In Microsoft Project it is possible to define work, material, and cost resources. Let’s look at the definition of material resources first. What makes the material resource definition interesting is the requirement to include a unit of measure in addition to a standard rate. This unit definition may be any unit of measure specified by the scheduler. Further, material resources do not perform work, so assigning a material resource to a task will not alter the task duration.
This article demonstrates the definition and assignment of material resources in Microsoft Project.
We have in Figure 1 our demonstration project.
This is a pipe repair and improvement project that currently has no assigned resources. We want to define material resources for this project so we select the resource tab, view ribbon group, and resource sheet, Figure 2.
In Figure 3 we define a pipe resource and assign it the type material.
Microsoft project provides initials, which we may change. Our pipe is measured in linear feet, so we define the material unit LF, Figure 4.
Note that we set the pipe material to accrue at the start of the task, so the task is charged the material expense when it commences. Other accrue at options include end and prorated. We proceed and define the rest of the materials required for our project, Figure 5.
Note the material units: LF, EA, SQ FT, LBS, CU YDS. Each material resource has a standard rate for their units. Again, the accrue at for each material is set to start.
Now that our resources are defined we want to assign them to our project. Select the install piping & couplings tasks and choose the resource tab, assignments ribbon group, and assign resources, Figure 6.
In the assign resources dialog, Figure 7, we set the pipe units to 40 LF and the pipe coupling units to 2 EA.
Note the associated cost of each material resource. Continuing in Figure 8 we highlight the insulate piping task and select assign resources again.
Our pipe is 40 LF so we need 40 LF of pipe insulation, Figure 9.
In Figure 10 we set the square feet of the concrete forms to 16 SQ FT.
The rebar is entered in LBS, Figure 11.
Finally, we have 8 CU YDS of concrete, Figure 12.
Our final schedule, including material resource assignments, is displayed in Figure 13.
The material costs are applied to the cost column and roll up to the summary task level and project level. Note the project total material resource cost is $9,640. It is important to note that the cost column is a combination of resource costs plus fixed costs.
The cost of material resources in most projects is not immaterial, no pun intended. Material resources may have a noticeable impact on project cost. Microsoft Project provides a way to define resources that is rather robust. Schedulers provide both a unit of measure and a standard rate for each material definition. In defining the material unit of measure, schedulers are limited only by their imagination.