Schedule definition is essential to an orderly design process. For many projects the Client’s schedule is the most important element of the contract and staying on the schedule takes precedence over almost everything else. The following are considerations regarding developing the contract Schedule:
- Anticipated Notice to Proceed (NTP) date – Unfortunately, NTP on many projects does not occur when anticipated. This causes many problems for the Consultant who has scheduled staff and resources to begin on the project on a certain date. When NTP is delayed, the resulting cost and inefficiency to the Consultant may be recoverable from the Client, but only if the anticipated NTP date is documented in the contract.
- Time allowed for each phase – For multiple phased projects, this time can be expressed in calendar days or working days. Calendar days are simpler as there is no question about how long that is. Working days must be accompanied by a definition such as “Monday through Friday except for Federal Holidays” or whatever definition can be agreed upon.
- Define when work on the next phase can begin – Does the Client want the Consultant to keep working while the submittal is being reviewed (a “progress review”)? Or, is the Consultant to stop work until comments are received and resolved (a “pens-down review”)? It can be either but it should be specified in the contract.
- Define how long the Client has to review submittals.
- Consider requiring written approval from Client after each phase prior to proceeding to next phase.
- Seek agreement that delay caused by extended review will extend completion date.
- Define overall completion date.
- Provide some graphic presentation that makes understanding the schedule clear to all parties.