What are the most crucial Construction Programme Best Practices?


March 11

How to prepare a construction programme that works

A good construction programme is essential for the control mechanism of any construction project. Here we highlight the important tips in the form of a checklist that covers all the important elements to consider while preparing a construction programme that will yield positive outcomes.

In order for the construction owners to appropriately monitor progress, the contractor should submit programmes showing the sequence, method, and timing proposed for the execution of works and against which actual and forecast progress of the works can be monitored and assessed. 

Such programmes shall include the Works Programme (and the more detailed programmes to be extracted therefrom), Price Time Curves, and all other programmes that are identified in the particular specification or as instructed by the project manager of the employer.

12 critical elements of the work programme which you should never miss

    • Starting date, access dates, key dates and completion dates are the most important elements of the construction works programme to verify it with the contract documents to get it right.

    • Time schedule available in a format that can be interrogated (Primavera P6 format provided, or other agreed software)

    • The order and timing of the operations that the Contractor plans to provide the works.

    • The order and timing of the work of the employer and other contractors as last agreed with them by the contractor as stated in the works information.

    • The dates when the contractor plans to meet each condition stated for the key dates and to complete other work needed to allow the employer and other contractors to do their work.

    • Access and availability dates along with the dates of employers’ acceptances.

    • programme divided into sufficient activities to cover the scope of works defined in the particular specification where each activity should be less than either 28 days or the frequency of the reporting whichever is lesser (except manufacturing activities).

    • Key dates and milestone dates should be clearly indicated.

    • Level of resource in tabular and/or histogram format provided with the submitted programme.

    • Other critical dates indicated (such as power-on dates, expected statutory submissions, inspection/approval dates, etc.)

    • All principal submissions required under the contract identified (such as quality plans, safety plans, programmes, method statements, design documents and other deliverables)

    • Interface dates as per interfacing schedule indicated.

“Keep your schedule as simple as possible; thus enter the minimum amount of information into your schedule that is required to meet management and reporting needs, which in turn will make the schedule simpler to create, change and update.”

Paul Harris, Director, Eastwood Harris Pty Ltd

What to include with your works programme submission?

Your Works Programme should be accompanied with the following information:

    • Cross-referenced to accompanying method statements (or previously submitted method statement)

    • Programme narrative provided as per expectations laid out in the contract specification. Usually, this includes an explanation of cycle times and work sequences, deployment of labour and contractor’s equipment, production rates in identifying durations, breakdown of labour requirements by trade, leads and lags in logic, schedules of quantities used in developing the programme and shifts assumed etc.

    • Analysis report identifies all activities and events that are critical or have negative float (or have very nominal positive float), and shall assess the risk of any impact on the programme and on the achievement of key dates. The contractor shall identify all the steps being taken to minimise such risks.

    • Programme narrative cross-referenced to mobilisation and logistics plan.

    • Price Line Curve: It shall be derived from the pricing document and the works programme should show in graphical and tabular form the anticipated cumulative price of work done over time as a percentage of each cost centre value.

How to organise your works rogramme?

When organising your works programme for systematic work assessment and progress reporting, consider following steps below. 

First, you should indicate the activity duration, early and late dates schedules, and total float in the programme bar chart. This will help you to see the critical path and the slack time of each activity. 

Use discrete and understandable activity descriptions that clearly define the scope and deliverables of each activity. Then, you should organise the activity in a logical work breakdown structure that includes work phases, and code each activity to indicate the relevant cost centre, phase of the work, area, facility, or location, and workgroup responsible for the activity. This will help you to group and filter the activities according to different criteria. 

Finally, you should complete the programme setup with appropriate layouts, filters, etc. (such as resource histograms) that will help you to display and analyse the programme in different ways.

Planning Best Practices while making a complex construction Programme – Do’s and Don’ts

“First and foremost, a programme is a way of communicating the project plan. The programme is, therefore, a dynamic management tool that should be updated as the project plan changes over the life of the project and re-communicated to the project stakeholders to facilitate effective decision making.”

Adam Zantis (BBCM, JD) Director, Zancon

From our experience we consider below points as the planning best practices for construction works programme,

    • A reasonable number of activities provided and without confusing programme logics.

    • Each activity with a unique description without confusion to others.

    • Constraints – the programme should have no mandatory constraints and minimum use of other constraints.

    • No out of sequence activities or broken logic is a big no-no.

    • Use of excessive long leads/lags is not recommended.

    • Use of negative lags is not recommended.

    • Use of start to finish links is not recommended.

    • Links to/from summary taskbars (or level of effort activity) is not recommended.

    • Full end to end logics (no un-linked activities except start and finish activity).

    • Programme should be compliant with relevant activity calendar and week numbering conventions.

    • Programme should be loaded with key resource items and monetary values as per the tendering line items to match the cost code values in the tender.

    • Except for manufacturing works, an activity that exceeds 4 weeks in duration has to be divided into further sub-activities.

    • Always identify time constraints, resource constraints and time risk allowance, if any.

It is guaranteed that if you follow even 90% of the above mentioned items as a thorough checklist you will definitely get your programme approved from the employer with some minor comments if any. If you want to improve programme management even more, get in touch with us for project controls consultancy

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