Forensic Schedule Analysis Lessons Webcast Q&A


Last week, Chris Carson, FRICS, FAACE, FGPC, PSP, DRMP, CEP, CCM, PMP, a world authority on Forensic Schedule Analysis, conducted a live webcast on “Forensic Schedule Analysis Lessons You Need to Learn Today To Proactively Prevent Claims Tomorrow”. 

Chris Carson shared some important lessons learned from 40 years of performing forensic schedule analysis, scheduling, and schedule review and suggested ways to identify symptoms and take actions to avoid project delay and claims.

Around 680 people enrolled for this informative webcast and 500 could attend the live session. We had such a dynamic & engaging audience from all over the globe.

At the end of the webcast, the Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis training program, a live intensive 4-month online training, was introduced to attendees. Many showed interest in this training program and enrolled. To learn more about this comprehensive training program, conducted by Chris Carson, click here.

The audience had a chance to submit their questions in advance or during the live webcast.

Here are the answers to the questions asked during the webcast. (All answers are provided by Chris Carson):

What are the tools needed to perform forensic schedule analysis?

Scheduling software, Excel or similar spreadsheet software, Word or similar word processing software can be used to perform forensic schedule analysis.

Is there a way to do forensic schedule analysis without P6 or you must be an expert advanced user in this tool?

Any CPM scheduling software will suffice for forensic schedule analysis.

Can other software like MS Project or a mere schedule on excel for smaller sub trade companies be utilized?

While any CPM scheduling software will work, MS Project is not a true CPM Scheduling engine; it does not calculate forward and backward passes correctly. However, it emulates CPM and it is possible to perform analysis within the limitations of MS Project.

Some of the very light forensic methods, like simple implementation of As-Planned v. As-Built (APAB) analysis, can be performed simply by comparing start and finish dates of activities maybe in Excel – however, without the ability to determine what activities are critical, comparison does not take into account CP, which is a problem.

Remember that the vast majority of forensic analysis is used to negotiate and resolve disputes, so any comparison that is used and can be convincing might help to reduce the disagreements and resolve disputes.

Give a scenario for a job outside of O&G where forensic schedule analysis has been used.

All construction projects typically have some money attached to project completion delays; so the forensic schedule analysis is used in all construction projects; transportation, buildings, water/wastewater, and some environmental. All industries that include construction of projects have a need for forensic schedule analysis.

What is the training or education background needed to learn how to do the forensic schedule analysis?

Learn technical scheduling first, then study forensic analysis and get involved in analysis scheduling as soon as you can.

What are the right steps required to build a strong career as forensic & Delay Analysis Specialist?

First, gain experience in the construction industries, next learn CPM scheduling and gain experience in developing, reviewing, and analyzing CPM schedules, and change management.

Next study about forensic analysis and gain experience in performing forensic schedule analysis.

If you wish to be an industry expert, you must engage with the industry associations and take a thought leadership position by helping to develop industry best practices so you have to become an author in some capacity to be a true industry expert. AACE is the best association for forensic analysis. But remember, you cannot tell others you are an expert, the industry will tell you when your peers see you as an expert.

You might notice that you don’t often see me claiming to be an industry expert, instead, I let the industry do this. The best compliments to me have been the clients who told me that I was running a “world-class project controls effort” – that is satisfying and that’s where I want to be.

I came to learn that I am a bit weak in the EOT claims area even though I have been a part of reviewing and analyzing claims for few projects. Please brief on the steps of analyzing EOT claims with reference to SCL protocol.

The SCL Protocol used to only recommend one methodology, that of modeling delays, for both prospective and forensic (retrospective) analysis. This is in keeping with most industry practice for delays that have not been absorbed into the project/schedule. However, for absorbed delays, industry suggests that we must use one of the forensic schedule delay analysis methods. But in the 2016 revisions, they removed the recommendation for one method of modeling delays to use factors to consider in choosing methodology, similar to the AACE Forensic Schedule Analysis Recommended Practice.

The protocol also emphasizes the need to act quickly and analyze early so there is an opportunity to mitigate delays rather than waiting to the end of the project to analyze.

How is Forensic Schedule Analysis different from project Time Impact Analysis and delay analysis?

Covered in the webinar but Forensic Schedule Analysis is Delay analysis of absorbed delays, where project time impact analysis is analyzing future delays that have not been absorbed into the project or schedule. Project TIA is estimated whereas Forensic Delay analysis is the reconciliation of actual time delays.

Is there any webinar training available in coming days for Time Impact Analysis and Delay analysis?

