Upon receiving a request for a recovery schedule in a construction project, the first course of action should be to examine the schedule and try to determine what may have caused the delay. This is one of many pieces of advice that Warner Construction Consultants Inc. Vice President Michael Harris and Larry Baker, a senior partner at Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald LLP, construction professionals attending a webinar that WPL Publishing held earlier this month.
During the webinar, Harris and Baker addressed the practical aspects of recovery schedules, which are revised plans for improving the projected completion dates of projects that fall behind schedule. A recovery schedule usually involves the submittal of a revised critical path method (CPM) schedule and a written plan.
“So, you’ve got the request (for a recovery schedule),” Harris said. “What do you do? Well, first you want to take a look at your schedule. Look back a little bit. Recovery schedules are looking forward, but look backward just a little bit to see if there are some identifiable causes of the delay and [if] there is something that should be corrected before you move on. Essentially, though, you want to look forward. Review the schedule logic, the durations, and the calendars, and focus on the critical path because, as we know, in a [CPM] schedule, the critical path is what determines how long the project will take. If the critical path activity is delayed, the project is delayed.
“If you want to accelerate or recover time on a schedule, focus on the critical path because, as I said, there are only a couple of ways if you’re looking at reducing schedule time. Mechanically, you have to either reduce the activity durations or you change the schedule logic. The third option here -- deleting the scope -- that’s typically not an option.”
When developing a schedule, it is important to make an attempt to reduce the project duration for the least amount of cost, Harris said. “Don’t spend any more money than you have to.” He further emphasized the importance of resourcing and cost-loading the schedule “so that you will have an idea of what it will take initially and what it will take afterwards to recover the time.
“And then a few other things. Basically, check the schedule, look forward, and be realistic. Only put in that recovery schedule what you believe can be accomplished. Many of the same steps here are in the baseline schedule development and also the schedule update development.”
It is also important to meet with project field management and field personnel to get their input, Harris said. “Make sure they agree with the plan, get their buy-in. Do the same thing with the subcontractors. [If] the subcontractor is not performing – you may have to supplement their forces, put them on notice, replace them, whatever, but you do need to try and get the subcontractor’s commitment to meet this accelerated schedule….”
During the webinar, entitled “Recovery Schedules -- The Construction Acceleration Hot Potato: Practical and Legal Considerations,” Harris and Baker additionally discussed baseline schedules, requests for recovery schedules, recovery schedule contract clauses, the costs of recovering time, submittal, and other topics relating to recovery schedules.
The webinar’s target audience included schedulers, contractors, subcontractors, public and private owners, construction managers, consultants, architects, and engineers who are involved in construction project management or administration.
To inquire about the recordings of this event, call WPL Publishing at (301) 765-9525.