Total float is a very important indicator of your schedule. Therefore, it is important to understand how to control it and how it could affect your future performance of the project.
What is the total float?
Total float is the amount of time any activity can be delayed without delaying the project. The below figure will explain more.
Activities A, B, C, and D are on the project-critical path. it means if any activity is delayed by 1 day, the project will be delayed by 1 day.
On the other hand, Activities 1 and 2 have total Float because any of them could be delayed for some time (total float) without impacting the project finish date.
How total float could impact your project?
Total Float could show unrealistic delays to your project or could make you lose your entitlement for an Extention of time EOT.
A-Unrealistic delays because of total float:
Let us assume that you have a high float for activities 1 and 2. You decided to link Activity 2 to Activity D to reduce the total float. Now, while updating your program of work, an activity got delayed, the project will show unreal delays because of the wrong link between Activity 2 and Activity D.
B- lose your entitlement to an extension of time EOT:
On the other hand, let us assume that there was a link between Activity 2 and Activity D that you missed in your schedule of work. If the client or the consultant for any reason holds Activity 1 for some time, you will struggle to prove that this action will impact the project because Activity 1 has a very high total float.
Tips and Tricks to control your schedule total Float:
I made the above introduction to explain to you that linking activities properly is the main action to control the total float. However, the following are some tips and tricks to help you reduce high total floats:
1- Link activities in a proper way as expected to be executed on-site.
2- You should not have any open ends. i-e, Activities without a successor or predecessor.
3- Be sure that your critical path is realistic and most likely present the situation on-site.
4- Do not create unnecessary relationships between activities, it will hurt you rather than help you.
5- Link shop drawings and materials to all related construction activities and not only the first one. Maybe you will need this link later on in your EOT.
6- You can define your working crews to be working at certain areas, floors, and buildings at the same time. Accordingly, you can link these areas, floors, and buildings together.
7- Define the most important activities in your project and be sure the total float is 100% correct.
8- If you have a horizontal project where work can be started anywhere, try to create control milestones to control the project phases, zones, etc. Also, you can link zones and areas together. No one can work everywhere at the same time.
9- If you have a resource-driven activity, be sure to clarify your baseline to show that these durations are based on certain resources. Accordingly, only this amount of work can be done every day, week, and month.
10- If you did all the above and still have a high float, you might consider increasing the testing and commissioning duration for the activities with high floats. Don’t try to make every single activity in your baseline critical because you will start recording delays once you update your baseline. Always try to be logical.
11- To learn more about floats you can enroll in one of our Planning Courses that takes you from being a beginner to the advanced level.