Construction Scheduling. Critical and Near Critical Progress Update Information for Owners.

As a continuation of my previous posts, I will continue to discuss some of the important progress update items we review and analyze.

I will now discuss the process of analyzing the actual performance of work on the Critical and Near Critical Path(s).

When the contractor adds the actual Start and Finish Date and expected Finish Date data to the schedule update, the new scheduled completion date if most often not what any of us want. Usually, there has been slippage in work progress in an area that must be addressed.

This is most often caused by a lack of adequate progress for work on the Critical Path and/or the Near Critical Path(s).

Quite simply, the planned productivity for the work scheduled is not achieved.

To analyze this, we compare the previous period update Critical Path work to the actual progress reported in the current period update schedule. We simply compare Original Duration and scheduled dates to the actuals. This tells us where the slippage occurred. It does not explain the why. This should be included in the schedule update narrative the contractor provides.

We do the same for the Near Critical Path(s).

Why do we do this?.

The contractor typically knows what is driving the project and what measures need to be taken to correct work slippage. The owner usually does not have this intimate knowledge of the background operations of the contractor. However, the owner is entitled to know as much as possible about the actual and planned performance of the project. They need that information to make internal business decisions which may impact the project, such as potential change orders and work integration by others, or to react to deviations from the planned contract milestone dates.

More importantly, to me anyway, the owner is always in a position to help the contractor and I’ve met very few owners who would not do so if they understand the problem and are in a position to do so.

Once we identify and quantify the lack of progress, we can determine the root cause and identify a trend, if one is developing. We cannot do this if we simply look at another Gantt Chart pdf and look at the scheduled finish date for the project.

The owner needs to understand what work is slipping and why and this should be discussed with all parties to find a solution to keep the project safe. But this does not happen if the owner is not fully informed of progress slippage for Critical and Near-Critical work.

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