Yes, we are conducting a live 4-month intensive online training on Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis. The first session starts on December 1st, 2017 and spans over 4 months until early April 2018. To learn more about this training, click here.

Is there any relationship between Forensic Schedule Analysis and Resource Loading?

There are some places where resource loading and analysis become very useful in a supporting role in the forensic analysis. Resources help validate durations, sequencing, and the planned approach and the implementation of activities. But this is resource analysis and not necessarily resource loading. There are many ways that resource loading is done improperly so that it is not very common that loading provides validation of the forensic analysis, but if the loading actually represents the planned schedule needs, the actual resources are documented, and the resource loading is validated in each update, it is very useful.

What is the most widely accepted method available for cost calculation related to claims for overhead costs of a delayed EPC project?

Depends on the industry, client, and contract. Sorry but the topic is Forensic Schedule Analysis, not Forensic Cost Analysis. Your question would warrant another webinar and cannot be answered in brief.

For example, it depends on what overhead costs you were trying to resolve, say it’s unabsorbed overhead.   There are almost a dozen ways that this is done, some specific to certain countries and even certain US federal agencies.

We’ll consider the topic of Forensic Cost Analysis for future webinar and training.

What is the best method/approach for construction delay analysis?

There are 9 distinct methods, according to those of us who wrote and believe in the AACE Forensic Schedule Analysis Recommended Practice. Each method has source data validation protocols to be followed, and the Recommended Practice walks you through the steps necessary to choose the method.

Can we get a video tutorial on construction delay analysis Training?

Yes, we are conducting a comprehensive training program on Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis. To learn more about this training, click here.

When is the best time to start the delay analysis during the construction work?

I’m a huge advocate of performing forensic schedule analysis with each and every schedule update. In fact, I wrote a paper in 2006, Claims Analysis Nested in Schedule Updates, where I recommended this very approach.

Do you have a standard template for delay analysis that can be shared?

The template is a spreadsheet where you enter the delayed activities and calculate the project delay. These are typically proprietary layouts that experts prefer not to share. I will be sharing this template in the upcoming Forensic Schedule Analysis training.

How is the Time Impact Analysis different from other delay analysis methods?

Time Impact Analysis (TIA) is performed in both forensic (after the delay has been absorbed) and prospective (before the delay has been absorbed) approaches.

The Forensic TIA is a modeled method, which requires the analyst to first choose delays to model before testing them. Risks include subjectivity in the analysis because whatever you model is likely to cause delay, so it is crucial that the right activities are chosen to model, and delays are modeled for the delay to both Owner and Contractor. Forensic TIAs are subject to many challenges, all of which must be shored up in the expert report.

In the Contemporaneous Approach, how many Near Critical Paths are considered if each of these Float Paths has the same Float — All of them?

This does require some technical discussions because you have to choose a methodology implementation; we are first looking to determine what activities were delayed, and those could have been on any path at the beginning of the period (baseline or previous update), so all CPs are considered.

Critical Path delay is analyzed using the zero-TF path along with the Longest Path if those paths clearly show the delaying activities. Near-Critical activities, unless they are delayed such that they overtake the CP and drive the delay, are not considered to be driving unless you identify some special condition (which is likely to show that the path is wrong and the activities on the NCP should have been on the CP at the end of the period).

At the end of the period when identifying the causal activities for the delay, we identify what was the in effect as-built critical path.

In normal circumstances, using this Approach, Is the nearest or closest Float Path to be used along with “the” Critical Path for Contemporaneous Analyses on each Schedule Update?

We are concerned with only the activities that actually drive the delay. This is why project scheduling is different from forensic scheduling. In project scheduling, it is very important to identify all the float paths and the nearest float paths because we are trying to ensure that we monitor and pursue anything that might cause delay. In forensic scheduling, we already know what caused delays, so it’s just a matter of a good method, performed appropriately so our identification and quantification of delays are reasonable and “accurate”.

In Contemporaneous Analyses if Critical Paths change and money sums are apportioned to concerned parties or Delays are Compensatable or Not Compensatable — are the physical Sums of money or other, exchanging hands at the end of every Schedule Update based on analyzed Delays and apportionments or is all this recorded and settled monetarily at the end of Project?

In forensic analysis, the delay analysis is performed independently of any costs associated with delays and after quantum and responsibility are established, costs are assigned. This means that delays can cancel each other out before costs enter the picture. Compensability is the next step, after determining the extent of delay and the responsibility for the delay. But it does mean that when there are large differences between the liquidated damages due to the Owner and the extended general conditions due to the contractor, the differences are ignored when delays are offset during the analysis.

