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Unit 1 Planning Building Operations


Section 1. Information

Section 2. Methods of Working

Section 3. Programmes for Operations



Information and Guidance is available on how you should study

Study Guide

Assignment for Unit 1


Before Submitting your assignment you MUST read and conform to Instructions for

Submitting Assignments


Additional Learning Resourses




Additional Information

You should relate your responses to any of the tasks set in this unit to the documents listed below; these will provide information about the type and size of the project.  

Section 1




Introduction to the Construction Industry

Preparing for Construction

Section 2





Section 3



Unit aim: This unit is designed to meet the needs of construction Site Supervisors, to provide them with knowledge of how to plan building operations.

This unit has an Introduction and is divided into 3 study sections.


Section 1 Information

1.1.1 Information required in order to plan building operations. 
1.1.2 Sources of the information and the means of acquiring it.

Section 2 Methods of Working
1.2.1 Selecting the work methods
1.2.2 Method Statements
1.2.3 Producing a Method Statement

Section 3 Programmes for Operations
1.3.1 Programming for building operations which is correctly sequenced. 
1.3.2 Explain the use of programmes and method statements for building operations to operatives and other users of the information.
1.3.3 Update working methods and programmes including implementing any changes and improvements.

Unit Recommended Reading

Foster, G (1989) Construction site studies production, administration and personnel (2nd Ed), Longman; Harlow. (This book is recommended for units 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6)

Cook, B & Williams, P, (2009) construction planning, programming and control (3rd Ed), Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester

Books can be ordered from most bookshops or online from Amazon.

Before starting you should read the ‘Study Guide’ accessible from the link on the left.


The purpose of planning is to ensure that the project is produced on time and within the cost constraints and at the quality required. The methods of planning will depend on the type and complexity of the project, though the options must be understood by all those who are involved in the process and should consider the possibility of a number of options with regard to the course of action to be taken and the possibility that things may not go according to plan.

Reasons for Planning
Before anything can be done it is essential that those who will be doing it know what they are intending to achieve and how they will go about it. The more complicated the task the greater the need for detailed planning. This will generally result in the task being split into a number of smaller tasks and resources being allocated in order to complete the task within a certain time scale. This is generally known as the Programme.
In some cases to fall behind programme can involve financial penalties, in that the finances will be required for a greater period of time than was allowed for in the budget, resulting in increased interest costs. It will also increase the period of time prior to receiving income from the task, work or contract. If contracts have been signed specifying a handover date the client may take legal action for the recovery of monies lost through not work not being finished as it may be that the client is not to trade from that date.
A detailed programme will therefore enable the contractor to see at the earliest possible time if problems are occurring which could delay the programme. This would then enable them to instigate some measures which would reduce the delay and enable the project to catch up with the programme.
From the financial point of view, planning will enable the client/contractor to anticipate the financial commitments throughout the contract period. It will also indicate the time scale for the programme with regard to ensuring any resources are available when required and for making the necessary arrangements for their procurement.
In this unit you will learn the way that planning is carried out for a project.

Please Note

All information contained in this Study Unit was considered correct at the time of writing but Students must not rely on information contained in the Study Unit and/or references for any purposes other than use within this CIOB qualification aim as legislation and working practices are constantly being revised and updated. Students are advised therefore to continually up-date themselves as to current legislation and construction practice and must not to rely on information contained within the Study Unit and/or references for practical applications in the workplace. Where legislation or construction practice has been superseded to that contained in the Study Unit Students should note this within their responses to the tasks.

Section 1. Information

Learning outcome: On completion the learner will know how to obtain and apply relevant information in order to plan construction operations.


1.1.1   Information required in order to plan building operations.
1.1.2  Sources of the information and the means of acquiring it.

