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Why have a Master Schedule? What should be included in that schedule?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 26, 2017 10:53:00 AM / by John R. Manning, PE, CCM, LEED


In parallel with the development of the budget is the development of the Master Project Schedule. This schedule will outline the goals of the Owner for the project with respect to time.

Project gantt chart.jpeg

The Owner’s representative should develop various alternative approaches for phasing, sequencing, management and implementation of the project from due diligence through commissioning. This schedule is an outline of the key activities necessary to complete the project. Then based upon review with the Owner, the Owners’ Representative will prepare a final Master Schedule that will detail the overall time related goals for the project. This schedule should be presented in a format that the Owner can comprehend even if it is developed in a sophisticated scheduling program like Primavera P6. It is critical that the Owner’s Representative get acceptance of the time line from the Owner prior to finalizing the Master Schedule.

Construction worker planing with 3d buildings in background concept.jpegAs details are received from the design team and contractor, the Master Schedule is updated into the overall Project Schedule. The Milestone Schedule is generally detailed in a CPM/Gantt Chart format. A general list of activities that may be included in a Master Schedule is as follows:



1. Pre-Design Phase

    1. Finalize Construction Management Plan
    2. Issue RFP for Design Professional
    3. Finalize Shortlist for Design Professional
    4. Conduct Interviews for Design Professional
    5. Select Design Professional
    6. Negotiate/Finalize Design Professional Contract
    7. Select Other Consultants
    8. Select Inspection Firm or Agency
    9. Site Analysis and Selection
    10. Environmental Impact Process
    11. Soils Report
    12. Finalize Budget
    13. Identify Budget
    14. Obtain Funding
    15. Program Development
    16. Define Contracting Strategy

 2. Design Phase

    1. Complete Schematic Design
    2. Perform SD Review
    3. Develop SD Estimate
    4. SD Value Engineering
    5. Complete Design Development
    6. Design Development Review
    7. Design Development Estimate
    8. Design Development Value Engineering
    9. Regulatory Agency Reviews
    10. Funding Authorizations
    11. Constructability Reviews
    12. Complete 30% CD
    13. 30% CD Estimate
    14. 30% CD Value Engineering
    15. Complete 30% CD Review
    16. Complete 60% CD
    17. 60% CD Estimate
    18. 60% CD Value Engineering
    19. Complete 60% CD Review
    20. Complete 90% CD
    21. 90% CD Estimate
    22. 90% CD Value Engineering
    23. Complete 90% CD Review
    24. Obtain Permits and Regulatory Reviews
    25. Finalize Bid Sets

 3. Bid/Award Phase

    1. Advertise for Bidders
    2. Pre-Qualify Bidders
    3. Document Reproduction
    4. Bid Package Development
    5. Bid Period
    6. Issue Addenda
    7. Pre-Bid Meeting
    8. Bid Opening
    9. Bid Evaluation
    10. Contract Award/NTP

 4. Construction Phase

    1. Pre-Construction Meeting
    2. Site Development
    3. Utilities
    4. Structure
    5. Exterior Finishes
    6. MEP Systems
    7. Interior Finishes
    8. FF&E
    9. Obtain Permits and Other Regulatory Approvals to Occupy
    10. Occupancy
    11. Punch List and Final Completion

 5. Closeout Phase

    1. O & M Manuals
    2. Client Training
    3. Construction Contract Closeout
    4. Consultants Contract Closeout

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A. Milestone Schedule Development

The Milestone Schedule may be prepared by the Project Manager and the Scheduler after the Client accepts the Milestone Schedule. The Milestone Schedule highlights the key events of the Master Schedule with their targeted completion dates. From the general list of activities above a sample Milestone Schedule would be:

Key Milestone Activities

Targeted Completion Date

Select Design Consultant

<early finish date>

Complete Schematic Design

<early finish date>

Complete Design Development

<early finish date>

Complete Construction Design

<early finish date>

Commence Bid Period

<early finish date>

NTP on Construction Contract

<early finish date>

Complete Structure

<early finish date>


<early finish date>

Final Completion

<early finish date>


It is recommended to use the Milestone Schedule to track the status of the project in the monthly updates and in any RFP’s to give a targeted finish date that any and all proposers and bidders are to meet. The means and methods of the design and construction, which would be detailed in a CPM type schedule, should be left to the party that is responsible for providing the service and not forced upon by the Owner’s Representative or the Owner.

Topics: Owner's Representative, Trouble Project Turnaround, Construction, Project Management