Project scheduling can play an important role in the success of a construction project. This is especially true as new project delivery methods such as design-build further shorten already compressed work schedules. Agreed-upon project schedules allow the owner an opportunity to efficiently plan its production operations and therefore generate revenue, while the contractor can efficiently plan its use of labor, equipment, and resources to optimize the construction process. Therefore, it is not a surprise that many construction disputes revolve around project scheduling and schedule delays – time is money.
Interface Consulting’s professionals are highly knowledgeable and understand the complexities associated with project scheduling and the factors and issues that can arise by accelerating the work. Acceleration occurs when a contractor’s work is expedited to complete a particular work activity earlier than planned. Although a contractor may accelerate voluntarily, acceleration-related claims and disputes are typically encountered on construction projects when the contractor makes efforts to recover the project schedule after the project has suffered delays due to causes it believes are beyond its control. There are several ways in which the work can be accelerated, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Working overtime or implementing a new shift
- Providing additional labor or adding other resources (i.e., equipment)
- Re-sequencing work activities.
Each of these acceleration efforts can be effective in some cases; however, acceleration efforts can be expensive and do not guarantee early or on-time completion of the work. Additionally, the root cause of delays is often a complicated topic on construction projects, and the parties may not agree on who is responsible for the delay and who should bear the acceleration costs.
As experts, Interface Consulting utilizes a time-tested methodology for analyzing and evaluating acceleration-related construction disputes. Our analysis may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Review the contract for relevant information including provisions relating to acceleration, notice, and entitlement issues.
- Research the facts through a review of contemporaneous project documentation and interviews with key project personnel.
- Evaluate key project data including project schedules, as necessary, and project cost information.
- Perform a critical path schedule analysis, as necessary.
- Establish what acceleration efforts were made and determine the method most suitable to quantifying the related disruptions and loss of productivity.
- Quantify costs associated with the acceleration efforts.
In our analysis, Interface Consulting typically considers several factors including the following:
- Whether the delay was excusable or compensable
- Whether proper notice was provided
- Whether an allowable schedule extension was or was not granted
- Whether the owner directly or constructively accelerated the contractor’s work
- Whether the contractor made reasonable attempts to accelerate, resulting in additional project costs
Acceleration efforts, such as working overtime and shift work, performing out-of-sequence work, stacking trades, and overcrowding on the project site contribute to reduced labor productivity. In addition, when a contractor adds labor, there may be a loss of labor productivity as new workers may not be familiar with the work or may require training before achieving normal levels of productivity. In addition to the disruptive impacts mentioned above, working overtime for extended periods of time is known to reduce labor productivity. Many industry studies, including the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), The Construction Industry Institute (CII), and The Business Roundtable have analyzed the impacts of overtime on worker productivity.
Courts, arbitration panels, and mediators often rely upon scheduling experts to analyze project records, identify the root cause of acceleration issues, quantify associated acceleration costs, corroborate the cause-and-effect relationship, and establish entitlement to damages. Interface Consulting’s experts have in-depth knowledge of schedule delay analysis methods and quantification techniques, and extensive experience evaluating labor productivity issues, performing root cause analyses, and quantifying damages. Additionally, our consultants also serve as scheduling experts and have testified in US federal and state courts and numerous arbitrations administered under AAA, LCIA, UNCITRAL, and ICC forums concerning schedule delay and acceleration issues.
It should be noted that the selection of a particular schedule delay and/or acceleration methodology depends on the project facts, the nature of the events being analyzed, the nature and extent of available project data, and may vary from project to project. Interface Consulting has extensive experience handling construction acceleration claims and our construction experts are skilled at tailoring our analysis approach to suit a project’s needs and constraints.