By Bruce Jervis
Construction contracts commonly call for the contractor to submit a planned schedule for owner approval and then update that schedule on a regular basis during construction. The updated schedule is a useful project control tool for the owner. It can also be an effective delay claim tool for the contractor. It is therefore surprising how frequently owners and contractors alike ignore the schedule updating requirement in their contract.
On a recent federal military project, the contract required the contractor to update the schedule monthly. “The Critical Path Method of network calculation shall be used to generate the project schedule and will utilize the Precedence Diagram Method to satisfy both time and cost applications.”
The contractor did not comply with this requirement, possibly because the government was directing the timing and sequence of the work in the field. It was impossible to follow a schedule. The government may have implicitly recognized this, as it never raised the issue until completion of the project – 77 days after the contract deadline.
In the ensuing dispute over responsibility for the delay, the lack of monthly updates became an issue. The contractor’s claim for compensable delay was not barred by its failure to comply with the scheduling requirement. Some compensable delay could be shown from the daily job reports. But, the contractor may have been able to prosecute a more persuasive and remunerative claim had it maintained the updates.
Have you seen similar instances where project owner carelessness or ignorance has resulted in the loss of bond rights? From an owner’s perspective, what do you consider best practices in avoiding such forfeiture? I welcome your comments.