Last edited 22 Mar 2019

Accepted programme

Within the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), the ‘accepted programme’, is identified within the Contract Data.

The contractor prepares a programme for the works, which is then submitted to the project manager for their approval. If it is approved, this becomes the 'accepted programme'. The programme should be practicable and realistic, showing when the contractor intends to carry out each part of the works and identifying the resource they intend to use. Ref. NEC Dictionary.

The contract may also require that a revised programme is prepared regularly, setting out the sequence of activities, progress, and the effect of compensation events. This must then be submitted to the project manager, and if accepted, this becomes the accepted programme, sometimes referred to as the updated programme. The final updated programme will show the as-built programme.

Within the ECC, the ‘activity schedule’ allocates a price to each activity undertaken during the works. This simplifies the administration of the interim payment process. The accepted programme shows how the activities on the activity schedule are programmed. The accepted programme and the activity schedule need not show exactly the same activities, but there should be correlation between them, and they should be kept up to date.

Without an accepted programme the contract cannot be administered properly. Under such circumstances, 25% of payments can be withheld, and it is not possible to assess compensation events.

Accepting the programme does not discharge the contractor of any responsibility, it simply accepts that the programme is realistic and that it can be used to assess future changes. If the programme is not accepted by the project manager, reasons for not accepting it must be given.

Reasons might include:

  • It is not practical.
  • It does not show required information.
  • It does not properly represent the actual programme for activities.
  • It does not show the full works.

Failure to accept or reject a programme may constitute a compensation event.

NEC4 introduces the new concept of ‘treated acceptance’, by which the project manager has a specified period of time to notify the contractor whether the programme has been accepted or not. If they fail to notify the contractor within this period, the programme is deemed to be accepted.

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