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Mid-project Sanity Check For Owners

Saturday, August 02, 2003 03:19 pm

Mid-project Sanity Check For Owners

The mid-point of a project is usually a period of great activity. The trades are staffed with a full workforce. Progress payments are flowing and the project owner has started to see real physical progress. The contractor is forecasting on-time completion and change order negotiations have not been contentious. The project owner - quite understandably - feels that all is well. But is it?

Mid-project is an important time for an owner to take a hard look at whether a job is actually on time and within budget. It may be a last opportunity to implement corrective controls and achieve cost and schedule recovery. This article identifies ten areas that should be examined.

1. Earned Value Progress

Did the contractor meet the contractual start date? What is the elapsed time and how much time is left? What is the percentage of progress payments to date, including retainage? What is the current earned value? Earned value is a measure of the true value of work in place, most often computed as the percentage of completion multiplied by the budget. Assuming a reasonable schedule of values, earned value progress should be consistent with the percentage of elapsed time, factoring in allowable time extensions.

2. Schedule Controls

Is the contractor using a Critical Path Method (CPM) schedule? Is the contractor using weekly look-ahead schedules and are these consistent with the CPM schedules? Are these schedules being submitted to the owner? Have logic changes been made to reflect delays and changes? Has the owner independently verified the forecasted completion date? CPM schedules must be based on quantities of work, durations based on reasonable production rates, and sensible logic. They should be free of unnecessary restraints, bogus activities, and scheduling software trickery. Schedule updates should be based upon measured quantities of in-place work, accurate [...]

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