Blog Title

Published June 2021, Updated April 2023

USACE SCHEDULE NARRATIVES: 

A Breakdown of the Requirements

Published May 2021, Updated November 2022

Check out our Schedule Narrative Template Bundle, which includes 3 professionally designed and formatted schedule narrative template files. All fully editable as word documents.

In this article, we’re discussing schedule narratives for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) projects and breaking down the requirements.


The construction contractor’s schedule narrative communicates the context behind the schedule’s data. The narrative informs project stakeholders so everyone has the same understanding of project challenges and potential workarounds.


Schedule narratives fail to communicate this context when they are too general, withhold information that should be included, or don’t translate the data-heavy schedule information into a narrative form that can be easily understood and digested.


The objective of the schedule narrative is to communicate to the government the contractor’s thorough analysis of schedule output.


In the sections below, we’ll be discussing the specific narrative requirements from the standard UFGS 01 32 01.00 10 scheduling specification:


  • When the Narrative is Submitted
  • Work Scheduled in the Next Update
  • Top Two Critical Paths
  • Current and Anticipated Problem Areas
  • Activities not Started
  • Schedule Changes
  • Out-of-Sequence Work

The first narrative requirement is to identify and discuss the work scheduled to start in the next update period.

Work Scheduled in the Next Update

Schedule activities show up as out-of-sequence when they took place out of order and the logic wasn’t updated.


Another way to think about out-of-sequence conditions for the purposes of the narrative – what was the plan before, what is it now, and why did it change?


The specifications require out-of-sequence conditions to be corrected. If the contractor wishes them to remain, they need to provide justification for the government’s approval. Out-of-sequence conditions are permitted only on a case-by-case basis.

Schedule Narrative Out-of-Sequence Work

Out-of-sequence conditions need to be identified and discussed in the narrative as well.

Out-of-Sequence Work

These changes need to be identified by activity ID and name.


How the contractor shows this information depends on what type of change comparison or forensic schedule software he uses. If the software provides an excel spreadsheet, changes could be grouped and sorted with explanations added, especially if there are multiple changes for the same reason.

Schedule Narrative Identify All Schedule Changes

The narrative needs to identify and discuss any changes made in the schedule update, including:


  • Added and Deleted Activities
  • Logic Changes
  • Duration Changes
  • Calendar Changes
  • Lag Changes
  • Resource (Cost) Changes
  • Actual Start and Actual Finish Date Changes

Schedule Changes

If an activity didn’t meet it’s late start or late finish date, it will show negative float. Those activities can be targeted in the schedule for the purposes of this narrative section.

Schedule Narrative Description of Activities Along the Top Two Critical Paths
Periodic Schedule Update Meetings
Schedule Narrative Out-of-Sequence Progress
Schedule narrative Activities based on Late Dates

This section requires any activities that didn’t take place per their late dates be identified and discussed.

Activities Not Started

All current and anticipated issues should be identified and discussed in this section of the narrative, regardless of who caused it.

Schedule Narrative Description of Current and Anticipated Problem Areas
Schedule Narrative Top Two Critical Paths
Schedule Narrative Identify and Discuss Work Scheduled to Start in the Next Update Period
Free Example Schedule Narrative Template

In this article, we discussed the schedule narrative requirements for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) projects. The objective of the schedule narrative is to communicate to the government the contractor’s thorough analysis of schedule output.

The schedule narrative informs project stakeholders, so everyone has the same understanding of project challenges and potential workarounds. Schedule narratives fail when they are too general, withhold information, or don’t translate the schedule data into a narrative form that can be easily understood and digested.


Narrative requirements from the UFGS 01 32 01.00 10 specification include:


  • When the Narrative is Submitted
  • Work Scheduled in the Next Update
  • Top Two Critical Paths
  • Current and Anticipated Problem Areas
  • Activities not Started
  • Schedule Changes
  • Out-of-Sequence Work


Questions or comments? Reach us at connect@cpm-ss.com.


Thanks for reading.


Related Articles:

How to Review a P6 Schedule Log

New to USACE Schedules? 3 Things to Know

Why Quality Construction Schedules Matter

Schedule Cost Loading

Summary

This can be discussed through grouping areas of the project work – for example, describing upcoming exterior work, interior work, and site work.


Remember – this isn’t a listing of activities sorted by the schedule’s early start date. The narrative should be kept to a narrative or discussion form, and not a data dump.

When the Narrative is Submitted

Top Two Critical Paths

The narrative needs to identify and explain any current or anticipated problems. This includes an explanation of their impact (which schedule activities or features of work they affect), and any corrective actions that need to or have already taken place.

Current and Anticipated Problem Areas

When the project starts the Periodic Schedule Updates, the narrative also needs to be submitted along with each draft update.


The contractor provides the draft schedule to the government, then holds the Periodic Schedule Update meeting, and afterwards formally submits the schedule.

The narrative requires a description of the top two critical paths.

The narrative is required with each schedule submission provided to the government. 


This includes:


  • the Preliminary Schedule (due 15 days after Notice to Proceed / NTP),
  • the Initial Schedule (due 42 days after NTP), and
  • the Periodic Schedule Updates (due monthly)

  • In our Why Quality Construction Schedules Matter article, we talked about how looking at more than just the primary critical path can help you prioritize actions, so your team knows where to focus their efforts for the greatest positive return.


    To make sure your schedule is calculating multiple float paths, click on the “Schedule” button (or F9 key). Click the “Options” button, then the “Advanced” tab. Make sure “Calculate multiple float paths” is selected.

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    This blog is for general informational purposes only and is not to be considered an official interpretation or enforcement policy of the UFGS standard specifications. As individual project requirements vary, refer to your specific contract. See our Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer for additional information.

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