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Resource Allocation in Construction

What is Resource Allocation in construction and how to plan it efficiently

Resource allocation in construction is the process of planning their allocation to various project phases. Here’s why it’s crucial and some tips to manage it optimally

The primary challenge for Project Managers in construction is to successfully complete the project on time and within budget. One of the fundamental steps in managing the entire construction project process is resource allocation.

Let’s explore what it entails in detail, why it’s so important, and some tips for executing it effectively!

What Does Resource Allocation in Construction Entail?

The resource allocation process in the AECO sector encompasses both human and material resources. In the construction process, resources refer to:

  • labor,
  • materials,
  • equipment.

Resource allocation in construction is the planning of their management process and aims to ensure the completion of project activities through their effective and efficient use. More specifically, this planning process involves:

  • resource estimation;
  • resource procurement;
  • resource allocation;
  • resource monitoring until project completion.

Efficient and effective resource allocation means ensuring that:

  • each phase of the process is entrusted to the most qualified personnel to carry it out;
  • materials are always available when needed;
  • delays due to lack of material storage do not occur;
  • equipment is available, serviced, and maintained, ready to be used when project planning requires it.

From the points listed above, we can imagine that correct and timely resource allocation, in turn, results in time and cost savings. Trained and skilled personnel will make the most efficient decisions for each construction phase, and the availability of materials and equipment at the right time will prevent the need for urgent remedial actions with consequent unforeseen expenses and temporary work stoppages.

Why Is Effective Resource Allocation So Important in Construction?

We’ve already mentioned that well-studied and implemented resource allocation helps:

  • keep expenses within the budget;
  • adhere to the timeline;
  • maximize productivity;
  • ensure satisfaction for both the working team and the client.

Delving deeper, efficiently managing resources and assigning them in the best possible way to various uses brings a series of significant advantages, including:

  • efficient resource utilization: effective resource allocation ensures that they are used as efficiently as possible, resulting in cost savings and increased productivity;
  • meeting deadlines: proper resource management planning ensures that activities are completed within the specified time frame. This means avoiding unpleasant and costly delays;
  • improved quality of the construction process and final project: resource allocation and planning can ensure that the right resources are used at the right time, resulting in improved quality of the construction process and the final outcome;
  • better communication: effective planning and allocation of resources can improve communication and collaboration among team members and various stakeholders.
Benefits of effective resource allocation in construction

Benefits of effective resource allocation in construction

What Are the Challenges in Resource Allocation in Construction?

Despite the desirability of effective and efficient resource allocation, unfortunately, this process is susceptible to errors due to particularly challenging obstacles. Among the critical issues that the resource management process may encounter are:

  • shortage of skilled labor: skilled labor plays a crucial role in the success of every construction project. Therefore, the current shortage of specialized personnel is one of the most challenging issues facing the AECO sector. The lack of labor has repercussions on the rest of the personnel, overwhelming them with projects, causing delays, and unforeseen expenses;
  • lack of adequate tools and software for resource planning: we are well aware that in construction processes, the number of resources is very high, and the volume of documents associated with them can put a strain on the project manager, especially if not supported by the right technology and the right project management software;
  • unexpected construction changes due to external and/or internal variations: last-minute changes are unwelcome by anyone and also represent a significant challenge in the resource allocation process, especially if managed without specific technologies;
  • poor communication: one of the project manager’s objectives is to facilitate communication and collaboration within the team, thus ensuring the rapid resolution of any issues. In this regard, software and specific collaborative platforms for the AECO sector represent valuable tools.

6 Tips to Follow for an Efficient Resource Allocation Process

From what has been said so far, it is evident that the resource allocation process in the construction sector is a fairly critical activity in which today’s decisions affect future results. It is essential to address it effectively and be prepared; for this reason, we list below some tips that we consider important:

  1. define your project scope: before being able to allocate and manage resources, it is necessary to determine the scope of the project you are working on. In other words, it is necessary to define the boundaries of your work, determining its size, the time required for its implementation, the objectives of each phase, etc. Once these parameters are defined, you can proceed with the proper resource management;
  2. estimate necessary resources: now that you have defined some fundamental points of your project, you can understand which resources are needed to move it forward. Most likely, you already have some of them, while others will need to be purchased or rented;
  3. analyze resource utilization and availability: now that you know which resources you will need to achieve your project objectives, the next step is to identify which of them are already available to you and, above all, ensure that when you need them, they are not already committed to other tasks;
  4. create a resource allocation plan: at this point, the most substantial step arrives; thanks to the information gathered in the previous steps, you can draw up a resource allocation plan, including its cost, quantity, for how long, and when you will need it. Once this plan is outlined, it is always useful to perform an additional check based on the scope of the work and ensure that everything is correct;
  5. track your project’s resources: once the resource allocation plan is outlined, it cannot be assumed that it will not need to be monitored. Project changes are always possible, and these changes will necessarily require an adjustment of the respective resources;
  6. use resource allocation reports: resource allocation reports are one of the tools used to monitor your planning. They are useful, for example, to verify that resources are actually available when needed and to ensure that the working team is not overloaded or, conversely, inactive.
6 tips for efficient resource allocation in construction

6 tips for efficient resource allocation in construction

Which Tools to Use for Efficient Resource Allocation in Construction?

In one of the previous paragraphs, we’ve seen how the lack or incorrect use of appropriate technologies and specific software can represent a critical issue for efficient resource allocation, which instead requires the adoption of specific tools, including:

  • resource allocation matrix: this tool, much like the clash matrix, is a table that provides an overview of project resources, helping to identify any bottlenecks or imbalances ahead of time;
  • resource breakdown structure (RBS): this is a hierarchical chart of the resources needed to execute the project, including everything from labor to materials and equipment;
  • Gantt charts: this tool represents a simple way to map project activities and their related resources. Thanks to Gantt charts, you can see and allocate resources through a project timeline, knowing exactly when they will be needed and for how long;
  • specific project management software: once again, technology presents itself as man’s right-hand in many AECO industry activities. In this case, the use of management software, as well as the implementation of BIM, represent one of the most efficient ways to manage a project in an integrated and efficient manner.

After this overview of the resource allocation process and having seen how the use of specific tools is the key to the successful completion of this fundamental management step, we can only advise you to try out a project management software for free and evaluate the difference in results yourself. You won’t look back!