Since 2006, Jacksonville, Florida, and Orlando, Florida, law firm Regan Atwood has handled many construction company delay disputes.
Where on a Critical Path Did Construction Delay Occur?
Covid has increased construction delays and Managing Partner Jeff Regan discusses the issue: Where on a critical path did a construction delay occur?
In construction, time is money. So when you have a delay, it costs everybody more money. It costs the developer-owner more money, it costs the contractor more money because you’ve got to pay people for a longer period of time before you get the project done than what you planned
Everybody loses when there’s a delay on a construction project.
Usually you can pinpoint the schedule, because a critical path methodology schedule is one that sets out where is the path to the different trades from beginning to end. And that if that little path,
little portion, that they call them, fragments, gets delayed, that it’ll delay other work that’s dependent on it being completed before it can get done.
Because in construction, you have to put the foundation in before you can start to put the outside structure of the building up.
Before you can go vertical, you’ve got to have a foundation to go vertical on.
And so concrete foundations are clearly on the critical path for building the framing of a building. You can’t even start it without that being done.
You can’t put in windows until the structure of the building is up, and in whatever material, brick, metal, whatever you’ve got, concrete on the building is up. You know there’s just all kinds of things that complicate the build.
And they manage these complicated plans with a computer program called Primavera. And it lays out a critical path. And it tells you the time period you had to do each task. And they set them up so that you have an early start, and a late start; an early finish and a late finish.
And they do it that way, because there’s give and take. And each one of those are affected just a little bit, because something may be critical to another task. But they can start the task before you totally complete the previous task. They just can’t finish it until that’s done.
And so, that’s where the following task could have an early start date. You can actually start early when 80% of this work is done. You just can’t complete it until 100% of that work is done.
So, it’s pretty complicated, but usually you could target where the task ran over its time and whether or not it was justified that it ran over its time, because of a force majeure or something else.
Covid-19 Has Complicated Construction Plans
With Covid-19, it’s harder to pinpoint where on a critical path the delay occurred, because it could be occurring virtually everywhere because you’re having people out sick on you, and you just don’t have the manpower. So it’s kind of like it affects all the tasks.
So, in my clients’ positions here, what I’d go back to say is that the clearest proof you would have for your scheduler, they do what they call manpower loading schedules on a construction job.
So, you have a manpower loading schedule decision, going to work five days a week with three crews in eight hour days.
Now, if you can go back and show that you only worked with two, or two and a half crews on five hours a day, for eight hour days and it affected all of the tasks on the critical path as a result.
Well, then that’s how you would show that loss, because I’m not meeting my manpower on it, that I predicted I needed to get the job done during that time period.
And by the way, I have my office records with my human resources pushed and pieced, and it shows the number of people that are out, it shows on our daily reports, the size of the crews that will report. And that I had people out.