The Importance of Resource Loading Project Programmes

by Sean Vermaak

Having dealt with many contractors & sub-contractors in the construction industry, it is quite alarming to see that not many understand or don’t know the benefits of resource loading project programmes.

What is resource loading?

Resource loading is the assignment of labour, materials & equipment that will be required to successfully complete a particular task or activity.

Why is it important to resource load a project programme?

Once a schedule is resource loaded it will not only give you an indication of how many human resources, material, or equipment will be required, but it will also indicate when it will be required. In addition to this it also provides an indication of resource over-allocation, and it also provides the means to substantiate standing time claims. When properly resource loaded, it allows for running what-if simulations should the need arise to determine what the impact on resources would be if requested to accelerate.

In order to demonstrate this lets use the following example;

A 50mm pipeline, 150m long needs to be installed in a pipe trench. It was estimated that only one pipe fitter would be required to do the work, and this would take 10 days to complete. During the execution some activities took longer to complete than what was expected, resulting in the pipeline activity being on the critical path. It was determined that this activity was the easiest to accelerate as it could be installed from both ends. This suggests that two pipe fitters will perform the activity, resulting in the activity then only taking 5 days to complete. If the programme was not resource loaded, it would not be possible to determine which activities could potentially be accelerated.

Similarly, if there was a requirement for a 500 Ton crane to be available on particular date in order to install a piece of heavy equipment, and according to the initial baseline, this crane is due on 14 April. These cranes are generally booked well in advance and have an establishment cost linked to them and an hourly rate which are normally pretty pricey. However, during the execution some activities took longer to complete resulting in the heavy equipment installation being delay substantially. With the activity being resource loaded it will be easy to manage the risk and re-plan the establishment of the crane. By not having the forewarning (resource loaded activities) it can be realized that the project could easily overrun the budget assigned to the project

It is for this reason that it is advised to ensure that all project programmes are resource loaded. Do you resource load your project programmes?

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