Using soft precedence relations for reduction of the construction project duration
Current network techniques used for project scheduling presume that there is only one logical sequence of activities. However, in reality, the precedence logic of activities is not necessarily unchangeable. There are two types of relations between activities: fixed (hard) and soft. Current scheduling methods do not differentiate between these two types of relations and require a planner to choose one particular logical sequence based on some assumptions. The paper presents a model that allows for “weakening” the links between activities, i.e. that permits concurrent execution of activities or reversing their order, but this may require additional resource-consuming works or expenditures. The model involves two subtypes of soft logic: REVERSED and CANCELED to represent the soft relations between activities. Its mathematical form is a mixed linear integer programming model of minimizing the project duration without exceeding the allowed budget. The paper presents an example of practical application of the method to scheduling interior finishing works. The results support the argument that using soft logic relations between construction activities provides more flexibility in reducing project duration, activities timing and resource allocation.
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