By Steve Rizer
There are several basic rules to follow when conducting a schedule analysis for a construction project, Trauner Consulting Services Inc. Principal Scott Lowe told a group of professionals attending an Aug. 23 webinar, entitled “Comprehensive Approach to Project Delay Analysis.” Lowe addressed a target audience of contractors, subcontractors, public and private owners, construction managers, owner representatives, architects, and other design professionals who provide project oversight services.
“Use contemporaneous schedules when available and reliable, and hopefully you set up your project best practice … to have an available and reliable, complete, reviewed, approved, [and] updated schedule,” Lowe said. “Recognize the schedule as a dynamic planning tool. That means ‘We’re not going to use just the as-planned schedule to evaluate delays; we’re going to use the as-planned schedule and subsequent updates.' Recognize also that because it’s a dynamic planning tool … the critical path could shift. It might be the bridge substructure at one time, and it might be the bridge superstructure at a different time.”
Another basic rule is to evaluate delays based on the status of the project at the time the delays occur, Lowe said. “In other words, look at the schedule in place at the time the delays occur. Use the contemporaneous schedule. And finally, it’s really only delays to the critical path that can delay the project completion date, so your focus, when you’re doing this kind of analysis, is on those critical delays.”
During the webinar, Lowe lauded the merits of using a computer for scheduling, but he did express a concern about such a capability. “[Using a computer] really speeds up the process, makes it a lot easier to do, and the software that is available to us now for the purposes of scheduling is substantially more capable than it was when I got started and really is better thought of as a project management tool than just a scheduling tool. It really helps you in all facets of the management of the project, including, of course, the measurement of delays. My only caveat with regard to modern scheduling software and the scheduling software we use these days is that you do need to be careful because it can be misused.”