NEC ECC: Cl.31.2 - provisions for float........can it be positive, negative and neutral?

Contractor’s programme for acceptance contains negative float.

Project Manager has rejected the programme on the basis that as it contains negative float, it is unrealistic.

Contractor ascertains "Negative float manifests due to delay. As the Contractor has not delayed the project, terminal float should be maintained between planned Completion date and the Completion date.

Negative float remains within the schedule as multiple compensation events have impacted planned Completion and remain unimplemented.

Further compensation events continue to affect planned Completion, remain unimplemented, and therefore the volume of negative float has increased.

Once the Contractor’s full entitlement has been awarded, negative float will be naturally removed from the schedule"

Is this the correct approach by the Contractor or is the Project Manager correct to continue to reject the programme on this basis? And if so, what practical advise could you offer the Contractor?

If the Contractor is showing negative float they are compressing their programme and effectively accelerating their own works. This is fine if the reason for the delay is of their own making however if as they suggest it is down to CEs then they are shooting themselves in the foot.

The programme should show the CEs delaying planned Completion but the Completion Date stays where it is until a CE has been implemented that moves it. The Contractor is entitled to continue to show the terminal float, it should remain untouched when assessing the time element of a CE, and should only be reduced to absorb the Contractor’s own delays.

Your Contractor is misplaced in its thinking, they should uncompress their programme to show the real impact of the CEs on planned Completion. It may be that they don’t want to show planned Completion after the Completion Date because it would look like they were late, however in the narrative explaining the programme they should attribute this to specific CEs.

The programme always lags behind reality, both parties need to accept this, the delay is incurred first, then liability is established later i.e. 8 weeks to notify CE + 1 week to accept / reject + 3 weeks to submit quotation + 2 weeks to accept / reject = up to 14 weeks after a delay was experienced before the effects are known and shown on the next programme submitted for acceptance!

If the Contractor refuses to correct their programme then yes continue to reject it (as it’s not realistic or practicable) which also gives the PM the right to assess any CEs which is a position most Contractor’s won’t want to put the PM in!

Negative float means a Contractor is exceeding either a Completion Date, Sectional Completion or Key Date milestone. Having negative float is not a reason to reject a programme. The negative float is either Contractor liability, or there is a compensation event working its way through the system but not yet implemented, that might yet move the Completion milestone which will either reduce or lose the negative float.

If you are suggesting that planned Completion was say four weeks before Completion Date , and you were showing a four week terminal float bar between the two, if there was a two week delay due to a CE should you maintain the four week terminal float bar. Logistically I would show the planned Completion moving by two weeks, and then show the terminal float bar of four weeks. This however will now move the terminal float bar of four weeks out two weeks beyond Completion Date, and show as negative two weeks float. What you are saying here is you believe the delay is down to a CE, and once agreed/ implemented the Completion Date will move to the end of the terminal float bar. If there was no solid terminal float bar, the result would be the same as the two week gap after the CE is first added to the programme will increase back to four weeks if it is agreed that the CE moved planned Completion by two weeks.

Terminal float is owned by the Contractor and should put them back the same position after the assessment of the CE as they were before it came along. Negative float is telling the project something they need to know. A contractual milestone is being exceeded. That is either Contractor liability, or there is an unimplemented CE that may yet reduce the negative float or lose it altogether to zero or even a positive number.