Article Date: 08/09/2013

Expert Offers Several ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Planning and Scheduling Construction Projects

By Steve Rizer


“This whole area of [construction] project management and … project scheduling is not an exact science. It’s more of an empirical science that we … learn from experts, and sometimes experts have different opinions.” This is the point that Saleh Mubarak, head of Qatar University’s Civil Engineering Department and a construction management consultant who specializes in planning and scheduling, emphasized in wrapping up his presentation during a WPL Publishing webinar entitled “Construction Scheduling Tips and Tricks: Better Schedules and Improved Project Performance.”


To address this dilemma, he advised professionals attending the event to “definitely keep [your] eyes and ears open” to detect such differences in experts’ opinions. “If you’ve heard something from me and you’ve heard something contrary to that from another expert, that’s okay. It’s a matter of opinion. Whatever makes more sense to you.”


Toward the end of deciding what “makes more sense to you,” Mubarak urged webinar attendees to use “some kind of log” to keep track of the information and opinions that they encounter in this discipline, perhaps even using cameras when appropriate. “A diary, I think, would be wonderful … for me to remember things that I have seen and heard” on the topic of project management and scheduling. Such information also may prove useful when preparing for a presentation on the topic, he said.


In addition to offering advice for deciding which opinions to heed, Mubarak also provided some suggestions for scheduling in the international environment. 


“Know the culture of that environment when you are hired,” whether it be Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or elsewhere, Mubarak recommended. “You have to know the rules and local laws. It’s maybe better to partner with somebody local there or somebody who knows the culture. Know [the necessary information about] labor, materials, equipment market, and the acquisitions [and] regulations [within that environment.]”


Also in the international environment, “you may want to rethink automation” because labor can be “very cheap” there, Mubarak stressed.


Furthermore, it is important to know the local climate, Mubarak said. “You have to know the weather, the seasons, [and whether there are] monsoons, rain, or whatever.”


Mubarak further implored his audience to learn what the standard contract is when scheduling in an international location. “They use, in the Middle East, something called ‘FIDIC’ [Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils] contracts, which is a European type of contract. Do your homework before you take the first step. That’s very important.”


The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes a slew of additional advice that Mubarak offered during the webinar. To sign up for a membership, click here


WPL Publishing is running a "Summer Scheduling Training Program Package," which includes a recording of the "Tips and Tricks" webinar workshop. Click here for details. To purchase the "Tips and Tricks" recording only, visit



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