Forensic delay analysis is the process of determining delays to resolve disputes in construction projects. It involves the investigation of activities within the schedule to identify the actual causes of delay to the critical path. Through such analysis, it is also possible to quantify the amount of delay caused due to each activity.
While this amount of critical delay ought to be the same, one may often find that during a dispute, opposing parties end up with contrasting conclusions regarding the extent of the delay and the activities causing it.
This disparity is partly dependent on the method used for analyzing delays. While there is no standard method for forensic delay analysis, some methods are more effective than others. Therefore, to avoid errors, having a clear understanding of these methods is extremely essential.
Some of the most commonly used methodologies in forensic delay analysis include the following.
The Impacted As-Planned method involves the insertion of fragnets into the planned or baseline schedule of a project to determine its impact on the completion date. Fragnets are activities or event/s used as a representation of changes that were not a part of the actual project.
Through a comparison of the completion dates in the planned project schedule and the modified schedule, experts can quantify the delay. It is suitable for less complex disputes or analyzing potential delays before starting a project.
However, while the methodology is simple, it does have some constraints. It is a hypothetical model as it assumes that the work will proceed as per the baseline schedule, i.e., it doesn’t consider the actual progress of the work.
The Time Impact Analysis is another hypothetical method of forensic delay analysis that is useful for determining the extent of delays caused by each activity in the schedule. In this technique, each delay event is individually analyzed to assess its impact.
The extent of the delay is calculated by looking at the date of completion of the project before and after the delay event.
It is a suitable method for analyzing complex projects and can measure concurrent delays effectively. However, it does not rely on actual data and can be time-consuming in case there are several delay events. Moreover, it is susceptible to manipulation.
As-Planned vs As-Built is a widely used forensic delay analysis method that is preferred by experts due to its simplicity. The method involves comparing the baseline or planned schedule against the actual performance.
The technique compares the as-planned start and end dates of each activity within the baseline schedule with the start and end dates of the activities in the actual construction schedule. This makes it easier to identify delayed starts or extended durations of activities in the schedule.
While the method is quite easy to perform and understand, it is most effective for simpler projects with shorter durations. Implementing this method is not as easy for more complex projects.
To conduct a forensic delay analysis successfully and with a narrow margin of error, being aware of the advantages and limitations of each is necessary. Choosing the most suitable method can avoid confusion and help resolve delayed claims effectively.
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