Using the As-Built Forensic Analyses, What if the Critical Path at the end of Project (As-Built) is not the same Critical Path as on the “As-Planned” Project when starting off — Does one use the same set of Activities on the As-Planned Project as reflected on the As-Built Project, even if the same “set” of Activities on the As-Planned version was nor “Critical”?

First, an “As-Built Forensic Analysis” is not a specific CPM methodology; all forensic analysis at some point relies on the as-built critical path. But the entire goal of a forensic schedule analysis is to determine what happened to the As-Planned CP at the beginning of the period to turn it into the As-Built CP at the end of the period. But the As-Planned CP did not cause delay; the As-Built CP was the cause of delay so whatever activities were delayed sufficiently to prolong the project at the end of the period were the driving activities and responsible for the delay. The As-Planned CP may never show up again in the analysis.

What are the Typical “Stage Gates” for a New Built Engineering, Procurement/Manufacturing, Construction, Commissioning Project?

Each project would need to have the project controls and engineering team determine what the needed stage-gates are, so there are not necessarily any standard or typical. But the graphic I showed in the webinar lists the phases that CMAA suggests, I just normally like to see a bit more granular approach.

The goal is to have the full disciplines of project controls engaged from the inception of the project before the designers are engaged. We like to start with Value Planning, which helps determine the right approaches, methods, and products before design, then provide Value Engineering to ensure the most economical approach is taken (while still providing the intent and value), which evolves into constructability reviews as plans are developed.

The stages of plan development are dependent upon the complexity of the designs but broken down into small enough stages that snapshots of cost, time, and risk can be taken early enough to allow mitigation of trending overruns. While the large cost and risk drivers are identified early so they can be monitored constantly, the stage-gate reviews are the vital parts of a successful project. At any point in the reviews, if we identify trending overruns, it calls for a serious meeting to determine what to do about the overruns. Done properly, this allows for appropriate “design to cost” approach.

But the budgets and schedules set early had contingencies applied based on risk-based contingencies so there is room for minor adjustments in the design. As the design is further developed, the design cost and schedule contingencies can be reduced on a drawdown schedule. Same is true of continencies carried during construction, and the monitoring of the risk plan allows draw down of risk-based contingencies as the risks vanish.

I have recently been tasked to show cause and effect of 7 compensation events, spanning 4 months from project start ( clause 31, NEC3) the problem is we have no agreed clause 32 programmes, how to show cause and effect to each month? In the absence of agreed clause 31 programme, how would you show the delay to a programme?

In general, I try not to get too embroiled into legal or contractual issues as they are country-specific, and I always recommend that the forensic analyst confers with the attorney or contract specialist to ensure decisions related to these are made appropriately.

A forensic analysis expert is not expected to be an attorney or make engineering decisions in the analysis. But I will tell you that Clause 32 of the NEC family of contracts requires programmes to be updated; revised to show actual progress and the effect on remaining work. Without this, there is no easy to calculate quantum, determine entitlement, and assign responsibilities.

If there are no updated schedules, you do not have an acceptable performance of the NEC contract and someone should have forced that to happen. But one approach would be to create the updates using project documentation if there are good sources. Quality of the source data will help determine which methodology can be used.

Another approach might be to recognize that you cannot determine accurately what happened in the intervals of no updates and use a comparison methodology that does not rely on that accurate data. That’s why source validation is so important in choosing the methodology.

In case that the Issued for Construction drawings changed than the tender drawings, but then the Contractor submitted the baseline time schedule within the same duration of the contract. After 7 months, the Contractor submitted a claim for time extension using this event (changing the drawings), how could he submit the substantiations for his claim and the impact on his methodology.

You are asking a contractual question and not a forensic schedule delay analysis question. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the IFC drawings issued at some point after the tender drawings were different, then you have a change management issue to address. If the tender drawings were provided by the Employer/Owner and the IFC provided by the Contractor, there should have been a reconciliation of the changes performed by the Contractor while the IFC drawings were being developed. That would have allowed the Employer/Owner to participate in decisions as to the added time. You should have had a tender schedule and then performed stage-gate updates to the schedule which should have captured the delays early enough to either modify drawings to eliminate the delays or work with the Employer/Owner to mitigate or extend the project duration. But the timing and documentation requirements should be spelled out in the contract so that’s a contract issue.

Is it acceptable that the Engineer may study the events impacting the project duration with a particular cut off date and exclude an event that the Contractor could not submit its substantiation so far?