1.1.1 Information required in order to plan building operations
Before planning can begin for any type of contract it is necessary to obtain all relevant information in order that the programme produced ensures the work is carried out according to the client’s requirements. Therefore it will be necessary to ensure that all information is obtained in order that the work can be planned to ensure that it is completed according to specification, and within the time and financial constraints imposed by the client and to ensure the maximum use of available resources to enable the maximum profit to be made by the contractor.
A great deal of this information is provided by the client, or their representative, which will be passed to the contractor. Such documents will include:
  • Existing programmes and plans. The work you have to plan may have to be coordinated with others; this will be particularly relevant if you are acting as a sub-contractor where you may be given a time window in order to carry out the work.
  • Drawings, specification. In order for the designers of a building to convey their requirements; a set of drawings and specifications are produced which enables the building to be constructed according to the designers original intentions. The planner will need to know this in order to position the building but also to determine what is required and how long each element will take; we will look at that in greater detail later in this unit.
  • Contract conditions. The contract may contain a number of conditions which you will need to know in order to ensure that the planning is done to take these into consideration: This will certainly include the completion date. 
  • Statutory requirements. You will need to ensure that all statutory requirements have been met, this will include checking that any permissions have been obtained before the commencement of work, i.e. building approval and that any notices regarding the notification of Health and Safety executive have been delivered.
  • Resource availability. The resources available will need to be known as the amount of labour will determine the time that a task will take. Also the plant and machinery you have will affect the way that the work is carried out and the time it takes. The resources available will either dictate the time scale for the project, or the time scale of the project will dictate the resources that are needed in order to complete by a certain date.
  • Management instructions. You may be given specific instruction relating to work generally or to a specific contract. These can relate to any part of the work but may include reference to carrying out the work in a given situation i.e. in the event of soil contamination or in relation to dealing with waste 
  • Site conditions. Prior to the start of planning you will need to ensure that you are aware of the site conditions. This will relate to the ground conditions and the potential layout and surrounding area in order to plan the site and how the process will be carried out. When laying out the site it is essential that all aspects are considered so that the maximum use of the site is made. It also needs to restrict inconvenience so that materials do not have to be doubled handled or facilities relocated in order for construction to continue.
1.1.2 Sources of the information and the means of acquiring it
A great deal of information that is needed to plan will come from documents, these can be generic documents in that they apply to all contracts or they can be specific to a particular contract.
Generic Documents
These fall into two categories in that they are either external documents such as Statutory Regulation and Legislation such as Building Regulations and planning requirements to specific requirements relating to a particular area of work i.e. Health and Safety. All documents will be held by your company.
Company Policies
These are produced by the company to ensure that it will conduct its business in a manner which ensures it complies with current legislation. Policies will relate to general requirements relating to staff and work methods. Two examples of company policies are:

Health & Safety 

A health and safety policy sets out your general approach, objectives and the arrangements you have put in place for managing health and safety in the company.
It specifies who does what, when and how.
Health and Safety Policies are concerned with the protection of employees and persons likely to come into contact with the company from hazards or dangers, which are involved with the company carrying out its business.
The Policy sets out individual responsibilities for the safe working conditions and the level of duty imposed on each employee.
You will need to be familiar with the policy and its requirements before carrying out any work on a contract.

Environmental Policy
An environmental policy is not a legal requirement; it is a written statement outlining how your company promotes measures to consider the environment. This can relate to how you carryout work and deal with such thing as waste management. Consequently you need to be familiar with the requirements and how it will affect the way that the work is done.


Task 1.1.1 Company Policies

Produce a list and describe other Company Policies that are required or used by a company within the construction industry.

Word Guide - 400 

Contract Documents
These are documents that relate specifically to a particular contract or job; they specify the requirements with regard to specification and quality and the aspects relating to time or any other aspect relevant to the contract.
In order to carry out a job you will need to ensure that you understand what is required, this can be obtained from the drawings and specification so all work will need to conform to these.
In addition you will need to be aware of any restrictions or special conditions relating to the contract and work required.


Task 1.1.2 Contract Documents

Describe the contract documents and how they will affect the planning of a job.

Word Guide - 400

Identifying and remedying incomplete, inaccurate and inapplicable information

It is essential that you have all the information you need in order to enable you to plan the work. If you find that you do not have sufficient or any items are inaccurate or incomplete you will need to obtain this. Where this is obtained from will depend on the information needed. You should look to the original provider and request the information ensuring that you retain a record of any requests. You must obtain all information from all sources to enable you to carry out the planning.

Task  1.1.3  Insufficient Information

Give examples where you may have insufficient information and explain the procedure you would adopt in order to obtain it.

Word Guide - 400


Additional Information

If you would like additional information you can visit the constructionsite unit listed in the left hand column.


Section 2. Determine Methods of Work

Learning outcome: On completion the learner will know how to determine methods of working for construction operations.



