Construction Schedules: Intended Purpose vs Perceived Risks
The intended purpose of a schedule on a construction project is to help ensure that all activities necessary to complete the work in accordance with contract documents are properly planned, staffed, coordinated and executed in an orderly and expeditious manner. Schedules not only assist in compelling the proper coordination of the work, but they also contribute to the owner's decision making with respect to the evaluation of the contractor's payment applications and proposed changes to the contract.
There is, however, a perceived risk involved with owners requiring contractors to submit schedules and reviewing and accepting them. The risk, of course, is that the owner accepts a schedule and agrees to something that is later used as the basis of a claim. However, the downside risk of not requiring construction schedules is that the project plan is not communicated and the owner is left with no way to effectively measure progress, check on coordination or verify the timing of its own responsibilities required to complete the work.
Without a clearly articulated scheduling specification in the contract documents, proper project scheduling may be dispensed with as a way of saving costs. Thus, most experienced owners recognize that the risk of not requiring comprehensive project schedules far outweighs the risk of requiring, reviewing and accepting contractor project schedules. Owners should spend the time necessary during the design phase to draft a scheduling specification that is commensurate with the amount of detail, involvement and control the owner wants to see exercised on the project. Owners should also be mindful that the requirements do not become so burdensome that the schedule takes on a life of its own, becomes unmanageable and is disconnected from the contractor's actual management of the project.
Contract Specifications to Optimize Schedule Value
Standard contracts often provide very little direction to the contractor with respect to project scheduling requirements. Elements such as specific timing, level of detail, content and formatting, among others, are often not addressed clearly, if at all. As such, adequate project schedules will very likely not be developed and the multiple benefits of creating them will not be achieved.
ConstructionPro Network Webinar Presentation
In a recent webinar presentation, Navigant Consultings' Emily Federico & Kelly Heuer ably demonstrated the importance of a detailed project schedule specification in a construction contract and identified the key components that can be used by both parties for better project control, decision-making and, if necessary, resolution of claims.
Webinar Learning Objectives:
- What schedule requirements are typically delineated in standard contracts
- Why an owner would want to include a detailed scheduling specification in a construction contract
- What key elements should be considered for incorporation in a detailed scheduling specification
- What common challenges and realities need to be considered in developing a detailed scheduling specification and
- What role the owner should expect to play in the development and execution of project schedules
ConstructionPro Network members may download the webinar for free. Click here to access the webinar.