Proper analysis is self-correcting, meaning that if the Engineer halts his analysis at a particular date which limits the Contractor’s claim when he analyzed the next period, any delays and entitlement will show up.

I have seen improperly implemented forensic analysis where the periods chosen to analyze were selected specially to create this situation. The case study in the paid training course we are offering has this example done by the opposition. That opposition analysis fell apart under questioning and resulted in a lost case for them. It is very important that the changing nature of the Critical Path be taken into account whenever possible, so limiting the analysis to a particular cut-off date means the analysis is incomplete.

Is it acceptable to use the nearest time schedule for the project duration ( greater by one month) for the delay analysis (EOT), which the Contractor may submit for monitoring only, in case there is no approved baseline schedule?

As soon as there are updates created, whether for monitoring or otherwise, the approved baseline schedule is no longer the appropriate basis for analysis. The Critical Path evolves as the schedule is updated and the updated schedules must be used for analysis unless they cannot be relied upon. Then a methodology should be selected that does not rely on those interim updates. The source data validation helps choose the methodology.

Is there a good source with examples for the Recommended Practice on Forensic Schedule Analysis based on the Method Implementation Protocols.

In the AACE archives, there are papers that were presented at the Annual Meeting and other conferences that do show examples of the methods. For example, Mark Nagata and I did a paper this past summer on the MIP 3.4, the Bifurcated Period Analysis.

In the CDR Committee and in that meeting track, a group of us have each selected a methodology and will be writing a paper on that methodology to present at the 2018 AACE Annual Meeting to be held in San Diego, California in June.

This is the huge benefit of attending the Annual Meetings, and the benefit of membership is that you can access the thousands of papers that are stored in the virtual library. There are also Professional Practice Guides (PPG) where are for sale at AACE that house collections of relevant papers. I believe we are getting ready to update the Forensic Schedule Analysis PPG this year.

Is there a good source with examples for the concurrent analysis?

There are good papers presented at AACE conferences on the topic.

Where could I find source/ link for Court cases for the Construction Industry?

Paul Levin has Construction Claims Online. That would be my recommendation, Paul has done a good job.

We do have a joint AACE/ABA (American Bar Association) project that we’ve been working on for two years; a book that will be a legal guideline support to the FSA RP. We teamed experts up with attorneys to write chapters, I wrote the expert portion of the Advanced Schedule Analysis chapter. It should have been published last year, but the ABA editors have had some health problems but we hope to see it published by the end of 2017, or not too late into 2018. It will have court case references, US only.

In case that 2 Contractors are working in one MALL building, the enclosures of the 2 Contracts are not showing the risk of such implementation ( only coordination is mentioned, but nothing mentioned about the risk of delays and the impact on the other Contractor ). Could the PM ask the Contractors to submit the schedule with full responsibility of the whole scope of works for both Contractors, the float to be shared, and the delay of one party would carry its consequences or even the other party shall recover of the precedence delay?

Multi-Prime programs are difficult as there is usually no legal ability to force the coordination. Often, the contract assigns coordination to one of the prime contractors, but there are typically problems as that contractor cannot force the others to cooperate, no matter what is contracted. Problems with coordination will typically fall back to the Employer/Owner.

Look at this type of project delivery method this way; even when we have an integrated program schedule which takes each contractor’s schedule and imports it into the program schedule, adds logic to control conflicts and inter-project dependencies, there is one Critical Path for each contractor’s stand-alone schedule and a different one for the integrated schedule once it’s imported. And even then, the Critical Path through the program will only show the last project to finish, the largest project in the program, and any constraints placed on the schedule. So, to manage and control the program, you must monitor each project CP, the integrated projects’ CP (and you need language in the contracts to require this), and all of the inter-dependencies that might cause a delay. It’s the inter-dependencies that will cause the claims.

Three of us at Arcadis who are involved with the Newark Airport Terminal A Redevelopment Program are writing a paper on the proper way to develop and manage a multi-prime program schedule for the AACE 2018 Annual Meeting. It’s complicated but if done properly can work well. I managed Program Controls on a $560M new container port facility with eight prime contractors and we finished early, with one change order/time extension (due to unforeseen soil conditions), so on-time and on-budget over four years.

In a jurisdiction such as English Law, barristers and lawyers are reluctant to use theoretical methods(forensic delays analysis) to apportion liabilities between the parties during trials and arbitrations? Is that a general practice in the arbitration environment in other jurisdictions?

