Construction Scheduling. Reviewing a Time Impact Analyses, TIA or Change Order Fragnet. Or, “Is this for real??”

SurpriseI am sometimes bewildered by the reaction some owners have when they review the Time Impact Analyses, (TIA) or change order time extension request they receive from the contractor.

What I see, sometimes, is the owner being completely surprised that the contractor believes there was any time impact by the change order or delay. We all know that many change orders do not affect the project schedule critical (longest) path. But when they do, it gets interesting….

Let’s say the owner has delayed some part of the project in some way, but only for 3 days. When the contractor submits their TIA or change order time extension request for 5 days, the immediate reaction is usually not so good.

I find this happens more often than not because the owner does not understand how work days and calendar days work and their effect on the contract finish date.

If the 3 days happen to be 3 work days delay to the start of work on a 5 day work week calendar, it is most likely going to push the work out to include a weekend “non-work” period, perhaps even a holiday. If this happens, it will most likely push the scheduled finish date out 5 calendar days. (Most contracts have the liquidated damages based on calendar days.) In this particular case, the impact to the schedule is 5 calendar days, not 3 days.

This is can also the case when weather-sensitive work is pushed into time periods with more expected and accounted for weather days. As it should be.

How can we, as professional planning and schedule consultants help owners better understand the TIA’s and change order time extension fragnets they receive?

There are best practices and white papers devoted to the development of “fragnets”. As professional planning and schedule consultants, we should follow these best practices. But, we also need to review TIA and time extension requests to verify the “fragnet” correctly models the impact and is inserted into the most recent updated or revised schedule with reasonable logic.

Then we need to explain that to the owner to refute or validate the request. I find that once the owner understands what is driving the time from “behind the scene” in the schedule network, they tend to be more comfortable with the request. Then the negotiations can start!

None of this is possible, of course, unless there has been a disciplined process of managing the schedule development and update/revision process to maintain a valid schedule for use in validating the requests.

What other methods have you found to help with this issue?

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP