By Steve Rizer
What constitutes a reasonable baseline schedule? This is one of 14 common questions concerning the legalities of construction scheduling that ARCADIS U.S. Inc. Associate Vice President John Livengood addressed during a webinar that WPL Publishing held last week.
“Whatever the contract requires” is what constitutes a reasonable baseline schedule, Livengood told the webinar audience, noting that detailed schedule specifications do not necessarily ensure good schedules. He explained that some contracts, such as governmental contracts, might have 10-15 pages of Critical Path Method instructions. “On the other hand, your typical standard form AIA [American Institute of Architects] contract has a very, very simple, one- or two-line requirement” merely stating that the contractor will develop a schedule. “So, it really varies all over the place.”
Livengood reported that courts basically have decided that the absence of a “feasible and reasonable” plan makes schedules useless as a tool for planning a project or proving entitlement to time. In making this point, he alluded to the following cases: Fortec Contractors v. U.S., 8 Cl.Ct. 490 (1985); Nello L. Teer Co., ENGBCA, No. 4376, 86-3, BCA 19,326 (1986); and Pathman Construction Co., ASBCA, No. 23,392, 85-2 BCA, 18,096 (1985).
Here are a few of the other questions that Livengood answered:
- “Do baseline schedules have to plan for weather?” The answer: “Yes. The schedule must show a plan for dealing with predictable ‘planned (normal) adverse weather’ days.”
- “Are updates required?” The answer: “Virtually all contracts require that the contractor provide periodic updates. Court decisions concerning periodic updates are similar to those related to baseline schedules.”
- “What about float-ownership clauses?” The answer: Courts have not addressed, specifically, the issue of float-ownership clauses.
To purchase a recording of the 90-minute webinar, entitled “The Law of Schedules: Legal Implications of the Construction Schedule and Historical Perspective and Recent Case Law," visit http://constructionpronet.com/Products/LegalImplications2013.aspx.