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Last edited 31 Oct 2022
Resource management in construction
 What is resource management in construction?
The UK construction industry is the largest consumer of resources, requiring more than 400 million tonnes of material a year (ref. Davis Langdon). In addition, more than 2 million people are employed in the construction industry.
Construction companies face the challenge of delivering complex projects to a schedule, complying with the client's specification, within a budget, and with a reasonable profit margin. Resource management is the process of planning the supply and management of the resources necessary to satisfy the client’s requirements. on time and to budget. Proper resource management ensures that resource demand is satisfied and that the benefit derived from resources is maximised.
Fundamental to effective resource management is a clear understanding of what resources are needed, what resources are available, where resources are located, and the ability to schedule those resources accordingly.
Resource management may involve more than one project, ensuring that the use of resources is optimised between projects. This may lead to conflicts, where the resources required to optimise delivery of a single project are not the same as the resource allocation that will optimise performance across a portfolio of projects.
Without proper resource management, projects can fall behind schedule, or can become unprofitable. In extreme circumstances, the resources required may simply not be available, and alternatives will have to be sought.
 What resources are required on construction projects?
- Products and materials.
- Construction plant, tools and equipment.
- Human resources.
- Space and facilities.
 The benefit of preparing a resource management plan
A resource management plan can be used to:
- Ensure resource availability and resolve resource conflicts.
- Optimise time, effort and cost.
- Ensure workers with the right skills are available at the right time and location.
- Identify limitations, such as site access, weather conditions, and so on.
- Reassign resources in response to circumstances.
- Track resources utilisation to avoid excessive resourcing or under-utilisation.
- Type of activity.
- Start date and duration of the activity.
- Responsible owner for activity.
- Resource type and quantity.
- Source and supplier of each resource.
- Equipment required to use resource.
- Cost estimates for each of the resources to be supplied.
- Waste management.
- Risk mitigation.
 How to develop a successful resource management plan
Successful resource management requires:
- Access to an up-to-date project plan with clear definition of the different phases of work and activity scheduling.
- Understanding of the types of resources that are needed.
- Understanding of the availability and optimum utilisation of resources.
- Understanding of the potential for developing resources for new uses.
- Understanding of the lead time required to ensure that resources are available when needed.
- The ability to redeploy resources if works need to be accelerated, or when works are completed.
 What is automated resource management?
- Automated calculations.
- Ability for managers to simulate and test different scenarios.
- Re-evaluation and re-calculation as decisions change.
- Real-time resource utilisation tracking.
- Resource allocations can be assessed anywhere and approved quickly online.
- Online collaboration between sites, offices, partners, subcontractors, and so on.
 Acceleration of construction
It may become necessary to accelerate the progress of works, either to achieve the completion date, or to meet a new requirement imposed by the client (such as accommodating additional works, or bringing the completion date forward). Typically, this will require that additional resources are used, although it might be achieved by a reduction in scope of other works, or changes to the design.
Fast-track construction is a scheduling technique that can be used to reduce the overall duration of projects by overlapping tasks that on a traditional contract would not be commenced until the previous task was completed. Whilst the same number of tasks need to be performed, they are condensed into a shorter period, and so are likely to require more resources.
Resource levelling is a project management technique in which the demand for limited resources is accommodated by adjusting the project programme. In construction, resource levelling can be used to analyse the variations in resource usage that can occur over time, and which can be inefficient and costly.
Human resource management (HRM) is the process of managing people within an organisation. In construction, HRM is primarily concerned with ensuring that a project has sufficient human resources, with the correct skill-sets and experience, for the project to be successfully completed.
32% of landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings and 13% of products delivered to construction sites are sent directly to landfill without being used (ref. Technology Strategy Board).
Effective waste management is becoming increasingly important on construction projects, ensuring that waste is properly and efficiently handled, and ideally that it is minimised, re-used, or recycled. Ideally, a site waste management plan (SWMP) should be prepared before construction begins, describing how materials will be managed efficiently and disposed of legally during the construction of the works, and explaining how the re-use and recycling of materials will be maximised.
- Acceleration of construction works.
- Activity schedule.
- Construction inventory management.
- Construction logistics manager.
- How to manage construction plant.
- Logistics management.
- Programme for building design and construction.
- Resource allocation in design and construction.
- Resource levelling.
- Scheduling construction activities.
- Time-location chart.
- Time management.
- Time management of construction projects.
- Understanding agile in project management.
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