Best Scheduling Practices & Roles of Contractor & Owner Schedulers

James G. Zack, Jr.

James G. Zack, Jr.

Jim is the Principal, James Zack Consulting, LLC and Senior Advisor, Ankura Construction Forum™. The Forum strives to be the construction industry’s resource for thought leadership and best practices on avoidance and resolution of construction project disputes globally. Formerly he was the Executive Director of the Navigant...
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120 Mins
James G. Zack, Jr.

Purpose, Importance, and Necessity of Project Schedules

The intended purpose of scheduling on a construction project is to help ensure that all activities necessary to complete the work in accordance with the requirements of the contract documents are properly planned, staffed, coordinated, and executed in an orderly and expeditious manner. Schedules not only assist in allowing proper coordination of the work, but they also contribute to the owner’s decision making with respect to the evaluation of the contractor’s payment applications, proposed changes to the contract, and time extensions.

There is a perceived risk involved with owners requiring contractors to submit schedules and reviewing and accepting them. The risk is that the owner accepts a schedule and agrees to something that is later used as the basis of a claim. However, the downside risk of not requiring construction schedules is that the project plan is not communicated to all stakeholders and the owner is left with no way to effectively measure progress, check on coordination, or verify the timing of its own responsibilities required to complete the work. Without a clearly articulated scheduling specification in the contract documents, proper project scheduling may be dispensed with as a way of saving costs.  Thus, most experienced owners recognize that the risk of not requiring comprehensive project schedules far outweighs the risk of requiring, reviewing, and accepting contractor project schedules.

Owners must spend the time necessary during the design phase to draft a scheduling specification commensurate with the size, detail, and complexity of the project as well as the level of involvement and control the owner wants to exercise on the project. Owners should also be mindful that the scheduling requirements do not become so burdensome that the schedule takes on a life of its own, becomes unmanageable, or is disconnected from the contractor’s actual management of the project. The webinar’s goal is to demonstrate the importance of a detailed project schedule specification in a construction contract and identify the key components that can be used by both parties for better project control, decision making and, if necessary, resolution of claims.

What is the role of a project scheduler? Many project owners assume their schedulers are supposed to be critics of all contractor schedule submittals to ensure that such schedule submittals do not document any owner caused delay. Owner representatives (design professionals and construction managers) often assume that their schedulers should review schedule submittals from the perspective of the owner. Contractor project management teams frequently deal with schedulers in a similar manner as they deal with superintendents. Most contractors assume that their schedulers are recorders of project history, forecasters of future impacts when preparing change orders and/or claims specialists when preparing delay claims. They think of project schedulers as being “in charge of” the scheduling activity. All too many schedulers think of the project scheduler as “their schedule”. This webinar identifies what a schedule is; what a scheduler should be; whose schedule it is; and why many project schedules fail. The webinar also explores the role of a competent project scheduler during the planning, scheduling, closeout, and forensic scheduling phases of a project.

Webinar Objectives

  • Learn more about the purpose, importance, and necessity of project schedules.  
  • Be exposed to what most standard contract schedule specifications are missing and how such missing specification requirements can adversely impact projects.
  • Understand key activities and considerations related to project schedule specifications; and,
  • Listen to a discussion of project realities concerning project suggestions and practical, effective solutions to prevent such problems.
  • Have a better understanding of the roles a competent owner scheduler must fill and how.
  • Be exposed to the challenges a competent scheduler face.
  • Learn the details a project scheduler must master.
  • Understand the non-technical skills a scheduler must employ to be effective.

Webinar Agenda

  • What risks does an owner incur when reviewing and accepting or approving a contractor’s schedule? 
  • How can an owner defend against schedule games?
  • Why should owners draft a scheduling specification for each project?  Isn’t a standard “off the shelf” specification adequate?
  • What are the key components owners and contractors can employ for better project control, decision making, and time extension requests?
  • What role the owner should expect to play in the development and execution of project schedules.
  • Whose schedule is it?
  • Why do project schedules fail?
  • What is the role of project schedulers in the planning phase?
  • The roles of schedulers in
    • Schedule planning and development
    • Schedule management and control
    • Schedule coordination and communication
    • Schedule change management
    • Schedule reports and deliverable, and
    • Project closeout
  • Are there some non-technical skills for schedulers?
  • Conclusion
  • Questions & Answers

Who Should Attend

  • Owners
  • Contractors 
  • Construction Executives
  • Subcontractors
  • Design professionals 
  • Construction managers
To access this webinar, kindly reach out to our customer support team at

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