NEC ECC: 31.3 – Programme Acceptance - level of detail

Is level of detail held within a programme a reason to reject under NEC3? On my project we have a Contract Programme which we update monthly, this programme is at a level of detail that we deem adequate to manage the project and assess change against.

The Client however keeps rejecting the programme for not having enough detail, this is surely not in line with NEC3 as a competent contractor we decide what level of detail is required. Furthermore if this is a reason, where does it stop, can a malicious client use this as an excuse for non-acceptance, especially when they try and tie this to with-holding payments?

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Difficult one to answer. The contract does not specifically dictate what is a reasonable level of detail - it just says you have to show the order and timing of the works. You should want it to a reasonable level of detail to help you manage the works and for you to be able to demonstrate the effects of compensation events. If they are rejecting the programme, they need to state the reasons why in relation to the four reasons within 31.3.

What I would recommend here is to get round the table and see actually what they are looking for that you have not given them. When I was in the role of a planner I would (with in reason) do what ever it took to get the programme accepted. If that meant doing something I did not 100% believed doing I would still do it anyway if it wasn’t too much work and was not detrimental to the programme as a management tool. Sometimes you will spend longer arguing why you shouldn’t do something than it would actually take to do.

Under NEC4 now, they clearly have to state the reasons why they are not accepting in sufficient detail that allows the Contractor to correct the submission. That is the same intent in NEC3 but just written in plainer language in NEC4.

It should be in their interest to have a regular Accepted Programme as well - so this should not be a game to find any reason to reject.

Key message here is talk to each other and try to come to a mutual agreement as to what would be a suitable level of detail to meet both Parties requirements.