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Jun 242013
 

While the more traditional project plan of design-bid-build is still popular in Florida, lately there has a sharp increase in the demand for alternate project delivery methods l. These alternative project delivery methods include:

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  • Design-Build
  • Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3)
  • Construction Manager at Risk (CM-at-Risk)

More and more owners are seeking these alternative methods because they offer greater efficiencies and less risk in the construction process. Even state government agencies have begun using more alternate project delivery methods, especially design-build and CM-at-Risk.

The maturation of new delivery technologies is also increasing demand for alternative project delivery methods. Some such technologies include:

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)
  • Lean Planning
  • 4-D Scheduling

These technologies work best in collaborative settings, where all parties involved in the construction process have input from the start of the project. Owners who are looking for this type of setup will search for a team that has previous experience with these technologies and team organizations.

From 2009-2011, Florida experienced a significant decrease in the amount of design-build projects, as the decline in the economy gave owners a strong incentive to save money by using the more traditional hard-bid design-bid-build project method. But over the last six months we have seen a dramatic resurgence in alternate project delivery proposals and more qualifications-based selections. Price is no longer the deciding factor in many projects in Florida and owners are free to choose the most qualified teams for their specific needs.

In the future, we expect to see an increase of all alternative project delivery methods, especially with integrated project delivery (IPD). With IPD, the owner, designers, contractor, and major subs all agree to sign a single contract between all the parties and share the risks and rewards on the project. This has been rare in Florida up until recently, when some very sophisticated owners in Florida have procured large projects using IPD. Although many of the players are still learning the process “on the fly,” we should expect to see more of IPD, especially as it becomes more familiar to owners and construction firms in Florida.

At Florida Consultants, we are experienced in IPD methods as well as the other alternative project delivery methods. If you are a contractor we can help you with the new delivery technologies, such as Lean Planning and 4D Scheduling. If you’re an owner, we can help you to choose method that will work best for your project and see it through to the end. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Jun 162013
 

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It is common for construction projects to experience delays throughout the life of the project, which can cause serious financial losses. In some cases, delay claims are asserted to make up for some or all of the expenses incurred. Experts are often retained to look into documents, methods, schedules, and events that affected the construction project in order to determine if the claim is valid and to identify the issues that caused the delay.

There are many different delay analysis methods, to say the least. It’s imperative to know which analysis method the expert is using because some have serious flaws and inherent weaknesses. They have many different names and it can be confusing:

  • Total Time
  • Impacted As-Planned
  • Windows Analysis
  •  As Built Critical Path
  • Collapsed As-Built
  • Time Impact Analysis
  • Fragnet Analysis
  • Contemporaneous Period Analysis

For example, in an important ruling by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) in Haney v. United States (ASBCA No. 23392) the expert’s impacted as-planned delay analysis method was rejected for being “inherently biased, and could lead to but one predictable outcome.”

Thus one must be wary of which method the supposed expert is using. Why pay an expert thousands of dollars to perform an analysis only to have it rejected by the court or board?

There are two delay analysis methods that are both widely accepted and recommended, Time Impact Analysis and Contemporaneous Period Analysis.

 Time Impact Analysis

 Sometimes called “fragnet analysis,” Time Impact Analysis (TIA) is appropriate as a forward-looking method for analyzing delays before the event occurs. That means that it is used during the project to estimate and evaluate the time impact of changed or added work so it can be compared with the current schedule.

In this method, the analyst updates the project schedule as of the day the change or added work was scheduled to occur. The analyst then develops a “fragnet” or fragmented network of activities that represent the changed or added work. An example of a fragnet might be the following activities, all linked with finish-to-start relationships:

Submit RFI #5 – 1 workday

Government Response to RFI#5 – 15 workdays

Contractor Review Government’s Response to RFI#5 – 1 workday

Complete Change Work – 7 workdays

The fragnet is then inserted into the updated schedule and a comparison can be made to the forecast completion or milestone date to determine the time impact, if any. TIA is required by contract on most federal government construction projects.

Contemporaneous Period Analysis

Contemporaneous period analysis is typically used in a forensic schedule analysis conducted after the project is completed. This method uses the contemporaneous project schedules that were developed and maintained during the project.

The critical path is the main focus of this analysis. The critical path is followed day-by-day to the project’s completion date, while taking into account the progress (and lack thereof) of all of the activities in the schedule. Its strength is in how the dynamic nature of network scheduling is recognized and handled. This method not only identifies the magnitude of every delay or gain along the critical path, but it identifies when the critical path shifts and why the shift occurred.

