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Why Don’t Contractors Like to Share CPM Schedules?

Many contractors cringe at the thought of sharing the construction schedule with owners. I am not talking about the .pdf file that is shared monthly in the progress reports —the one that is so carefully formatted, often times hiding the total float column and logic. I am talking about the native file —the file generated from the actual scheduling program for which it is generated. I have seen this a lot lately in my recent undertaking with SmartPM, which begs the question, why is that?

The reality is, from the owner’s perspective, the CPM schedule helps them understand where projects are on the construction timeline without getting lost in confusing construction jargon —and it is very important to the owners to know for sure when the project will get done. For the contractor, it can be time-consuming, embarrassing (in the case of delays), overbearing, and at times unfair to the contractor.

3 Common Reasons Why Contractors Don’t Like to Share

#1: Baseline Schedule Quality is not so good

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the construction industry, as a whole, is lacking in the schedule generation department. It is my firm opinion that if a schedule is created without much thought going into logic, durations, and resource constraints, then, the project is doomed from the get go. Far too often, very little thought goes into these baseline schedules, this serving as what the Owner has been told is the “plan” —so when the plan doesn’t work out, obviously the owner is going to go back to the baseline schedule and start measuring variances.

#2: The Competitive Bidding Process

Because of the competitive bidding process, contractors are essentially always starting behind the eight ball when they sign the contract, and margins are obviously very thin. So, when a project inevitably is delayed and over budget, the fault then falls on the team at the site. It is natural for the site team to think of all the reasons it wasn’t their fault, and they (themselves) begin to believe that as truth, particularly because they have busted their butts on the site. The reality is, to truly understand “what happened”, it takes much more than revisiting your memory and forming biased opinions. It takes an in depth analysis of project schedules - and schedules tell a story of their own - usually different from the Contractors story, and Contractors know this.

#3: Fear it will be used against them

The above two issues, along with some others, have ultimately resulted in an industry that is very litigious. And in a litigation, it is the data that does the talking. Everyone knows that all of the best progress, performance & impact data is embedded in the schedule. The reality is that when owners are asking for the schedule from a contractor, the contractor immediately believes the owner is looking for a reason to blame the contractor. This all begins to impact trust on the job, resulting in even more problems.

I personally believe visibility is key in Construction, and its really too bad with-holding of schedule information is such a problem. I have studied this project data and know from experience that if done proactively and with an open mind - risk goes down, profits go up, and relationships get stronger. For this reason, SmartPM has built a fully automated construction project intelligence solution that analyzes every bit of data embedded in the schedule. It picks up where regular PM software ends. Schedule a demo with us today and learn how we can help you take your business to the next level.

Author: Michael Pink

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