Critical path scheduling in residential construction


What is Critical Path Scheduling?

A critical path schedule represents the successive series of minimum tasks required to complete a project. If any of the critical items are delayed, the critical path schedule highlights the impact of those delays on the final delivery date. By leveraging a critical path approach, project managers can identify which components of the schedule are urgent dependencies and which components are flexible. 

Why is Critical Path Scheduling important in residential construction?

This type of scheduling lets builders focus on the most important components and thus finish more projects on time.

Reduced material + subcontractor delays. 

Critical path scheduling reduces material delays and can have a profound impact on the builder-subcontractor relationship.  


Knowing which materials are part of the critical path helps builders prioritize the ordering of certain materials ahead of time. This has the secondary benefit of locking in material prices at the start of a job rather than paying ad-hoc as needs change. 

Subcontractor Management: 

  1. Build trust: Subcontractors want to prioritize builders who respect their time. If a subcontractor is getting requests from multiple builders at a time, the builder with a proven track record of correctly managing a schedule is the one who will be picked. 
  2. Beat the competition: Critical path scheduling allows builders to know what work needs to be done 4-6 weeks out. In a tight labor market, that time difference can help builders lock in subcontractors ahead of the competition. 
  3. Gained efficiency: With a critical path approach, subcontractors are scheduled so they know that they won’t be working on top of other subcontractors on the jobsite. This means that they can work more efficiently and still deliver results. 

Without a critical path, the overwhelming tide of tasks on a schedule can leave builders unclear on what work and materials to prioritize. A critical path highlights the path to success.

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Caroline Gardiner
Caroline Gardiner

Caroline helps builders and remodelers find solutions to improve their process, protect their margins, and level-up their business.