Successful projects and best practice demand that we have programmes! But what kind of programme?

Well, most projects usually have a couple of them. The first is produced by the client’s people. That shows no more than that they are going to spend 18 months getting sorted as to what they actually want, then just 6 months stuck on at the end showing that we will actually be on site.

The second is the Master Build Programme. This is most usually produced at Tender stage by the main contractor. It gives a lot more information; stuff like ground works, foundations, steel frame, cladding, M&E, fit-out, etc., but still is too vague to be of use to man or beast! All that can be said in its favour is that it does give an idea of time-scales and trade skills required for each phase of the project.

The programme that is so often missing on a project is the most important one from the point of view of both project success and best practice; the Detailed Programme to Completion! (DPC) The problem with this is that someone has to sit down and actually think about it! They also, to get it right, have to discuss it with all the sub-contractors involved! Oh! And someone has to pay for the software to do it!

The best

Now the DPC should start at the beginning! It shows every Task, and who has to do it, as it crops up in the order of things. It shows which Tasks are dependent on ones going before and it shows the Critical Path – those that can’t be allowed to drag out without missing the Completion Date!

Get a decent DPC and we have a map showing us where we set off from and where and when we have to arrive! If it is regularly up-dated to show progress on each Task, it shows us when we are wondering off! We can use it to get back on track!

The subbies love having one! It means they know when they are supposed to have men on site and how many of them! The tradesmen love them even more!

They are nearly all on price-work; if they can finish early it means they can get another couple of weeks work in for the year – that will pay for their family holiday!


What happens here is that the guys talk to each other and sort out how they can get their Tasks done even earlier. What so often happens, almost unbelievably, is that the guys, just because they are greedy 🙂 end up actually accelerating the project!

That means more profit for all parties and an even happier Client!

Now the DPC can also serve another function. It can be used as the basis for a Forensic Delay Analysis (FDA), a fourth kind of programme. Funnily enough, if there is a good DPC an FDA is something rarely required! If things have gone badly wrong and an FDA id required, someone is going to have to pick up the bill for an expert to do it and that will set them back at least £25,000 plus posh hotel bills! If there isn’t a decent DPC for him to work from, he’ll have to come up with one retrospectively, the bill for which will be considerably higher than if it had been done properly in-house at the beginning!

So it isn’t just successful projects and best practice that makes DPC’s so important; it is just good business sense to have one from the word “Go!”