Construction Scheduling. Is the Schedule a Complete Schedule? (For Owners).

Do you review your Baseline Schedule to make sure all the work to complete “The Project” is included?

Are you sure?

When the contractor develops the schedule, they should be planning the project execution first. This includes the phasing of the project, the necessary permits, the long lead submittals, the procurement of subcontractors, equipment, and material, the close-out of the project, and the actual work necessary to build the project.

Often, we see schedules which do not include permits, or the procurement of long lead items, or complete commissioning, testing, and inspections. Let’s not forget the closeout requirements for as-built documents, warranties, or training, (if required).

The CPM schedule should include all the work necessary to execute the project.  An easy way to ensure all the work is included is to make a list of all the closeout deliverables and compare that to the WBS for closeout section of the schedule. The same for special inspections, commissioning. For whatever reason, we always look closely at the construction section of the schedule, but tend to gloss over the administrative, procurement, and commissioning sections.

Just as we look at constructability for the project plans, we need to thoroughly look at the project schedule to make sure all of the deliverables are included. And, the activities to provide these deliverables need to be complete and broken down into sufficient detail to control the work!

An activity at the end of the project schedule that says “Finish Project” is of no use. All the activities necessary to actually plan and control the post “Substantial Completion” work for the project should be as detailed as the construction work is. The same for the commissioning and testing of systems.

And, let’s not forget the initial administrative requirements which have to be fulfilled prior to starting any work. We usually need an approved Safety Plan, an approved environmental permit, and building permit at a minimum. The time to develop these, get them submitted and reviewed and approved needs to be in the front of the schedule.

Also, we need the long lead time equipment or material submittals in the schedule. I also like to have the main materials submittals, in general form, in the schedule just to make sure we get them in and reviewed in time for their use in the project. Often, the contract documents state the required review period for the owner. We use this for the review period in the schedule.

There should be a fabrication and delivery activity(s) for any major equipment which should drive the start of any installation of the equipment. This activity(s) should be driven by the submittal and procurement of the equipment. Often, this will drive the Critical path.

Everyone tends to really look at the construction activities. As  Planning and Schedule Professionals, we need to look at the project deliverable as a whole.

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