How long will it take?….Construction/Design Schedules


Customers want to know what to expect for typical design/construction schedules…. so this is the unfiltered version for small-medium projects. Remember- always get some type of written schedule before signing any construction contract.

So here goes:

measure/due diligence /design / drawings = 1 month-4 months
approvals = 1 month – 3 months depends on complexity
bidding = 1 month
negotiation/contract = 1 month

construction = 3 months -9 months
punchlist/closeout = 1 month

There are many elements that influence the timely delivery of a project: Changes needed to address concealed conditions, design changes, building code changes, budget issues, discontinued products, substitutions, labor shortages, bankruptcy, illnesses etc.

Even for a small project, it is common for a general contractor to have 8-15 subcontractors that perform electrical, plumbing, masonry, excavators, sheetrocking, flooring, painting, HVAC installation, etc. Each sub-contractor has numerous suppliers, all of whom need to work towards a common goal. When just one subcontractor is prevented from completing their work in a rational sequence, it has a ripple effect that is difficult to overcome and get the project back on the original schedule.

And of course, each subcontractor has several projects ongoing- and those may conflict with yours.  It’s that simple.

One method of dealing with the delays is to provide a “liquidated damages” provision in your construction contract.  This usually is a monetary penalty charged per day of lateness, that escalates as the deadline is passed. This arrangement is more common in projects where an Owner may incur additional rents due to lateness or miss seasonal revenue when opening a new store.

On the other hand, lateness has to be proven by a set of agreed parameters so that liquidated damages can be enforced. Why was the builder late? Were the trades affected by weather? Were the trades affected by the Owners indecision to select several finishes? Was there a union strike?

The penalties can also be offset by offering bonuses for early completion….But careful…don’t make the bonus too attractive or corners could be cut and quality may suffer….

rule of thumb : allow 20% time contingency and 10% budget contingency

Good schedule breakdown for 6000sf house