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Construction Scheduling: Create Order from Chaos with This One Tip

A schedule that merely complies with contract requirements may not be enough. Our goal for our CEI partners is to help you get the most out of schedules to lead successful projects for owners.

Since construction contracts often require a baseline schedule - the initial plan to show on-time project completion - we assume you want to benefit from insights it offers from a forecasting perspective.

It’s our job to ensure a coordinated construction activities plan. If not provided up front, we strongly recommend you ask the contractor for a schedule narrative.

The narrative “tells the story” and functions as the supplemental detail of what the schedule contains. Simply put, it’s the basis of the schedule that helps us understand the contractor’s fundamental approach and provides the background behind possible alternatives presented. However, a contractor may say that they won’t submit a narrative if it’s not contractually required.

When you don’t receive a narrative, you lose the “guts” of the schedule. Sometimes the contract doesn’t explicitly require a narrative, but our experience shows that contractors who take the time to prepare one not only ensure the schedule is an effective planning device, but also tend to avoid costly rework and decision delays due to schedule ambiguities.

From a contract compliance perspective, we tend to have more comments and seek more clarifications from the contractor who doesn’t submit a narrative, which may necessitate a resubmittal and extend/delay the timeline to get the Baseline in place. In a worst-case scenario, this can strain the relationship between you and the contractor right off the bat, which can set a negative tone for the project and interfere with future project success.

So, emphasize the shared value of the schedule – guiding you and the contractor alike along a shared path – explaining how any upfront energy spent in planning avoids confusion, frustration, and/or delay later.

Here at Foresight, we focus on how the schedule can be a successful guiding tool for your CEI project. Having a narrative helps you understand how the schedule was built to ensure that the schedule can lead the project, rather than the project lead the schedule.

Every project has challenges. Some can break your budget or schedule. We're Foresight. We use innovation and practical expertise to proactively address challenges before they occur, delivering project success.


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