1.2.1 Selecting the work methods
1.2.2 Method Statements
1.2.3 Producing a Method Statement

1.2.1 Selecting the work methods
To carry out a task it is normally possible to do it in a number of ways using a number of different methods i.e. To dig out the trench for a drain run it can be done either by the use of man power where by it is dug out by hand or it can be done by a machine. The method chosen will depend on the size of the job, how important it is to do it in a given time frame and if there is a piece of suitable plant on site at anytime prior to the trench being dug.
Such consideration will therefore have to consider the following:
  • Costs comparisons
  • Time requirements and the relationship to the critical path
  • Availability of plant and labour
  • Options available with regard to different systems of construction
From this and your understanding of the processes, which must be completed to construct a building you should be able to break down the Construction Phase into the activities and assess the ways that these are carried out. You would then need to assess the possible methods which can be done by the production of a Method Statement.

1.2.2 Method Statements
A Method Statement is a detailed schedule that considers alternative proposals and makes recommendations on how a task is to be carried out and the resources that will be needed. It considers time, costs and technique for each method of carrying out the work and the resources necessary to perform the major activities in the project.
Prior to the programme being drawn up it is essential to know the following:
  • what is to be done
  • how it is to be done
  • what is the sequence of activities
  • how long will each operation take to complete
  • what labour is required
  • what plant is required
When assessing a job it is probable that there will be a number of options for how it can be carried out. The production of a method statement can enable each option to be assessed prior to deciding on the most appropriate method.
A method statement will enable all the resources to be assessed and consequently this can help in the costing of the project. This can be produced as a Method and Resource Statement or as separate forms.
The method statement is best produced at the earliest opportunity as it is used to guide everyone within the contracting firm regarding the method and sequence of construction.
To produce the method statement, the construction work is broken down into operations, and the labour and plant requirements are then estimated by those responsible i.e. plant by the plant manager.
The Method Statement is the basis from which the programmer works in drawing up the Contract Programme. It can also be used on-site by the site manager as it conveys how the work should proceed.
Not all firms produce a method statement as many will rely on the site manager to carry out the work using their experience, this is particularly true in housing developments.
The production of the method statement must consider the contract documents i.e. drawings, specification, Bill of Quantities. If the contract is handed over in stages the method statement will include this.
Once the method statement has been produced it should be adhered to with no deviations without official permission.
The work that is to be done by the contractor and any nominated sub-contractors should be shown on the Statement and it is normal for any sub-contractors to produce a method statement for their work package.

1.2.3 Producing a Method Statement
In order to produce a method statement the following Procedure can be used:
  • Determine what is required to be done
  • Break down the complete job into separate operations
  • Determine the ways that each of those operations can be carried out
  • Select the most appropriate method (alternatively produce a method statement for each method)
  • Place them in the sequence that they are to occur
  • Determine what, if any, plant is required for each operation
  • Determine the operatives required to carry out each operation (Remember to include plant operator)
  • Determine if any special requirements apply.

Task  1.2.1 Activities List

List the activities that will need to be carried out in order to produce a method statement for the construction of a detached domestic dwelling. This will include all items from site set-up to hand-over in the order that they are to be carried out. 

Having obtained the above information this can be transferred onto the Method Statement. A number of forms can be used and the one below is used as an example. This can be down loaded by clicking on the link in the left hand column.

Filling in the Method Statement
  • Operation Number (Op No) - This records the sequence of the operations it also ensures that when the calculation sheet is produced all items are included and related.
  • Operation - Itemises the operations that are to be undertaken.
  • Method - Describes what is to be done and how the operation is to be carried out.
  • Plant - Any plant that is required for the operation should be listed.
  • Labour - The type of labour required is listed. If the labour requirement is known this can be inserted,
  • Notes - Any additional points can be noted here i.e. notify Building Inspector.
Figure 1.2.1 Method Statement

An overview can be seen of the method statement by watching the video "Method Statements" from the left hand column.


Task  1.2.2 Method Statement

Down load the ‘Method Statement Form’ by clicking on the link below and produce a Method Statement suitable for the construction of a detached dwelling. You should include at least 10 sequential items in your method statement.

Word Guide - 400 - 600


When completed this should be sent to us by post or as an attachment in a word document (or other word processing package) 

Additional Information

If you would like additional information you can visit the constructionsite unit Planning & Control in the left hand column.


Section 3. Programmes for Operations

Learning outcome: On completion the learner will know how to prepare programmes for construction operations.



