What ICS-Specifications Is All About

ICS-Specifications and ICS-Scoring are paired in a push-pull effort relationship that collectively improves the overall quality and effectiveness of Project Time Management products and services across the entire construction spectrum. ICS-Specifications (the push) raises the bar when it comes to what Owners require of a Contractor’s Construction PTM effort. Then, ICS-Scoring (the pull) grades those efforts in real time, ensuring that the higher bar is cleared.

ICS-Specifications establishes performance thresholds to be attained by the Project Schedule and the Construction PTM effort. In partnership, ICS-Scoring confirms Contractor compliance. This one-two punch is not just good for the Owner; it also benefits the Contractor. General Contractors and Construction Managers will have a competitive advantage over their competitors when they demonstrate that Construction PTM practices are in accordance with the ICS-Compendium.

Those who still schedule using old, ineffective ways will lose out, both on securing new work, and being profitable on the contracts they do land. And those who continue to copy/paste inappropriate Scheduling Specs will end up with projects poorly run. Using ICS-Specifications proprietary software, SchedSpec, Owners can draft Scheduling Specifications that will demand the appropriate level of functionality from the Project Schedule.

Why ICS-Specifications Was Created

By definition, each Project is unique. How then can a standard Scheduling Specification be written that applies to “most projects most of the time?” Not only are construction projects diverse in type, size, location, cost, deadlines, resources, and more, there is overlapping diversity in possible Project Schedule uses.

ICS-Research has identified upwards of two dozen different uses for the common Project Schedule. If the purpose of a Scheduling Specification is to establish a Project Schedule’s success criteria, how can a “boilerplate” set of requirements work equally well for differing schedule uses? Often, what would be too much detail in one Schedule might be inadequate detail in another.

The quagmire is understandable. Those who draft the General Conditions in construction contracts rarely have any practical understanding of what is involved in Construction PTM. Many who draft Scheduling Specifications work in a home office environment, far from the field of action. Quite a few have never served as a Project Manager. Even fewer have worked in Project Controls. And so, out of desperation, they simple copy/paste a Scheduling Spec from a previous contract.

The world of Construction PTM has been grappling with the challenge of improving the quality of Scheduling Specifications for quite some time. To date, however, the only response under consideration is development of a “standard spec.” ICS-Specifications was tasked with addressing this problem. The only practical solution it could come up with was to develop a software program that would generate a unique Scheduling Spec for each unique construction project.

SchedSpec, now in development, is an interactive software program that poses the user with a series of questions. As questions are answered, the program slowly drafts a legally-binding document that not only will demand the very best Project Schedule for your project, it will also have legal teeth!

Whom ICS-Specifications Is Intended to Serve

SchedSpec is intended for use by Owners, Design Professionals, Construction Managers, Contract Managers, or anyone else who is tasked with drafting the contract’s Scheduling Specification.

One obvious beneficiary of SchedSpec is the individual tasked with writing the Scheduling Specifications. But the Project Team is also a beneficiary, as SchedSpec leads to better Project Schedules and better Construction PTM, which in turn lead to more successful projects.

But the greatest beneficiary of SchedSpec is the Construction PTM practitioner who no longer has to struggle to do the impossible: produce quality products that require performance prohibited by Scheduling Specs written by those who didn’t know what they were requiring.

How ICS-Specifications Is Organized and Functions

SchedSpec doesn’t just formalize the wishes of its user in response to answered questions. Beyond this, all Scheduling Specifications produced by SchedSpec will also contain certain “boilerplate” components. While any clauses in the Scheduling Spec can be overridden by the user, the boilerplate language will be included by default.

As example of boilerplate requirements pertains to what must be included in the Contractor’s Baseline Schedule submittal. In addition to the typical elements – electronic copy of the schedule, various printouts, a narrative, etc. — the proposed Baseline Schedule submittal must include an ICS-Score. A proposed Baseline Schedule must earn a passing score to be accepted by the Owner.

Furthermore, component scores provided by ICS-Scoring would guide owners and contractors in identifying areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement during the Schedule Development phase. Later on, during Project Execution, Schedule Performance can be compared to Scheduling Specification thresholds.