Construction Schedules & Delay Claims -- Schedule Uses, Schedule Importance & Schedule Updates
Friday, December 16, 2011 at 2:15PM
Jack DiNicola

This is the first in a series of articles on Construction Schedules and Delay Claims.  This article addresses (1) schedule uses; (2) schedule importance; and (3) schedule updates.

I.  Schedule Uses.

The Schedule has several uses.  The Baseline Schedule explains how the contractor is going to build the project.  The Schedule also aids in subcontractor management.  It is an important tool for both general contractors and subcontractors for coordination of activities.  Schedule Updates allows the parties to graphically determine progress when compared to the Baseline Schedule.  A proper Schedule also depicts changes in scope and the effect on the Schedule.  Schedules are obviously used for claim prosecution and claim defense.

II.  Why is the Schedule Important.

All construction contracts should have two basic elements in the scope of work.  The first element of the scope of work is the labor and materials to construct the building.  The second element of the scope of work is to construct the building within a stated amount of time.  A delay in the schedule is a breach of the contract -- for the Owner, for the contractor, for the subcontractors.

Delay claims are difficult to prove because there are so many variables, so many different entities involved, a lot of educated guesses, and great expense (lawyers and experts).  However, these claims serve practical purposes, aside from litigation and arbitration of these claims:         

III.  Schedule Updates.

Periodic Schedule Updates serve several uses:

Schedule Updates generally show one of three things:  (1) on schedule; (2) behind schedule; or (3) ahead of schedule.  As a result, distribution of schedule updates can be a sensitive issue.  As an initial matter, the general contractor must review the contract requirements.  Many contracts require that periodic schedule updates be published to the owner.  In these instances, the schedule updates must be drafted with care.  It is never wise to ignore bad facts or bad news regarding the schedule until the end of the project.  However, it is also not good practice to overload the owner with information that consists mostly of projections.  A reasonable way to approach schedule updates that are distributed to the owner is to provide summary schedule updates (if allowed by the contract).  If the summary shows a delay, then the general contractor should be prepared to discuss (1) the reasons for the delay; and (2) possible solutions to mitigate the delay.

For additional information, please contact Jack DiNicola at DSU.


Article originally appeared on DiNicola Seligson & Upton (
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