
- Pareto analysis.
- Precedence diagram method.
- Programme float.
- Programme consultant.
- Project crashing.
- Time-location chart.
- Time management of construction projects.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Blighting local areas, preventing investment and and encouraging anti-social behaviour.
Sharing knowledge about the conservation of the built and historic environment.
CIOB launches a call to improve quality in the built environment.
Vastint gets permission for a 6.6 hectare site to support the expansion of Leeds’ city core.
One of the Isle of Man’s best 1960s buildings.
Using renewable energy in developing countries - QSAND and Loughborough University Research collaboration.
From frost damage to sulphate attack, common causes of defects in brickwork.
Precautions to take when making advance payments.
Helping communities recover from disasters and protecting them before they occur.
Instrumentation for critical healthcare environments.
Case study in the use of soft landings at the University of the West of England.