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:
- Identify delays and gains between updates
- Chronologically track progress along the critical path
- Assess each activity separately
- 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.