1.3.1 Programming for building operations which is correctly sequenced. 
1.3.2 Explain programmes and method statements for building operations to operatives and other users of the information. 
1.3.3 Update working methods and programmes including implementing any changes and improvements.


1.3.1 Programming
When the method statement has been produced this needs to be converted into a programme which will show what task is to be done, when it starts and finishes and its’ duration and the sequence that the work will take place. It will also high light the critical path, this is the longest sequence of activities in a project plan which must be completed on time for the project to complete by the due date. An activity on the critical path cannot be started until the previous activity is complete; if it is delayed this will have a knock-on effect, and the entire project will be delayed unless the activities following the delayed activity is completed earlier.
The most commonly used method of programming in the construction industry is the Bar or Gantt chart. To get an introduction to the bar or Gantt chart, click on the link  in the left hand column
Bar or Gantt Chart
This depicts each operation as a bar on a chart. The length of the bar shows the time that the operation is expected to take. It shows the starting time and the finishing time. As work proceeds the actual time taken can be marked under the programme time, thus showing the state of the contract. This will show whether it is on programme or how far ahead or behind time it is running. This method provides a good visual method that is easy to understand. 

Figure 1.3.1 Bar Chart

Preparing the Bar Chart
The information obtained from the Method Statement is used to produce the programme for the job.
A standard bar chart sheet is used and the details of the contract are filled in along the top of the sheet.
Details of the operations are then placed in each of the columns. A bar is then drawn in the appropriate column to represent the operation to be carried out and when it is to be done. This will take into account the length of time taken for all subsequent operations if they are on the critical path, or when any preceding work has been done which will then allow that operation to be carried out i.e. drainage.
The bar is normally drawn at the top of each row, which then allows sufficient space for the actual time taken to be drawn in, enabling progress to be checked.
Figure 1.3.2 Bar Chart
A bar chart is a living document in that it can be altered if situations changes. It should be up-dated to show a true picture of what is happening within a contract. This means that the programme is subject to alterations as it is extremely unlikely that a programme will progress without any alterations.
Linked Bar Chart
A variation of the bar chart is the linked bar chart. This displays the link between an activity and the preceding ones. It is therefore possible to see which must be completed before moving on to other activities which shows the Critical Path. This is also useful in assessing the results of any delays, which may occur. Resources can be added to each activity that will show, for example, the amount of labour required. This can be called a resource aggregation or a resource histogram.
Figure 1.3.3 Linked Bar Chart
When you produced a method statement you will have determined the resources required in order to complete each task. This can also be shown on the bar chart so the resources of labour and plant can be shown at the bottom of the chart under each week column.
Labour is itemised by the specific operative required.
The requirement for plant is shown as a bar for the duration of use.
Every effort should be made to ensure continuity of work for labour and plant thus ensuring that when the Labourer finishes digging the foundation trench they can move on to the drainage trenches. The requirement for any plant should be, where practicable, batched together.
If the bar shows excessive time, or, if the adjustment of time for a specific operation will allow better use of resources this should be considered.
Figure 1.3.4 Daily Resource Requirements

Task  1.3.1 Programme

Using the information in the Method Statement you produced in the previous section, produce a contract programme as a linked bar chart.

You should then Add the requirements for labour, plant and the delivery of any items to the chart.

You can draw the bar chart yourself or you can down load the Bar Chart Template by clicking on the link in the left hand column and completing that.



Task  1.3.2 Tracking the Project

Explain how a method statement and programme are used to determine and track the work being carried out on a project.

Word Guide: 300 - 400 



Task  1.3.3 Reflective Account on Unit

Produce a reflective account on what you have learnt in this unit and how it has been of use to you. You should consider what you have learnt; how you have put this into practice and the benefits it has brought to you and your organisation. You can state examples or incidences as a means of illustration.
Word Guide - 800 - 1000


Unit Complete

You have now completed Unit 1, and you should complete the assignment and send it to

When submitting your assignment you should ensure that it meets all the requirements set out on the Submitting Assignments page, which is accessible from the Student Area or towards the top of the column at the left of this page.

If it does not conform in all respects it will be returned to you and not sent for assessment resulting in delay. ALL questions must be answered in your own words.  Any indication of plagiarism will mean that the assignment will fail and be returned to you.

You will be notified as soon as it has been assessed, which will then enable you to continue.
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