Methods of Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis
Construction projects have their own typical problems resulting in construction disputes. It is obvious that time is one of the most important components of a construction product. If it is not used efficiently, delays and time overruns will occur. These delays may have cost impacts on the project and both the contractor, subcontractors, and the client might be affected. Therefore, Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis methods are applicable for resolving disputes between the parties of the construction projects.
Delay situations are getting complex based on the nature and the complexity of the construction projects. During the construction process, multiple delays can occur concurrently which can be caused by more than one party.
Therefore, delay analysis and claim management is an unavoidable process in a construction project which requires effective tools and techniques to resolve the disputes. In this article, we will discuss the methods of forensic schedule delay analysis.
What are the Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis Methods?
If you are working as a project manager or a planning engineer, most probably you have created claim files to demand additional time and/or money from the client. While preparing a claim file, you must attach supporting documents such as delay analysis and critical path analysis. In order to determine the delays in a construction project, you must employ forensic schedule delay analysis methods.
Simply put, delay analysis is a process of answering the below questions;
- How late is the project?
- What has caused the project to delay?
- Who is responsible for the delay?
- What is the cost impact of the delay?
- Is this a concurrent delay?
Project duration and delays can be calculated with the help of the Critical Path Method. Forensic schedule delay analysis is the investigation of tasks and activities by using CPM scheduling methods to model the real project situation to resolve delay claims through negotiations or legal processes.
Although there are several approaches for performing construction schedule delay analysis, there is no standard method. Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering AACE recommended nine “method implementation protocols” for delay analysis. Other related associations and professionals recommended several methods for this purpose.
There are four commonly used methods for Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis
- As-Planned vs As-Built Analysis
- Windows Analysis
- Time Impact Analysis
- Collapsed As-Built
Analyzing the Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis Methods
Now we will analyze each method.
As-Planned vs As-Built Analysis
As-Planned vs As-Built Analysis is widely used for the comparison of the planned and the actual performance of the work. The dates and durations of the activities are selected from the baseline schedule and compared with the actual schedule. The main benefit of this method is that it is easy to perform and understand. Many experts use this method because of its simplicity.
Below are some limitations of As-Planned vs As-Built Analysis
- Concurrent delays can not be measured
- The logic and the sequence changes as the work performed but this method ignores this fact.
- It is not easy to implement this method in complex projects.
In the Windows Analysis, the overall schedule is divided into windows with a selected duration. Then the activities within the selected window are updated by the expert considering the delays. Responsibility for each delay is determined by analyzing the windows. The Windows Analysis method provides precise information regarding the delays when there are regularly updated CPM work schedules. It is difficult to manipulate.
Below are some limitations of Windows Analysis
- The work schedule may not be updated regularly with correct dates.
- The baseline schedule may not be prepared accurately
- Activities outside the selected window may have impacts on the activities inside the window.
Time Impact Analysis
Time Impact Analysis is a delay analysis method that considers the cause and effect of a change to a critical path method (CPM) schedule. An event that causes a delay is identified and its relationships with the activities are determined by using this method. Time Impact Analysis is a useful technique for analyzing complex schedules and determining concurrent delays. This technique is accepted by many courts and agencies. However, it has some limitations.
Below are the limitations of Time Impact Analysis
- Can be expensive and time-consuming
- Can be susceptible to manipulation
In this method, the expert uses the actual as-built schedule and takes out the duration of all the delays attributable to the contractor. The as-built critical path is determined by analyzing the activities of this revised schedule. Collapsed As-Built analysis is a useful technique for determining concurrent delays.
Below are the limitations of Collapsed As-Built
- Preparing a revised schedule is time-consuming and expensive.
- Manipulations can be made while making the revised schedule.
- The expert must make substantial decisions.
Like other resources such as labor and equipment, time can be considered a resource that is spent on building a construction project. Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis Methods are closely related to correct CPM calculations. In order to make substantial CPM calculations, the baseline schedule should be prepared properly. As mentioned in the article there is no standard method for making Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis. Each method has pros and cons. Deciding which method of making delay analysis is based on the type and the characteristics of the delay.
In this article, we discuss the most common methods of forensic schedule delay analysis. If you want to share your experiences regarding the use of these methods, please share by using the comments box given below.
Victor Z Young is a Civil Engineer with 35 years of experience working alongside the executive team of various construction companies. Victor specializes in construction insurance, delay analysis, performance analysis and engineering. He holds a Doctor of Project Management from Northwestern University.