Now here’s an interesting thing to Blog on about – I’m not even sure what it means! Suppose, then, the starting point is to sort that out!

Most – well some anyway – of the professional bodies have their 7-point little list of stages for a construction project. That includes about 18 months from someone getting an idea to us starting on site. This is taken up by them Architects with their Clients, Consultants and the Local Authority people dragging it out trying to make up their minds about what is wanted. Once they’ve decided and let us get started on it they want us to build it for them in 6 months!

Good Job We’re Cleverer Than That Lot, Isn’t It? 

So the Main Contractor, at Tender stage, came up with a Master Build Programme (MBP). Ha! This is what I’ve decided Construction Phase Plans are about; build programmes!

This MBP – throw it in the bin!

It was only ever put together to convince someone on the client-side that whoever was tendering knew what they were talking about.

The intended recipients probably didn’t have enough construction knowledge to realise what a quick codge-up it was!

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If this is all the site management team and subbies have to work with, believe me, that project is in trouble before it starts! The voice of experience there; I’ve had too many project turnaround contracts where I’ve seen just that!

So, the most important things on any construction site are the tools in the hands of the skilled trades. The second most important is a Detailed Programme to Completion (DPC)! That will run something like this:-

  1. Set up site.

  2. Dig holes in the ground and flop some concrete into them to make foundations.

  3. Get utilities in some trenches and fill those holes in.

  4. Stick a structure on top of the concrete.

  5. Make it weather tight  by putting a roof on top and some windows and doors in.

  6. Build the internal walls.

  7. First, second, final fix services.

  8. Lay floor coverings.

  9. Fit out sanitary areas.

  10. Get it all signed off.

  11. Hand over to the client.

The problem is that under those headings there will be a few more detailed Tasks!

For quite a modest commercial construction project the number of Tasks on a decent DPC will run to something like 20-60,000!

And there’s the rub! We’re into spending money!

There are very few people around who are sufficiently capable Planners to be able to do this for you properly! We don’t come cheap! Then more cash has to be spent on the software for everyone to be able to keep their finger on the pulse of progress. Not cheap either. Oh, dear, we’d better have a look at the advantages of having that decent DPC then, hadn’t we?

Well, someone has checked on procurement periods for all the labour and materials that could be critical, so they get ordered in time without holding work up. Then the subbies have all been dragged into it and the DPC reflects what they believe they can do in the given time. With them it has also been sorted out who has to do what and when. Lastly, someone competent checks on the progress of every Task at least once a week so you’ll know if things are slipping and you can find a way to make up the lost time! The end result? You finish on time and to budget!

Now let’s look at the cost of not having that DPC, shall we? You’ve finished late and over budget. Extended site overheads will have pushed costs up if nothing else has.

Someone is Going To Get Walloped With LAD Costs

Something has to be done about that! So you have to take on one of the very rare people capable of doing a Forensic Delay Analysis (FDA)  for you so you can try and blame someone else! No DPC for them to start working from? They have to start by coming up with one compiled retrospectively from what records are available. They have to work out the FDA from that. Great job; love it!

Looking at About £40,000 in My Bank Account!

Even after that expenditure you might still be the ones to get hammered by LAD. What shall we say; 2 months delay at £250,000 a month? That’s over £1/2 million down the drain because you didn’t invest in a decent DPC to begin with!

Next up we discuss construction phase health and safety plan in detail!