Why have a Master Schedule? What should be included in that schedule?

07 March 2017 / By John Manning

In parallel with the development of the budget is the development of the Master Project Schedule. This schedule will outline the goals of the Owner for the project with respect to time. The Owner’s representative should develop various alternative approaches for phasing, sequencing, management and implementation of the project from due diligence through commissioning. This schedule is an outline of the key activities necessary to complete the project. Then based upon review with the Owner, the Owners’ Representative will prepare a final Master Schedule that will detail the overall time related goals for the project. This schedule should be presented in a format that the Owner can comprehend even if it is developed in a sophisticated scheduling program like Primavera P6. It is critical that the Owner’s Representative get acceptance of the time line from the Owner prior to finalizing the Master Schedule.
As details are received from the design team and contractor, the Master Schedule is updated into the overall Project Schedule. The Milestone Schedule is generally detailed in a CPM/Gantt Chart format. A general list of activities that may be included in a Master Schedule is as follows:

1. Pre-Design Phase
a. Finalize Construction Management Plan
b. Issue RFP for Design Professional
c. Finalize Shortlist for Design Professional
d. Conduct Interviews for Design Professional
e. Select Design Professional
f. Negotiate/Finalize Design Professional Contract
g. Select Other Consultants
h. Select Inspection Firm or Agency
i. Site Analysis and Selection
j. Environmental Impact Process
k. Soils Report
l. Finalize Budget
m. Identify Budget
n. Obtain Funding
o. Program Development
p. Define Contracting Strategy

2. Design Phase
a. Complete Schematic Design
b. Perform SD Review
c. Develop SD Estimate
d. SD Value Engineering
e. Complete Design Development
f. Design Development Review
g. Design Development Estimate
h. Design Development Value Engineering
i. Regulatory Agency Reviews
j. Funding Authorizations
k. Constructability Reviews
l. Complete 30% CD
m. 30% CD Estimate
n. 30% CD Value Engineering
o. Complete 30% CD Review
p. Complete 60% CD
q. 60% CD Estimate
r. 60% CD Value Engineering
s. Complete 60% CD Review
t. Complete 90% CD
u. 90% CD Estimate
v. 90% CD Value Engineering
w. Complete 90% CD Review
x. Obtain Permits and Regulatory Reviews
y. Finalize Bid Sets

3. Bid/Award Phase
a. Advertise for Bidders
b. Pre-Qualify Bidders
c. Document Reproduction
d. Bid Package Development
e. Bid Period
f. Issue Addenda
g. Pre-Bid Meeting
h. Bid Opening
i. Bid Evaluation
j. Contract Award/NTP

4. Construction Phase
a. Pre-Construction Meeting
b. Site Development
c. Utilities
d. Structure
e. Exterior Finishes
f. MEP Systems
g. Interior Finishes
h. FF&E
i. Obtain Permits and Other Regulatory Approvals to Occupy
j. Occupancy
k. Punch List and Final Completion

5. Closeout Phase
a. O & M Manuals
b. Client Training
c. Construction Contract Closeout
d. Consultants Contract Closeout

Milestone Schedule Development
The Milestone Schedule may be prepared by the Project Manager and the Scheduler after the Client accepts the Milestone Schedule. The Milestone Schedule highlights the key events of the Master Schedule with their targeted completion dates. From the general list of activities above a sample Milestone Schedule would be:

  • Key Milestone Activities Targeted Completion Date
  • Select Design Consultant
  • Complete Schematic Design
  • Complete Design Development
  • Complete Construction Design
  • Commence Bid Period
  • NTP on Construction Contract
  • Complete Structure
  • Occupancy
  • Final Completion

It is recommended to use the Milestone Schedule to track the status of the project in the monthly updates and in any RFP’s to give a targeted finish date that any and all proposers and bidders are to meet. The means and methods of the design and construction, which would be detailed in a CPM type schedule, should be left to the party that is responsible for providing the service and not forced upon by the Owner’s Representative or the Owner.

About The Author

John Manning

John Manning is the Principal and CEO of KMI International with more than 30 years of global experience in project management of the design and construction processes on resort hotels, parking structures, infrastructure, area development and mixed use. He is a CCM (Certified Construction Manager), PE (Professional Engineer) and a LEED Accredited Professional while serving on the national board of CMAA. He has worked as a project manager for large Owners and Construction Management Firms on projects ranging up to $3 Billion. Mr. Manning also testifies as a forensic expert in state and federal courts.

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