Last edited 24 Feb 2021

Baseline programme

A baseline programme may be prepared by a contractor at the beginning of a project. This is a detailed view of how they will divide the works into activities, the duration of those activities, and logic links to preceding and succeeding activities. This programme should be practicable and realistic, showing when the contractor intends to carry out each part of the works and identifying the resources they intend to use.

Under NEC3 contracts, the contractor’s programme is then submitted to the project manager, and if the project manager accepts it, it becomes the ‘accepted programme’ identified in the contract data.

The contractor’s programme is likely to be updated throughout the course of the works and when accepted by the project manager, that updated programme becomes the new accepted programme.

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

NB The CIOB Planning Protocol 2021 (CIOB PP21), a technical information sheet published by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in February 2021, defines a baseline programme as: ‘A programme typically prepared prior to the commencement of a project, representing a contractor’s planned intention for sequencing the works. This programme is later used as a baseline for measuring the contractor’s actual progress and performance.’

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