A Couple of Thoughts on Forensic Schedule Analysis

A Couple of Thoughts on Forensic Schedule Analysis

by Stuart Ockman

First, a little perspective. These thoughts are in response to articles and talks in the last several years suggesting that part of an expert’s role is to select the methodology that produces the best results for its client.

Here goes: While scheduling of live projects is an art, forensic scheduling is a science. If it were an art, it would not be accepted by Courts and Boards throughout North America and around the globe.

A properly performed forensic schedule analysis is both logical and repeatable. I know this to be true because a few times in my career the expert on each side of a claim reached the same conclusion. So what happened in the couple hundred other disputes? The opposing ‘expert’ either used the wrong methodology or used the right methodology but employed flawed logic.

While there may indeed be nine or more different scheduling methodologies that have been ‘accepted’ over the years as outlined in AACEi’s RP-29, that does not mean that all of these methods are reliable. It just means that the other side did not have an expert able to rebut these approaches by using a reliable methodology.

It is not an expert’s role to ‘methodology shop’ or pick the approach that gives the best result for the client, even if that result is wrong. That’s not just irresponsible but enters the realm of malpractice and risks running afoul of the False Claims Act or incurring other legal sanctions. Instead, an expert must use the best, most accurate methodology available and must use it consistently on all schedule-related claims. Any best methodology must chronologically compare a reasonable plan to what actually happened on the project and adjust the plan to reflect the impact of each controlling delay. Accepted methodologies that meet these criteria are Time Impact Analysis and Windows Analysis. If you’re currently using a different approach on any of your projects, take a look at the literature [one excellent source is Construction Scheduling: Preparation, Liability, and Claims by Wickwire, Driscoll, Hurlbut and Groff] or give me a call. I’d love to chat with you. And, please consider joining us at the College in spreading this and many other messages related to achieving excellence in scheduling throughout the industry and the world.

3 thoughts on “A Couple of Thoughts on Forensic Schedule Analysis

  1. Thanks to COS for doing great service to the industry. Some time it appears it is one blind leading other blind when it comes to Delay analysis of complex construction projects. Concept of critical path is completely disregarded which determines the duration of the project. Different methodologies only create confusion and muddy the water. Unsuspecting owners end up paying lot of money which should not have been paid.

  2. Mr. Ockman, I have not only admired your knowledge base, but have relied upon it in many situations. I, of course, completely agree with your article. The real trick, these days, is being fortunate enough to have “a reasonable plan” to be able to start the forensic process. As you pointed out, “any best methodology must chronologically compare a reasonable plan to what actually happened on the project and adjust the plan to reflect the impact of each controlling delay”.

    I find that the greater majority of schedules are poorly prepared in terms of modeling the ENTIRE scope of work and communicating the exact nature of the work relationships.

    I remain hopeful that through education and the adoption of proper standards, both current and upcoming professionals will learn and practice these processes.

  3. Mr. Ockman
    Thank you for your contribution.

    I am unclear what you mean by “Time Impact Analysis.” Is that MIP 3.6? or 3.7?

    To me, TIA, by itself, does not provide a complete schedule delay analysis because it does not account for concurrent delays and the as-built condition.

    Can you please elaborate?
    Thanks

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