Another important aspect of contemporaneous period analysis is that it identifies and isolates delays or gains caused by changes or revisions to the schedule during the update process. For example, sometimes changes are made to schedule logic and durations in order to mask a critical path delay that has occurred. So even if there is no readily-apparent delay shown in a published schedule update, contemporaneous period analysis can uncover these changes and identify separately the delays due to lack of progress and changes made to the schedule logic to mask those delays.

Contemporaneous period analysis is often referred to as an “observational” method, as the analyst is using the schedules as they are. This is the biggest difference from TIA and other delay analysis methods, as he or she is not creating, inserting, or deleting activities in the schedule.

The main idea behind contemporaneous period analysis is to retroactively adopt the perspective of the personnel onsite as the delay occurred. Thus, delays are measured using the actual schedules that the project team and the owner used to make decisions.

Steps for performing a contemporaneous period analysis:

  1. Identify delays and gains between updates
  2. Chronologically track progress along the critical path
  3. Assess each activity separately
  4. With each delay, adjust the succeeding planned activities, taking these delays into account

Delay claims are some of the most complicated types of claims to analyze, as construction projects have many moving parts and opportunities for the critical path to change or slip. If you’re considering having an analyst perform a delay analysis on a project, ensure that he or she is using a well-respected method to avoid having the product of your time and money rejected in court.

At Florida Consultants, we are confident in the validity and reliability of our results and use only the most established and accepted methods of delay analysis. Contact us today for more information or with any questions you may have.

 

Jun 092013
 

As mentioned in this recent article on Planning and Managing Complex Construction Projects, the Florida construction industry is seeing a renewed interest in interactive planning techniques, especially pull planning. In a pull planning session, the people responsible for supervising the various aspects of the work into a room to answer one simple question

What do we have to do, and when, to meet the project’s completion date?

A simple question but not a simple answer. Pull planning techniques involve using sticky notes to mark essential elements of work, working backwards from the end-date. A large white board is used with a timescale on top. The time scale is usually broken down by weeks (Week 1, Week 2, etc.). It’s effective because it uses key players to define and sequence work tasks needed to get the work done and avoid delays.

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In the past two weeks I have attended two pull planning sessions involving Florida theme park construction projects. Both projects were in their final stages and under strict deadlines. Pull planning is very effective in these scheduling scenarios as everyone can agree on the common goal of completing the remaining work so as to finish the project on time. Here are 4 key points I took away from these sessions.

  1. Get the right people there. The pull planning session should be made up of the people who supervise construction on a daily basis – not the crew foremen or the supervisor’s supervisor. You need the people who know the workers, equipment, and materials and know what can and cannot actually be accomplished.
  2. No substitutes. Having a substitute for a key individual definitely hampers the ability to complete the pull planning session. In short, hearing “I’ll have to get back to you on that” over and over just doesn’t cut it.
  3. Promote a global understanding. Everyone needs to thoroughly understand the work. Not just their own scope of work but the scopes of work of other trades. Why? Because on a construction project the various trades are inter-dependent on one another and each individual must know the preceding and succeeding trades to contribute.
  4. Lay down the Conditions of Satisfaction (COS) first. Every attendee must be on board for which COS are required to meet the deadline. The difference between what is 100% required for COS what may not be required is important so that the right resources can be assigned to the right tasks without any wasted effort.

Pull planning is a very effective technique for outlining and meeting scheduling deadlines for construction projects. When handled correctly, pull planning eliminates miscommunications and allows every key player to be integrally involved in the planning process. Try different colored stickies for the various trades so people can quickly and easily visualize where their part of the plan falls within the whole of the project.

May 102013
 

Construction projects and becoming more and more complex. In the coming years and decades, the construction industry will be faced with the monumental task of repairing and replacing our aging infrastructure as well as constructing the communities and facilities of the future. All of this in the midst of dwindling resources, changing labor demographics and fiscal and environmental restraints.

The successful completion of a construction project is defined as delivering a facility that meets the owner’s specified needs and requirements on time and within budget. To achieve this the construction industry must embrace modern management practices and processes. At the top of the list is a renewed interest in the application of modern planning and scheduling techniques.

It is hard to under estimate the important role that planning and scheduling plays in the successful completion of a construction project.

The successful completion of a construction project is defined as delivering a facility that meets the owner’s specified needs and requirements on time and within budget.

As the projects get more complex it puts tremendous pressure on the management team to properly plan their projects and communicate the plan to all interested parties. We are seeing renewed interest in various interactive planning techniques such as “Pull Planning.” Pull Planning it is a collaborative approach that includes those who are directly responsible for supervising the work on the project. Using sticky-notes, the team participants work from the target milestone completion date backwards, defining and sequencing tasks.

