By Steve Rizer
It is important to be “very, very careful” when choosing a forensic scheduling methodology because once the choice is made, there may be no going back, James Zack, executive director of the Navigant Construction Forum, advised professionals attending a webinar that WPL Publishing held last month. “The choice that the forensic scheduling analyst makes at the outset may be an irrevocable choice.” During the webinar, entitled “Schedule Delay Analysis: Choosing a Method,” he addressed a target audience of contractors, subcontractors, consultants, architects, engineers, construction managers, and public and private owners.
“You may not be able to change your mind, especially if you’re working on a contract that’s covered by the federal or one of the state false claims acts,” Zack said. “[That is] because changing the method during the claim analysis, or during the process of a dispute, rather, may lead to different conclusions, and it may cause the owner, if they’re a government agency on the other side, to file a false-claim allegation against your client. This is why it is so important to be very, very careful at the outset of what methodology you pick because once you pick it, you may be forced to live with it.”
Zack stressed that different forensic scheduling methods reach different conclusions even though they use the same facts. “Forensic scheduling is full of judgment. [It is] not a mathematical certainty. It’s not a really technical exercise, such as calculating structural stresses and what not, where there are known formulas, and everybody around the world uses the same thing. This is full of human judgment, so the different methodologies, using the same facts and the same project can, in fact, end up with different conclusions.”
Zack noted that the choice of forensic scheduling method “will depend, in part, on the contract and on the owner, and when I say ‘on the owner,’ I’m [saying that], generally speaking, forensic scheduling is done by contractors because they’re the ones making the claim. As a result, you need to be able to deal, as a forensic delay analysis, … with the owner. The contract may stipulate what technique has to be used. In the states, we’re starting to see some contract clauses that look like that, and if you’re bound by the contract, then you have to use that.”
During the webinar, Zack and Navigant Consulting Inc. Director Steven Collins provided a wide variety of information about forensic schedule analysis, including what forensic schedule analysis is, why forensic scheduling is important, an explanation of the different types of forensic scheduling methods, and factors that should be considered when choosing a method.
A recording of the webinar can be purchased via the following link: http://constructionpronet.com/Products/1030.aspx. Also of note, WPL Publishing has scheduled a 90-minute webinar entitled "Forensic Schedule Analysis" for Feb. 21 at 1:00 p.m. (EST). To register, click here.