• Duane C. Barney

Construction Project Schedule

The project schedule is an important and too often overlooked tool. A lot of time is put into preparing the schedule, sometimes for show, other times to meet contractual obligations. But, if contractual, why is it required? Too often the clients do not understand it, the superintendent ignores it and it rarely gets reviewed or updated. There are plenty of more important things to do. Yet there is really nothing more important than planning, as humans we plan everything. Morning schedules, workout plan, vacation plan and even a retirement plan. Plans may fall apart yet we only know this because we had one in the first place.


Who should prepare the plan, the obvious answer is the contractor and since this is a team effort there should be team input into the preparation. The architect is often a critical element to the schedule that is often overlooked. As each activity is input a preliminary and subset Sechele is being created, shop drawings and submittals and another of buy out. We know that long before the steel arrives on site there are agreements to be negotiated, shop drawings prepared and reviewed. These elements should all be included as part of the schedule because conflicts here can lead to delays down the road. If the schedule says shop drawing will be submitted for 10 different trades the same week, does the architect have the resources to adequately review and respond. How many resubmissions are anticipated? This will all impact fabrication and the start of work


What exactly is the schedule? Sounds like a stupid question, it is the time sequence for the work. Obvious. Time and sequence on the schedule are two distinct elements, how long will it take, when will it be done. Weather, scope changes, and a long list of unforeseen conditions can impact the time, sequence or both. The schedule is the road map to your destination and when any of these obstacles present themselves you will need to find an alternate route. This is why updating is so important, you can’t change a plan you do not have.


The schedule should be everywhere because everyone should be working from it:

· Client – Material selections, consultant coordination, move-in

· Architect – submittal schedules

· Project Manager – Buy-out schedule

· Superintendent – Day to day operations

· Subcontractors – Planning and coordinating

Everyone should have access to the schedule all of the times, it is the plan of action. The drawings are the destination but the schedule is the road map everyone needs to follow.


The schedule should be one of the first elements to be worked on once the project is released. It should be reviewed weekly, updated at least monthly. In addition, it is good practice to keep a shorter three week look ahead schedule available for the intricate details that need attending to. Remember this is an important planning tools and should not be ignored.


For the most part the why has been spelled out yet the financial aspect cannot be overlooked.

· Fixed price contract: On a fixed price contract the schedule is the key to the contractor profit as time is money and resources tied up on a eject dragging on is not making any mare money. Fort he client understand the schedule impacts will have a ripple effect with their consultants, decorators, landscapers, movers etc.

· Cost plus contract: For the client the schedule is money since you share in the risk, as the project time extends so does your cost. For the contractor it is opportunity costs.

Everyone and everything is impacted by the schedule, understanding it and rescheduling as necessary are vitally important to a timely completion. Making sure the vendors, suppliers and subcontractors know what and when work is expected is a key to smooth progress.

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