Different technologies are emerging and being adopted, giving contractors more choices than they had just a few years ago. We are also seeing tremendous growth in 4D scheduling, where the schedule is linked to the 3D model to generate an animation of the project. With 4D scheduling, a project manager, owner and contractor are able to see what the project will look like at any stage of development, and they are able to visually compare the planned work versus the actual work that has been completed on the project.

Other techniques such as flowline or linear scheduling techniques allow contractors to better plan for optimal productivity of each trade contractor and crew. The advantage of linear scheduling over traditional CPM methods is that it more easily ensures work locations are available and clear of unnecessary materials and other crews.

Contractors who apply these and other modern planning and scheduling techniques will have a better chance of delivering a successful construction project.

Apr 262013
 

Gov Scott Approves Design Professional Limitation of Liability Act

Governor Scott signed into law the “Design Professional Limitation of Liability Act.” This new law gives design professionals immunity from tort damages as long as the services are being rendered as part of a professional services contract that has specific waiver language written into the contract. The design professionals affected are licensed engineers, interior designers, surveyors, architects, landscape architects, and geologists. The act takes effect on July 1, 2013.

Required Waiver in Florida Professional Services Contracts

Needless to say, any licensed design professionals who practice in the state of Florida should familiarize themselves with the act and its specific requirements. For example, in order to be able to enforce the protections of the new act, your professional services contract must “include a prominent statement, in uppercase font that is at least 5 point sizes larger than the rest of the text, that, pursuant to this section, an individual employee or agent may not be held individually liable for negligence.” It’s unlikely that the new law will be applied to professional service contracts entered into before the law takes affect because they do not contain this required waiver.

Bill Summary – SB 286

Design Professional Limitation of Liability Act

The following is the Bill Summary from the Florida Senate web site:

The bill permits a design professional employed by a business entity, or an agent of the entity, to be immune from tort liability for damages occurring within the course and scope of the performance of a professional services contract if:

The contract is made between the business entity and a claimant or another entity for the provision of services to the claimant;
The contract does not name an individual employee or agent as a party to the contract;
The contract prominently states that an individual employee or agent may not be held individually liable for negligence;
The business entity maintains any professional liability insurance required under the contract; and
Any damages are solely economic in nature and do not extend to persons or property not subject to the contract.

Apr 232013
 

Construction Scheduling from a Consultant’s Perspective

At Florida Consultants, we provide consulting, expert and advisory services in the area of critical path method (CPM) planning and scheduling. Our focus is on providing insight into your project’s most valuable tool – its schedule.

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At Florida Consultants we have seen the value and benefits of a well-developed and properly-maintained project schedule. A project schedule can be an invaluable tool in the management of the most important elements of a construction project.

We have also seen the down side of not properly maintaining a project schedule. Such as having to rely on other project records to prove a claim when the information would have been readily available had the schedule been properly maintained and updated.

The following are some of the major benefits of having a good project schedule:

Managing Construction Risk

The schedule is one of the most important tools for managing risk on a construction project. As things inevitably change on the project, the schedule is the best vehicle for evaluating the impact of changes on other elements of the project. It is also a powerful tool for scenario planning and mitigating the affect of a change. Additionally, the project schedule is by far the best tool for early identification of problems and trends that could jeopardize project success.

Managing and Coordinating the Construction Project

Schedules are often the primary tool used by project managers and superintendents to manage and coordinate the work of the various trade contractors on the project. A well-developed schedule will clearly model and illustrate the team’s plan for executing the project. Additionally, a well-developed and properly-updated schedule can accurately predict the completion date of the project, not only at the beginning but as the project progresses. Project schedules are often used by your subcontractors and suppliers to coordinate their own work and as a production forecasting tool.

Communicating the Construction Plan

The is no better tool for communicating the team’s plan for executing the project than the project schedule. As the plan is adjusted for changes and actual performance, the schedule should be updated and distributed to the various parties – subcontractors, suppliers, vendors, the owner, the architect/engineer, inspectors, etc. It helps keep everyone up to date and on the same page.

As-Built Schedule and Schedule Analysis

A properly-updated and maintained schedule is an invaluable depository of “as-built” information for the project. This information can be used for later review in planning projects in the future, or as an analysis tool for documenting or defending against a claim.

For all of these reasons, it makes sense to invest the time and effort into developing and properly maintaining a project schedule. Whether you need help preparing a baseline project schedule or you would simply like professional feedback on an existing schedule, Florida Consultants can develop a cost-effective, comprehensive solution to meet your project’s needs. Contact Don W. Carlow, PSP at (407) 603-6165 or don@Florida-Consultants.com.