By Steve Rizer
When undertaking an initiative to identify and measure loss of productivity in a construction project, “you always want to start with understanding how … the project [was] planned to be built,” William Ibbs, professor and group leader in the Construction Management Program of the University of California-Berkeley’s Civil Engineering Department, advised a group of professionals attending a recent WPL Publishing webinar.
“Go back and look at the baseline schedule,” Ibbs suggested. “Look at the staffing on the project. Verify that [the staffing] was reasonable. Look at the sequence. Look at the time periods when the work was going to be done. Look at the pacing of the work, the rhythm of the work, the throughput of the work. Make sure that the original plan was reasonable and [was] a good starting point.”
Ibbs additionally urged webinar attendees to “interview the people who are involved in the project and really press them [about project productivity]. Really try [to] challenge them. Just don’t [record] what their thoughts are on the project. Just don’t take them on face value. By challenging them, you’ll do yourself a favor in two ways: one is if the case goes to court, you will have a more rigorous and deeper understanding of the project and be able to testify with more credibility; likewise, you will have subjected the percipient witnesses to the third degree, and they will have had a test run against what [the] opposing counsel’s going to subject them to.”
It is also important to choose a measurement method that suits the project, Ibbs said. “Look at and do a first pass in terms of how much money is really at stake here. We don’t want to do a detailed earned-value analysis of loss of productivity that’s going to cost us hundreds or maybe millions of dollars to prepare if the claim doesn’t justify that type of investment.”
Ibbs additionally stated, “One thing that you need to consider when you’re preparing a loss of productivity claim is, ‘How much money is at stake, and how much do I want to invest in preparing my claim?’ If it’s a real small claim, if it’s a small claim in terms of the amount of money at stake, a modified total cost claim might be sufficient. On the other hand, if you’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake or millions of dollars at stake, you might want to use a more sophisticated and a more detailed method such as some of the models that I’ve developed or even a Measured Mile approach.
During the 90-minute webinar, entitled “Lost Productivity Claims: Identification and Measurement,” Ibbs also discussed why productivity is important, the symbolic impact of a change, the synergistic impact of multiple changes, cumulative impact loss of productivity and measurement, design change versus design loss of productivity, and other topics.
A recording of the webinar can be purchased via the following link: http://constructionpronet.com/Products/1047.aspx.