The construction industry is one of the most important activities that contributes towards the economic growth of any nation. However, the sector has been experiencing problems of cost and time overruns, particularly the problems are significant for the lowest-bid awarded construction projects in the developing countries where inappropriate planning is reported to be one of the major causes. Thus, the paper aims at developing an integrated scheduling approach for construction projects during the planning phase from a project owner’s perspective. The proposed approach integrates cost estimation and schedule in light of practical activity precedence and mathematical cost optimization using different project commencement dates. The study has shown that cost and time optimization model could yield impractical results unless double precedence relations (start-to-start plus finish-to-finish) are imposed between some activities such as trench excavation and pipe laying. It has also demonstrated that the cost and time budgeted during the planning phase would substantially deviate from actual if the planned construction start date slips from the plan, particularly for short period projects. The proposed approach demonstrated in the paper can sufficiently allow planning engineers to develop a comprehensive construction schedule so that the cost and time overruns in the lowest-bid awarded construction projects can be reduced. The paper provides empirical insights into how a robust construction schedule is developed from an owner’s perspective. Cost-time optimization and risk analysis results obtained from manual computation might reduce the reasonable accuracy of the desired cost and schedule integration unless each activity is assigned its own calendar.
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