Investigating the Applications of NetPoint for Level 3 Schedules: A University of Michigan Research Case Study
March 15, 2017
The University of Michigan research team presented their research project exploring the application of GPM and NetPoint to a level 3 construction schedule and their experience using NetPoint to build a detailed level 3 schedule. The team will share their findings on building and managing a detailed level 3 NetPoint schedule, including the team’s recommendation to implement a tabular interface to allow changes in a dashboard to instantly update the schedule, and maintain the benefits of real-time planning while also streamlining the entry and editing of bulk data. It is the teams’ belief that if NetPoint were to provide the level 3 tabular dashboard, it would easily become the industry standard for construction scheduling software.
It’s clear that NetPoint and GPM provide great value for Level 1 and 2 schedules. A level 3 schedule is a detailed breakdown of the Level 2 schedule by and for schedulers rather than for executive and management team members who participated at Levels 1 and 2. Therefore, there is less reliance on the interactive and collaborative nature of NetPoint and GPM. However, to manage the volume of detail required for Level 3 schedules, the authors proposed an alternative tabular interface optimized to allow changes in a dashboard to instantly update the schedule. The tabular dashboard would integrate with NetPoint’s graphical interface to maintain the benefits of real-time planning while also streamlining the entry and editing of bulk data. A tabular dashboard would also provide improved data processing capabilities to maintain the instant connection between the NetPoint canvas and the data in the dashboard. It is the authors’ belief that if NetPoint were to provide the level 3 tabular dashboard, it would easily become the industry standard for construction scheduling software.
What was the primary benefit of using NetPoint over other scheduling software?
The simple and intuitive nature of NetPoint is an attractive feature for most users. We also found the Excel resource allocation feature to be one of the most useful features of NetPoint.
What were the most useful GPM and NetPoint functionality used to work the level 3 schedule?
How would you characterize the learning curve to use NetPoint as compared to learning other CPM scheduling software?
NetPoint is very intuitive and easy to learn for beginners. Specifically, directly drawing on canvas and because scheduling takes place in real-time are key. However, transitioning from CPM to GPM may be a challenge for some schedulers. CPM schedulers are accustomed to software with extensive detail, tabular interfaces, and a data management system to provide calculations. GPM and NetPoint focuses on seeing the plan in real-time with live calculations on planned dates and requires summarizing the amount of detail typically added to a CPM schedule.
Dr. Carol Menassa is an Associate Professor and John L. Tishman Faculty Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM). Her current research focuses on sustainability of buildings and infrastructure systems. Her research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Construction Industry Institute, the Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Wisconsin Energy Research Consortium. Menassa is the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Early Career Researcher from Fiatech, 2015 CII Distinguished Professor Award and 2014 NSF Career award. She also received 2016 Best Paper Award from International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, the 2015 Best Paper Award from Journal of Management in Engineering, the 2013 Best Paper Award from the ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineer, and the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the American University of Beirut.
Dr. Vineet R. Kamat is a Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kamat received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2003; a MS in Civil Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2000; and a BE degree in Civil Engineering from Goa University in India in 1998. Dr. Kamat’s research has been published in 60 peer-reviewed journal publications and 70 conference papers to date. He has presented his work in 35 invited talks throughout the world. Dr. Kamat has served as the Chair of the ASCE Construction Institute’s Construction Research Council, and as a Member of the Board of Governors of the ASCE Construction Institute. He was awarded the 2015 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize by the American Society of Civil Engineers. He has also received the Daniel W. Halpin Award for scholarship in construction from the American Society of Civil Engineers; two Outstanding Researcher Awards from FIATECH; and two Outstanding Young Alumnus Awards from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. He has also received three ASCE Best Paper Awards, from the Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, and the Construction Research Congress.
Naga Veena Tarlana completed her Master’s Degree in Construction Engineering and Management in December 2016 from the University of Michigan. She had an unique opportunity to work on GPM and NetPoint through the Industry oriented course CEE 530 – Construction Professional Practice as part of her graduate education, under the guidance of PMA mentors. She is currently working at DPR Construction in the Redwood City area in California.
Vishal Shreyans Shah completed his Master’s Degree in Construction Engineering and Management in December 2016 from the University of Michigan. He had a unique opportunity to work on GPM and NetPoint through the Industry oriented course CEE 530 – Construction Professional Practice as part of his graduate education, under the guidance of PMA mentors. He is currently working at Skanska USA Building, Inc in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.