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The Gantt Chart Exhibit



n the perfect world, the above Gantt Chart would rule the construction process of a relatively small basement remodel.  However, construction is a variable of weather, materials supplier, tradesman & labor that circles around the general contractor and the project.  However the old chestnut “Fail to Plan...Plan to Fail” applies and in the case of a general contractor providing a Gantt Chart based on a schedule or calendar of events to take place is such a simple means of staying on track.

Staying on track is critical for much larger projects where the Gantt is broken down into increments of minutes for project management models.  For construction, the premise is the same and using standards for time spent per man hour, it’s an easy detail to devise up front and maintain against the variables that happen each day.

In my early ventures with CPM (critical path methods) that produced Gantt & Pert Charts...it is the ONLY way to illustrate where the builder is for single and multiple projects.  At one time, the Gantt chart was the first thing to pop up on my computer each morning in the early 80’s (using Microsoft Project that worked on 4.25” floppies).  I would simply look at the calendar (in this example to the right of the schedule) and follow that vertical line down to the phase, series or job that had to happen today...to stay on schedule tomorrow.  If I missed a deadline, the software would “recalculate” the ending date...and I had to explain to the client or lender why I was off track.


here were ways to compensate....as the example shows, follow the vertical dashed line for the last day of June and you’ll see the turquoise items yet to be completed to the right of this line.  There is the hint of red starting to show where one of the jobs (in this case, Paint) has not been accomplished...although the schedule predicts that job to take only one day.  There is some “slack” time to  be had in which I can call in the sub-contractors a day earlier...or as is the beauty of the Gantt Chart....coordinate two or more jobs that can be accomplished at the same time. 

There are MANY available CPM Project Management software products that are either stand-alone calendars or involved with very large Construction Management packages that coordinate every detail imaginable.  And then, there’s the favorite of mine....nothing more than grid paper, straight edge, a pencil and an Estimator book.  The facts of this particular method of scheduling is that it’s a standard that has been in existence for projecting management, proposals and concepts since the latter 1800’s when the predecessor was called the Harmonogram.  Mr. Gantt developed his particular style in 1915-1917....well before the computer and right into the middle of the explosive development of private industry and government projects (the Hoover Dam followed the Critical Path of a Gantt Chart schedule).

In short, every contractor with previous experience of total completed projects can manufacture a schedule.  It is by no means a panacea, it is a tool that has to be crafted correctly and followed absolutely...which means staying two weeks ahead of every phone call to coordinate materials and labor.


antt Charts are widely accepted for almost all styles of project management as a visual representation of the process of manufacturing, developing, structuring, designing or building almost any product....from concept to the handing over the keys to the front door.  They can be as detailed to show who the responsible parties are; including the cash resources needed at each “milestone”....or a simple graph with the “stair-step” graphics that allot time for each phase or job and how the next job is subject to the preceding job.

CPM schedules to produce timeline is not rocket science and it’s not new...however, production of a Gantt Chart schedule before a project begins is the prudent Contractor’s best tool in the box. 

For the attorney with an unhappy client with a contract in default, a 3rd party Gantt Chart that shows what should have taken place during a specific start/end date is easy to produce based on known standards for quantity of materials per worker.  

For the contractor demanding payment based on milestones or phases, the Gantt Chart clearly shows work accomplished in weight to work yet completed.


There are prerequisites required for such an exhibit.  Please feel free to contact Dan Turner to discuss your needs to determine if the Gantt Chart will benefit your client’s position.