Construction Scheduling. Contract Duration and the Finish Date.

When we develop the Baseline CPM Schedule for a construction project, we need to know the contractual dates for Beneficial Occupancy, Final Contract Completion, and any other contractually required dates for deliverables.

The calendar day difference between NTP and the Required Contract Completion Date determines the project duration in Calendar Days.

Various organizations use various names for these required dates. There is NTP for Notice to Proceed. This can be for design, construction of any segment of the project. In construction, it is usually for the start of construction, but Design-Build projects typically have NTP for Design and even interim NTP dates. The names for Contract Completion vary greatly. Beneficial Occupancy; Start Operations; Contract Completion Date; BCOM…. The list is long.

Whatever the terminology, we have to end up with a project schedule that fits into this period of performance.

We develop the schedule based on input from all stakeholders. We verify we have included the entire scope of the project. We make sure we sequence the work in a constructible manner. We use accurate durations for work activities.

Does the Project Schedule then report a finish date which meets the contractual requirement?

More often than not, it does not. Correcting this is another issue.

So, what drives the contractual finish date? Is it a business decision based on a valid business need? Is it an organizational need for a change in operations? Is a specific date to meet some public good?

Many times, the contract completion date has been established based on someone’s best guess to create the period of performance. Sometimes, the Capital Projects Team decided on the period of performance based on another similar project. Sometimes funding issues drive the period of performance.

Whatever the reason, the project must be completed within the period of performance or some type of punitive action will result. This is just one more reason to develop a robust and dynamic CPM schedule with which the Project Team can manage work proactively. The effort expended to create and manage a quality CPM schedule is easily recovered with the savings gained through improved management of work and adherence to the required finish date. Whatever it is called…..

I’m sure many of you have comments or additional insight into this subject. Please share!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP