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78R-13: Original Baseline Schedule Review - As Applied in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction

78R-13: Original Baseline Schedule Review - As Applied in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction
AACE International, October 23, 2014

Price: $0 (Member) / $100 (Non-Member)


This recommended practice (RP) for baseline schedule review addresses two aspects of the schedule development process. First, it is intended to provide guidelines for the engineering, procurement, and construction scheduler to create a professional, useable baseline critical path method (CPM) project schedule by making him/her aware of the criteria by which the schedule is to be reviewed. Second, and the focus of this RP, it provides guidelines for the reviewing scheduler to evaluate that baseline schedule for acceptance by the owner or client. This recommended practice is associated with Section 7.2, Schedule Planning and Development, of the Total Cost Management (TCM) Framework.[10]

The accepted initial schedule is often referred to as the baseline schedule. The baseline schedule establishes the activity dates (and possibly budgeted costs) that forms the basis of the original project execution plan. It will be used to compare the original planned dates, durations, logic sequence, and costs against the actual as-built progress. This usage of the term, baseline schedule, in this RP is different from the same term used by several software companies to indicate any saved copy of a CPM schedule or its updates.

This recommended practice is to assist both the creator of the baseline schedule (scheduler) and the person (reviewer) who receives the submitted schedule and reviews it for acceptability on behalf of the owner or client. It may also assist owners in the development of their scheduling specifications. The use of the term owner also includes the work performed by their agents such as contractors, subcontractors, or a project manager acting as the owner’s representative.

Most contracts require the contractor to submit a baseline schedule. The baseline schedule is a model of the contractor’s project execution plan, and is the standard by which project performance is measured.[11] The schedule should be a reflection of the contractor’s intent to achieve project completion while integrating all contractual scope and requirements. For the purposes of this RP it is assumed that the schedule is originally created and updated by the contractor, however, the guidelines may apply to other contractual relationships. The baseline schedule serves as a common basis for assessment of project progress and performance.

Reaching agreement on a baseline schedule is often difficult, frequently requiring team effort, negotiation, and perseverance. During the initial stages of developing the baseline schedule, meetings between the contractor and the owner to discuss expectations and requirements can go a long way towards assuring timely completion, review and acceptance of a useful and effective baseline schedule. A lack of timely agreement on the acceptance of a baseline schedule can result in confusion, disagreements, loss of productivity, extra work, and un-resolved issues that may afterward lead to claims or disputes. It is in the best interests of all parties to achieve an accepted baseline schedule in a timely manner.

This recommended practice is intended to address the evaluation of critical path method (CPM) original baseline schedules. This RP does not apply to a revised baseline plan or to a schedule update review where project progress/status is of primary concern.

The focus of a baseline review is on the overall quality and completeness of the original project schedule and overall plan; it is not an assessment of current progress or subsequent project schedule changes. A baseline schedule review focuses on the following issues that are not normally considered in a schedule update review:
• Inclusion of the entire project scope.
• Sequence and work flow.
• Constructability.
• Timing and phasing.
• Adherence to legal and contractual requirements.
• Unambiguous and clear descriptions of the work.
• Resource usage and balance.
• Level of detail.
• Design and coding of activities and project organization [i.e. organizational breakdown structure (OBS) and work breakdown structure (WBS)].
• Highlighting key or critical areas of risk

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