- A Project Baseline is a Fixed Reference Point to measure project performance.
- A project baseline is usually planned before the beginning of the project.
- The baseline will allow managers to reflect upon progress by measuring the difference between the baseline plan and the actual progress of a project.
- A project baseline is critical and, if not applied accurately, could be the reason for a project failure.
Who develops the Project Baseline?
- The Project Baseline is the responsibility of the Main Contractor.
- The Main Contractor will then turn to the subcontractors to fill out the finer details for their specific section of a project.
How to develop a Project Baseline?
The three most important components of a Project Baseline are: (1) Scope, (2) Schedule, and (3) Cost. All three components must be fully understood in order to create a project baseline.
- Identifying all tasks; which also includes grouping tasks under categories.
- Assigning Resources for each task.
- Assigning Cost for each task.
- Determine the Start and Finish Date for each task.
- Determine the Duration for each task.
- Determine holidays, restricted working hours, etc.
- Determine working hours per day, week, month for human resources.
- Categorize the tasks for each working area (e.g. below ground level, ground floor, typical floors, roof).
- Understand the relationship between two parties (e.g. Plaster Works and HVAC).
- Understanding the relationships (or dependencies) between tasks (Start-to-Finish, Start-to-Start, Finish-to-Start, Finish-to-Finish).
- Categorize the tasks based on project stages (e.g. mobilization, construction, testing and commissioning, etc).
- Understanding the relationships and coordination between involved parties.
Key Data in a Baseline
- Start Date
- End Date
Benefits of a Project Baseline
- Allows extensive planning where little details of the project are included.
- Assesses the performance of a project.
- Keeps the Project Schedule and Cost within limits.
- Improves project estimation.
Updating the Baseline during the Project
The baseline should be monitored and controlled, and must not be changed throughout the project. Changes to a baseline after a project has started will require approval from other parties (e.g. Employer/Engineer), and must have a version number clearly mentioning the reason to adjusting the baseline. Changing a baseline frequently will make it difficult to use as a measurement for project progress. Reasons for changing a baseline after a project has started may only be allowed in the following cases:
- Force Majeure
- Major Accidents
- Major Changes (e.g. contractor default/replacement)