Resource-activity critical-path method for construction planning

Ming Lu, Heng Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a practical method is developed in an attempt to address the fundamental matters and limitations of existing methods for critical-path method (CPM) based resource scheduling, which are identified by reviewing the prior research in resource-constrained CPM scheduling and repetitive scheduling. The proposed method is called the resource-activity critical-path method (RACPM), in which (1) the dimension of resource in addition to activity and time is highlighted in project scheduling to seamlessly synchronize activity planning and resource planning; (2) the start/finish times and the floats are defined as resource-activity attributes based on the resource-technology combined precedence relationships; and (3) the "resource critical" issue that has long baffled the construction industry is clarified. The RACPM is applied to an example problem taken from the literature for illustrating the algorithm and comparing it with the existing method. A sample application of the proposed RACPM for planning a footbridge construction project is also given to demonstrate that practitioners can readily interpret and utilize a RACPM schedule by relating the RACPM to the classic CPM. The RACPM provides schedulers with a convenient vehicle for seamlessly integrating the technology/process perspective with the resource use perspective in construction planning. The effect on the project duration and activity floats of varied resource availability can be studied through running RACPM on different scenarios of resources. This potentially leads to an integrated scheduling and cost estimating process that will produce realistic schedules, estimates, and control budgets for construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003


  • Construction planning
  • Critical path method
  • Project management
  • Resource management
  • Scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management

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