This Subject Series addresses the sources and implementation of a contract schedule specification. The Subject Series structure is and will be multiple parts and be a logical extension of the series titled MANAGING RISK OF DELAY.
The overview of this series is:
- Managing Risk of Delay – Schedule Preparation and Maintenance (Part 4)
- Managing Risk of Delay – Schedule Specification Sources and Implementation (Part 8)
- Time Management – Schedule Specification Implementation Overview (Part 2)
- Time Management – Schedule Specification Implementation Specific Issues (Part 3) Making State of the Art Scheduling Specifications Work (presented in multiple parts).
The balance of this post and subsequent ones in this series are/will be from this paper. In general, this informative work compares two approaches to schedule specification implementation.
This extract covers:
- WEATHER DELAYS
- THE APPROVED SCHEDULE
Since work days lost on critical activities due to abnormal weather entitle the Contractor to a time extension and relief from liquidated damages, it is important to identify the number of work days normally lost due to bad weather each month. This can be a source of disagreement between the Contractor and the Owner either during or after a project.
Rather than distinguishing between abnormal and normal weather days during construction, some Owners grant time extensions for any time lost due to weather. This means that the project cannot be completed by the original contract completion date if any precipitation at all affects activities on the critical path.
By defining the average work days lost per month in the schedule specification, the Contractor can incorporate the appropriate weather contingencies in each activity duration. Arguments are eliminated during the project. And, the project will complete on schedule unless abnormal weather conditions occur. The DFW Airport specification includes the following table for planning purposes and for determining excusable weather delays during construction:
“For planning purposes, the following shall be considered average work days lost per month due to weather conditions:”
“Month Work Days”
“Contract time extensions for abnormal weather will be granted…only to the extent that the actual time lost [on critical activities] during a particular month exceeds the average lost time indicated in the above table. Time extensions granted for abnormal weather are not compensable.”
THE APPROVED SCHEDULE
What is meant by the approved schedule? Contractors are fond of arguing that the approved schedule is merely a guide for actual contract performance and that the actual sequence and duration of activities may vary greatly from the original plan.
However, the schedule must be more than merely a guide during construction. For example, the approved schedule (adjusted by any excusable delays) is the tool for determining whether or not the Contractor is behind schedule. If the Contractor is behind the properly adjusted schedule, the Owner can direct the Contractor to accelerate (at no cost) to recover the lost time or, in extreme cases, the Owner can terminate the Contractor for default for failing to perform the work in a timely manner.
Thus, the approved schedule is more than merely a guide. It is the vehicle for determining entitlement to time extensions and delay damages and for determining breach. The Contractor may vary from the approved progress schedule provided that actual progress is ahead of or equal to planned progress.
There is another potential problem with schedule approval. What happens if the approved schedule is not reasonable? Does the Owner assume any liability if, through a schedule omission by the Contractor, three activities with a combined duration of 90 days are missing from the critical path? The general answer to this last question is no. However, to avoid an argument, it is easier to answer the question directly with a contract clause.
DFW defines the responsibility for the reasonableness of the approved schedule in two clauses:
“The Contractor shall be responsible for assuring all work sequences are logical and the Network shows a coordinated plan for complete performance of the Work. Failure of the Contractor to include any element of work required for performance of the Contract in the Network shall not excuse the Contractor from completing all work within the Contract Time.”
“In the event the Contractor fails to define any element of work, activity or logic and the BOARD review does not detect this omission or error, such omission or error, when discovered by the Contractor or BOARD, shall be corrected by the Contractor at the next monthly Schedule Update.”
DFW defines the role of the approved schedule in a third clause. The clause is capitalized in the specification for emphasis.
“APPROVAL OF THE SCHEDULE BY THE BOARD DOES NOT RELIEVE THE CONTRACTOR OF ANY OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER FOR THE ACCURACY OR FEASIBILITY OF THE SCHEDULE. HOWEVER, TO THE EXTENT THAT THE APPROVED SCHEDULE IS REASONABLE, IT BECOMES A PART OF THIS CONTRACT AND DEFINES THE OBLIGATIONS OF BOTH THE CONTRACTOR AND THE BOARD TO ACHIEVE A TIMELY CONTRACT COMPLETION.”
The approved schedule, if reasonable, becomes a part of the contract defining the obligations of both parties to achieving a timely contract completion.
This series of posts will continue with further extracts from the paper (please see above for title).
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