What are the indications a schedule is not well-developed, especially for use in construction delay analyses? Although many things can hamper a delay analysis, schedule quality concerns are of particular significance. Below is a brief list of issues commonly used to discount the credibility of construction schedules in delay analyses. Since criticisms used to deride baseline schedules may not apply to status updates, we’ve examined each separately.
Main Issues of Baseline Schedules
- Does not accurately reflect the project scope: If a baseline schedule does not depict the full scope of the project or misrepresents certain aspects then any representations made from the schedule will be brought into question. Baseline schedules must provide a proper reflection of the complete scope and planned sequence of activities.
- Incomplete networks and unreliable critical path: One of the most common issues with construction schedules is the absence of logic ties between tasks and/or the presence of open-ended activities (activities missing either a predecessor or successor relationship). These flaws produce erroneous float calculations which, in turn, can lead to inaccurate critical path depictions.
- Insufficient Level of Detail: Investigating the impact of delay events is more difficult when a schedule lacks a sufficient level of detail. For example, assigning liability for delays is complicated when activities are assigned to multiple parties. When this occurs, it is usually because the activity is not sufficiently broken down. Baselines should be detailed to a point where each activity can be assigned to one party.
- Errors and omissions: Any error or omission such as a contradiction between baseline dates or the absence of contractually required sequences brings the credibility of a schedule into question.
Main Issues of Schedule Updates
- Non-reflecting status updates: Accurate actual start and finish dates for activities are often not incorporated into the schedule updates. This issue is often the result of infrequent progress reporting, inaccurate reporting of actual start and finish dates, or simply due to user error. Taking the time to ensure accurate reporting of actual dates can pay off if an entity finds itself in need of a forensic delay analysis down the road. As-built verification can be a very expensive endeavor if the schedule data is unreliable.
- Excluding Schedule Impacts: Delay events, even those that may be self-inflicted, must be incorporated into schedule updates. Doing so ensures the analysis is comprehensive. Only carrying select events can skew the findings of an impact analysis or mask the presence of concurrent delays.
- Obsolete Logic: An updated schedule should not only reflect the actual start and finish dates of activities, but also incorporate any logic revisions or modified sequencing throughout the course of the update period.
A well-developed schedule provides a significant advantage for construction delay analysis practices, and can significantly decrease effort-intensive tasks. Proper competencies in construction scheduling, planning, and project control are vital in successful construction claim management practices.