If you need to prove and allocate construction project delays, you should engage a scheduling consultant qualified with CPM (critical path method) analysis. You should also engage counsel to assist in preserving your rights, as well as presenting and maximing your arguments for delay.
There are numerous methodologies used to quantify and allocate delay. You want to discuss the most effective analysis for your case and facts including whether you want/should use a forward-looking prospective analysis or a backward-looking retrospective analysis that factors in as-built data. In doing so, you want to make sure you understand the pros and cons of each methodology including the bases to attack the methodology that will be subject to cross-examination. The five primary CPM methodologies are as follows:
- As-Planned Versus As-Built. This methodology compares the as-planned baseline schedule to an as-built schedule reflecting progress to assign delay. An as-built schedule that reflects progress includes actual start dates, finish dates, and durations. The actual dates and durations are compared with the as-planned dates and durations on the baseline schedule to determine delay. Under this methodology, the delay impact is determined retrospectively.
- Windows Analysis. This methodology divides the project into windows of period of time and focuses on an as-built critical path analysis that relies on progress schedule updates and as-built data. The as-built critical path is then quantified for each of the periods (or windows). The methodology compares the as-planned baseline schedule’s critical path to the as-built schedule (and as-built conditions) during the window to quantify delay. Under this methodology, the delay impact is determined retrospectively.
- Collapsed As-Built. This methodology is the “but for” methodology as it analyzes the earliest date the project would have been completed “but for” identified delays. This methodology removes delay events from the as-built schedule to determine when the project would have been completed “but for” the delay event(s). Under this methodology, the delay impact is determined retrospectively.
- Impacted As-Planned. This methodology inserts potential delay events/activities into the as-planned baseline schedule to determine impacts. By inputting new delay activities into the baseline as-planned schedule, new logic and a new critical path is created to result in a new completion date (i.e., an impacted, as-planned schedule). The difference between the completion date in the impacted, as-planned schedule and the (unimpacted) as-planned baseline schedule represents the delay. This methodology does not rely on as-built data and prospectively determines delay.
- Time Impact Analysis. This methodology analyzes delay events individually based on the schedule update immediately prior to the delay event. The difference between the project’s completion date before and after the delay event quantifies the delay. Under this methodology, the delay event is added into the updated schedule closest to the event to see if the project completion date changes based on the event’s impact to the completion date. This methodology does not rely on as-built data and prospectively determines delay based on when the event occurred.
It is not uncommon for parties to use different methodologies to quantify and assign delay. It is also not uncommon for the parties to attack the other methodology as unreliable– whether not focusing on what actually occurred or not focusing on an event the moment it occurred based on the schedule or plan in-place as of the delaying event(s). As an example only, in K-Con Building Systems, Inc. v. U.S., 131 Fed.Cl. 275 (Fed.Cl. 2017), a contractor asserted claims relative to the government’s delay. The contractor claimed the critical path should be analyzed with a prospective analysis predicated on its as-planned performance. The government disagreed claiming the critical path should be analyzed based on a retrospective as-built analysis. The Court of Federal Claims agreed with the government “that the proper way to determine what activities were on the critical path of performance in this case is to examine what actually occurred during contract performance.” K-Con Building Systems, supra, at 329. The Court reached this conclusion because: (1) “a critical path schedule that relies solely on the [baseline] schedule set forth in the contract specifications does not account for subsequent changes to the schedule authorized by the contracting agency” and (2) “the use of a contractually based critical path schedule does not reflect that the [contractor] did not actually perform in accordance with the [baseline] schedule set forth in the contract specifications.” Id. at 329-330. Stated differently, the as-planned approach that the contractor employed did not “fully reflect the reality of what occurred on the project.” Id.
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