The NEC3 contracts require regular programme submissions, reviews and acceptance/rejection with 4 reasons allowed for a rejection:
the Contractor's plans which it shows are not practicable,
it does not show the information which this contract requires,
it does not represent the Contractor's plans realistically or
it does not comply with the Works Information.
** Caveat - ALWAYS check the Z Clauses for amendments to wording.
Some of these reasons are more open to interpretation that others however there should always be some dialogue to resolve a rejected programme.
Programme rejection can be frustrating but its how you deal with the issue that really matters. I’ve seen some people take it personally, planners spend a lot of time on a programme so it can be a bitter pill to swallow when it gets rejected. In my experience there can often an underlying reason for a rejection, this could be ongoing commercial disparities between the parties or more often a misunderstanding of what acceptance means.
Accepting a programme that has an element of an extension of time in it does not mean the time has been formally awarded. Accepting a programme means that you are in agreement that the plan is deliverable and that it is the contractors intentions to deliver. It also means that you are happy that the information supplied satisfies all of the requirements of the contract.
An accepted programme is not the get out of jail free card some preserve it to be.
Accepted programmes have benefits to all parties as they are used for the assessment of change. If the last accepted programme is too far disconnected from the current situation then how can either party accurately assess and agree a change… This is where more issues start to arise.
When your at a point where more issues are being raised than closed your in a difficult position, either the project needs additional resource to come in and start resolving the issues or they all pile up and get worked through when possible (sometimes months or longer after being raised).
Never take a programme rejection personally, instead its best to understand the reason for the rejection. If detailed comments have been provided then collaboratively work through these and agree the action. Once actioned the programme could then be resubmitted and accepted. Sounds easy right but in practice its not always this easy. This normally means there is an underlying issue behind the rejection.
I’ve worked on some projects where the client has been pretty open and said that they won’t ever be accepting a programme. In the face of ignorance the only thing you can do is to administer the contract as it should be, work through the rejection comments (if you get any) and always respond to a rejection with resolution.
We have a great track record of working on projects which have historically had a high rate of programme rejections and working through the real issues to obtain acceptance. This increases the ability to accurately demonstrate change and ultimately increases the likelihood of seeking additional agreements.
If you would like a programme review prior to submission or to discuss any acceptance issues on your projects then please get in touch.
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