Scheduling priorities in construction run the gamut and differ depending on the size of the organization. For small-sized residential homebuilders and commercial contractors not every solution is a perfect fit. This is why it becomes so important to search for a solution that works for your organization.

For builders and contractors looking to test the waters with scheduling technology, a good place to start might be free online tools.

Recently, Misronet Software, www.misronet.com, came to market with a free construction scheduling program, which is available in five different languages.

This online solution, www.misronet.com/bar_charts/, is designed for CPM (critical-path method) scheduling on small projects with 10 activities or less and an overall duration of one year or less.

Builders and contractors can try critical-path scheduling online—with no additional downloads—and print out bar charts. While this solution is not a full-blown scheduling software system, it might be a good way for smaller companies to ‘get their feet wet.’

Some of the most commonly used products for smaller construction companies—Primavera P3 and SureTrak—are no longer being sold by Oracle, www.oracle.com, Redwood Shores, Calif.

However, moving up to a solution such as Oracle’s Primavera P6 might not be the best solution for smaller companies.

“There is a certain technical aspect that is a little bit more difficult to deal with in P6 quite honestly compared to P3. It is a little more challenging. In P3 you just open a schedule. In P6 you have to create a new database,” says Donald Kaplan, senior consultant, The Duggan Rhodes Group, www.dugganrhodes.com, Pittsburgh, Pa.

For a more in-depth look at what’s next for scheduling technology and some of the solutions available on the market today, check out the July/Aug issue of Constructech magazine, which will be available in print at the end of this month.