Effective Construction Scheduling

By Alisa Schneider, Esq., Manager and Counsel, AIA Contract Documents

July 11, 2022

Award of Contract

You received your award for your construction contract, and now, you must submit your construction schedule pursuant to the A201- 2017 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction which states, in relevant part:

The Contractor . . . shall submit . . . a Contractor’s construction schedule for the Work. The schedule shall contain detail appropriate for the Project, including (1) the date of commencement of the Work, interim schedule milestone dates, and the date of Substantial Completion; (2) an apportionment of the Work by construction activity; and (3) the time required for completion of each portion of the Work. The schedule shall provide for the orderly progression of the Work to completion[.] The schedule shall be revised at appropriate intervals as required by the conditions of the Work and Project.

Scheduling for Project Success

Below are a few items that will help your schedule be effective throughout the life of the construction project.

1.     Construction Sequence and Critical Path. An effective construction schedule should be able to demonstrate the relationship between construction activities in the same sequence you plan to execute them during the life of the project. If the relationships are accurate, there will be a sequence of construction activities in your schedule that requires one activity to be complete before the next one can start. This finish to start sequence of construction activities is the critical path of your construction schedule.

If a construction activity is on the critical path schedule and is delayed, the entire project will be delayed unless additional mitigation steps are taken to offset the delay. Due to either unforeseen or requested changes in the work, the work activities in your critical path may change as your project progresses. In any event, setting up your work tasks with the proper relationships will help give you an idea of where you may need to shift resources to allow you and your team to complete the project on time.

2.     Foreseeable Delays. As you create your schedule, there may be foreseeable events that may impact your project. For example, there may be a significant delay from the time a specific product is ordered to the time the product is delivered to the project site, or your project may take place at a time when seasonal weather events may impact your ability to perform work efficiently. Your schedule should not only include the sequence of the work as planned, but it should also include these foreseeable events that may impact the time it takes you to complete your construction activities for the project. In some cases, your client, after reviewing the initial schedule, may want to change the material to something with less of a lead time or your client may even disagree with the time allotted for weather; however, negotiating such impacts early in the project lifecycle may be beneficial to all project participants.

3.     Construction Updates. Updating your project schedule throughout the project will help you timely communicate the sequence of events to the parties on the project. If the schedule begins to show a future delay, the parties can discuss a mitigation plan before the delay impacts the actual project schedule. Additionally, if your work task relationships are correct, it will help you keep an eye on the tasks most critical to complete to finish the work on time.

A well-planned schedule will help you plan and manage your project, align the parties’ expectations, and set the project up for success.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.