Introduction to forensic planning and schedule delay analysis

An example of integration between project controls and contract management

Abstract (English)

In the international contracts the schedule delay evaluation is carried out trough specific forensic planning techniques which allow to analyze single or group of events , often in “concurrency”, in order to pursuit EOT (extension of time) and prolongation costs. In the new FIDICs there are more specific clauses ruling the EOT management, delay measurement and relevant claims; a structured approach of claim management it is required which entail a better integration between project controls with claim management; in large and complex projects a specific claim task-force might be required, since the project start-up, specifically dedicated to claim management; in any case is necessary to manage (potential) claims since the tender stage.

Premise

In international contracts, the analysis and evaluation of "Delays" is performed with techniques of forensic planning, which allow to analyze the impacts of single events or of a group of events, often concomitant, on the project execution stages, in order to negotiate time extensions (EOT) e prolongation costs. I Contratti ormai disciplinano tale attività che richiede di essere ben inquadrata sin dalla fase di tender ed implementata in modo integrato con il sistema di project controls e di contract management. Le nuove versioni FIDIC, some already published in 2018, they require even more specific claim management processes. In relevant projects, a specific working group dedicated to claim management may be necessary, composed of appropriate professionals.

Objective

The management of claims based on delays and/or loss of productivity (disruption) requires a more integrated approach between project controls and contract management, during the execution of the project in order to prepare the ground for "request for variations" and claims; this is especially true for three processes:

  1. The development and periodic updating of a master programme (i.e. project baseline schedule) accurate that however responds to certain "technical" requirements to make the subsequent phase reliable schedule delay analysis, especially in the more frequent case of concurrent delays (concurrent delay).
  2. The setting up and maintenance of a "project archive" that traces all project information in a structured and "contemporary" way (i.e. contemporaneous project recording); this activity is essential to support the reasons for the claim and provide the necessary documentation to the lawyers and experts involved in the subsequent phases.
  3. An accurate communication process, in accordance with contractual requirements, which requires careful monthly or bi-weekly planning of the communications to be carried out towards the client and/or towards the sub-contractors, regarding potentially impacting events, requests for clarification (RFI), the submission of proposals and/or requests for variations e, naturally, communication of the delays detected (notice of delay), as timely notification of the delay is a usual contractual condition for admissibility (entitlement) del claim.

The recommended approach

Let's see in more detail the specific activities that must be carried out.

  1. Pre-contractual stage (i.e. During the tender): examines the contractual clauses of Change and Claim management and Project Controls in order to accurately set up the baseline Program, entering the "risk events" identified already in this phase and carrying out the verification of the critical paths .
  2. Project start-up phase: usually the baseline program and other specific "plans" (Risk Plan, Project Controls Plan, Contract management Plan, ecc.) must be submitted within the first 30/60 days from the Notice to proceed; during this initiation phase of the project it is necessary to develop the final Baseline Program, review all the hypotheses assumed in the tender phase and finalize the Program, integrating it with all risk events (Employer Risk Events / Contractor Risk Events) with the final verification of the critical paths.
  3. Execution stage: evaluation of the temporal impacts and extension costs due to variants (change) and/or "events" caused by the Customer and support in the analysis and preparation of the dossier for "request for variations".
  4. Arbitration-litigation stage: preparation of the documentation supporting the claim with particular regard to the analysis of the impacts described above, using the various techniques of forensic planning and schedule delay analysis (Time Impact Analysis, As Planned vs. As Built, ecc.). Obviously, if during the execution of the project care was taken to carry out the three processes indicated in the previous paragraph, in particular the maintenance of the project archive (contemporaneous project recording) with a regular and appropriate prospective analysis of the "Delays", work in the arbitration-litigation phase is considerably facilitated. Another activity that I could take care of is the interface with any "claim and dispute" consultants involved in arbitration or legal litigation, riguardo al forensic planning.

In summary, the activity of forensic planning can be summarized thus:

Forensic analysis di claim e counterclaim (actual or potential)

  • Analysis of the conditions of the claim (presenza di Owner’s Delay Events) related to the progress of the works;
  • Interface with the project team to gather information and supporting documentation;
  • Analysis and simulations of impacts on contractual milestones and critical path analysis (forensic analysis);
  • Analysis and examination of concurrent delay situation;
  • Contribution in drafting the dossier to support the claim;
  • Possible negotiation and meeting with the customer.

Forensic analysis of Variants (change) or potential changes in order to ascertain:

  • Extension of Time (EOT);
  • Prolongation costs.

Fornire “expert forensic planning” input per dossier e reporting:         

  • To confirm and qualify the results of forensic analysis of claims or potential claims
  • For internal presentations to company and project management for review and approval;
  • By submission to the Customer in accordance with the contractual requirements;
  • Per executive summary a key internal stakeholders.

Conclusions

Forensic planning skills cover project controls and contract management and an integrated approach is required, translated into appropriate procedures that must be part of the corporate project management system and "guarded" by the PMO. Resources need to be trained.

Forensic planning procedures require the application of cost engineering methodologies and techniques (metodi di delay analysis, Of earned value management systems for the measurement of productivity and the evaluation of the “disruption”, as well as specific document management tools (document management systems) integrated with planning and scheduling tools (planning and scheduling) and tools to carry out a quantitative analysis of the risks associated with time scheduling (quantitative schedule risk analysis).

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