Last edited 21 Jan 2021

Resource leveling

Resource leveling (or resource levelling) is a project management technique in which the demand for limited resources is accommodated by adjusting the project programme. In construction, resource leveling can be used to analyse the large variations in resource usage that can occur over time, and which can be inefficient and costly.

Speed of delivery may suggest that certain activities should be performed simultaneously. However, resources such as labour or plant may not be available in the quantities required, or may be occupied by a different activity. Practically therefore, activities may need to be scheduled sequentially, even though this may be slower.

Resource leveling can be used to determine when the project will be completed given the availability of resources.

In some situations, project scheduling may involve a combination of resource leveling and resource smoothing. Resource smoothing is an assessment technique used where the priority is the constraint on time rather than resources. It can be used to determine how best to complete the work by the required deadline, whilst minimising inefficiencies in resource demand.

Project management software can be used for resource leveling, which automatically calculates resource availability and potential delays and updates tasks accordingly. More complex software can be used to level resources company-wide, with the allocation of resources across multiple concurrent projects.

Common techniques that are used by project managers to assist with resource leveling, include:

The Society of Construction Law Delay and Disruption Protocol, 2nd edition, defines resource levelling as: '...the process of amending a schedule to reduce the variation between maximum and minimum values of resource requirements. The process removes peaks, troughs and conflicts in resource demands by moving activities within their early and late dates and taking up float. Most project planning software offers an automated resource-levelling routine that will defer the performance of a task within the imposed logical constraints until the resources assigned to the tasks are available.'

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