I generally don’t like to address legal and contractual issues as an expert should rely on the attorney and contract experts for feedback and direction.

I can say in general that pretty much all jurisdictions in English (common) law are skeptical of theoretical analysis – especially if the delay has been absorbed and we know what happened. In Civil Law countries, there is still a reluctance to rely on theoretical methods, but there is no case law precedent set like in English law because civil law is codified by legislation whereas common law is based on the precedent of previous cases. When the legislation that creates the legal codes addresses the need to document analysis with actual data, analysis can be the same. But there are variations among civil law countries.

How can uncertainties be controlled and possible claims avoided for an EPC type complex project in which project scope develop upon project moving forward. The inaccurate schedule model caused by underestimation (time & cost) and wrong assumption during the planning stage. The uncontrolled variation orders and scope changes and what is the participation of supervision consultant on this issues.

This is the proper use of project controls and claims avoidance, but I’m happy to chat about it, just recognize that this is not about forensic analysis.

It’s all about embracing a robust risk management effort so budget and project duration are “risk-adjusted” to accommodate the risks, and contingencies are appropriate based on risks.

One of the reasons why EPC can go so wrong is that there seems to be a reluctance to properly provide stage-gate schedules and budgets that reflect appropriate contingencies and ranges of estimates and schedules based on the level of scope definition.

If the scope is established at 15% definition, it is not possible to provide a deterministic project duration that is accurate to +/-5% – as the scope is better defined (drawings are more complete, field investigation is more complete), the accuracy range gets tighter. Too many Employers/Owners do not appreciate this, and too many contractors do not want to raise the issue for fear of losing the contract. So that just pushes the discussions into claims. The contractor provides the budget and schedule on 15% drawings, produces a “tender” offer of cost and time, and then takes the drawings and continues the development to 30%, then to 50%, then so on, and does not address the increased time and cost needed for the further elaboration of the drawings.

Without the appropriate range of accuracy, and without a proper contingency, the final budget and schedule are destined to be wrong.

You answered your question in your first part, it’s all about uncertainty which is the risk. You implement proper and thorough risk management, set contingencies according to the Employers/Owners level of risk tolerance, use those to produce the appropriate range of accuracy of cost and time, and then draw down the contingencies as the risks disappear or are overcome. But if no one discusses this issue with the Employer/Owner, they are destined to end up in a claim when the final costs and time come in.

Picture a complete $100M project that had a $10M cost overrun and a 24-month schedule with a 6 month overrun. That’s a 10% cost overrun and a 25% time overrun; if you used a P80 schedule based on the Employers/Owners’ risk tolerance, it’s likely that you are still inside the contingency and same on cost. Imagine how much happier everyone would be if they embraced this philosophy; isn’t the goal to produce a schedule and budget that is accurate – meaning it meets the actual conditions in the field? If so, risk is the best way to get there. AACE has all sorts of Recommended Practices on this topic.

Is it acceptable that the Engineer may study the events impacting the project duration with a particular cut-off date and exclude an event that the Contractor could not submit its substantiation so far?

Proper analysis is self-correcting, meaning that if the Engineer halts his analysis at a particular date which limits the Contractor’s claim, when he analyzed the next period, any delays and entitlement will show up.  I have seen improperly implemented forensic analysis where the periods chosen to analyze were selected specially to create this situation.  The case study in the paid training course we are offering has this example done by the opposition.  That opposition analysis fell apart under questioning and resulted in a lost case for them.  It is very important that the changing nature of the Critical Path be taken into account whenever possible, so limiting the analysis to a particular cut-off date means the analysis is incomplete.


Introducing Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis Training

Chris Carson, FRICS, FAACE, FGPC, CCM, PMP, PSP, DRMP, CEP, a world authority on forensic schedule delay analysis, is going to instruct a “Live 4-Month Intensive Online Training” on Forensic Schedule Delay Analysis.

In this comprehensive course, you will learn how to properly perform forensic schedule analysis, so you can proactively prevent claims and resolve disputes.

The Forensic Schedule Analysis training course spans over 12 weeks. Each week builds on the previous one and helps you get the details right from A to Z.

To learn more about this training, click here.

Forensic Schedule Analysis





We appreciate your comments
(Visited 559 times, 9 visits today)


Get Instant Access to Free Training Videos

Learn how to start and step up in project controls and grow your career to the next level of professional and financial success

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Get Instant Access to Free Training Videos

Learn how to start and step up in project controls and grow your career to the next level of professional and financial success

You have Successfully Subscribed!