Article #567 For Capital Construction Projects’ Contracts with the Time is of Essence Clause, Why Associating Project Schedule Activities with Business Processes Become a Must and Not a Choice?

Whether a contract agreement had explicitly stated the clause of “Time is of Essence” or not, it is a common practice in delivering capital construction projects to request all parties involved, and in particular, Contractors, to take all necessary measures including the adding of more resources to avoid project delays. Nevertheless, for contracts that clearly states the “time is of the essence” clause, then a delay that breaches such a clause will most likely be considered a material breach of contract and the Project Owner might use to terminate the Contractor’s contract.

Accordingly, it is very important that when it comes to reporting the status of business processes that could have an impact on completing the project’s milestone dates, to include the project schedule activity that could be impacted if any transaction of those business processes was delayed. The project schedule is what the Contractor will create to detail the activities needed to deliver the project’s scope of work incorporating to the contract’s set milestone dates. Example of those schedule-sensitive business processes include Request for Information (RFI), all types of material, shop drawings and technical Submittals, Permits to Work, Work Inspection Request (WIR), Meeting Minutes Business Items, Site Access Requests, Interface Agreements, No Objection Certificates (NOC) among others.

Therefore, it is a must requirement that the template for those business processes include a field to associate each transaction with its relevant project schedule activity. This will be the activity that could be delayed if the transaction closure was delayed. Usually, the activities to be associated with each transaction need to be from the current updated project schedule to reflect the current start and finish dates of those activities. For construction projects, usually the project’s baseline schedule and subsequent progress updates are done using Primavera P6 scheduling tool.

By having the project schedule activity associated with each transaction of those time-sensitive business processes, the reports or the registers for those business processes can be designed to have the project schedule activity as one of the fields to be reported on. This will enable creating calculated fields to show if the closure of each business process transactions was done before the due start date of the associated activity or not. The report will provide real-time alerts of all business process transactions that could delay the project and the party accountable for the delay. The report shown is an example of a report that lists transactions of all time-sensitive business processes to identify those transactions that could have impacted the project’s completion milestone dates.

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Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution like PMWeb which enables digitizing all business processes needed to deliver capital construction project as well as enable importing all project schedule versions and make those activities available to be associated with the business processes will fulfil this requirement. PMWeb schedule module allows importing project schedules versions and make the activities available for business processes. The import function allows importing schedules created in Primavera P6 as well as MS Project. The user can select if the imported schedule to be set as the project schedule.

The schedule import function will automatically create a selection list titled “Tasks” for which it can be used in any business process managed in PMWeb. Most of PMWeb ready-to-use business processes that are time sensitive, will have the task field available by default. Those include the business processes of Request for Information (RFI), meeting minutes business items, daily reports, cost estimates, budget, interim progress invoices, timesheets, stage gates and others.

For other business processes created using PMWeb Custom Form Builder, the tasks field will be one of the many list fields that are available to be embedded in the template. By adding this field to any of the customized business process templates, the PMWeb user will able to select the project schedule activity to be associated with the transaction. Similar to the tasks list available in the out of the box business templates, each project schedule task will include the task’s current start and finish dates.

Similar to all other business processes managed in PMWeb, supportive documents that are usually associated or required for each business process transaction can be attached to the template. It is highly recommended to add details to each attached document to better explain to the reader what is being attached and viewed. In addition, links to other relevant records of other business processes managed in PMWeb can be also linked to the reported progress.

It is highly recommended that all those supportive documents, regardless of their type or source, get uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb allows creating folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to store hardcopies of those documents.

To ensure that the submit, review and approve dates of each business process transaction submission are captured, a workflow will be assigned to each business process. The assigned workflow will map the submit, review and approve tasks, role or roles assigned to each task, task duration, task type and actions available for task. In addition, the workflow could be designed to include conditions to enforce the approval authority levels as defined in the Delegation of Authority (DoA) matrix.

When a business process transaction is initiated, the workflow tab available on the relevant template will capture the planned review and approve workflow tasks for each transaction as well as the actual history of those review and approval tasks. The captured workflow data will include the actual action data and time, done by who, action taken, comments made and whether team input was requested.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and shopping malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 550 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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