Claim oriented project planning
Updated: Oct 10, 2017
If you have been assigned to manage a project schedule - and i mean by manage is to plan, update, make revisions etc. then you are probably in the middle of cross fire between the parties involved, often without knowing it.
In the old days i was taught that planning and control is all about completing the project on time and within the budget. Nowadays, planning has become the key component of construction claims, or in other words the judgement instrument to who will be accountable for a delay and the extra costs associated with it.
Having said the above, it is vital to follow certain rules to insure that the project schedule is updated and maintained in a way that will support a future claim and avoid common errors that planners do. Such errors will almost always be discovered too late:
Make sure that the actual dates entered during an update are matching with the site records. For example, material approval dates in the schedule needs to match with the corresponding dates on the material approval forms hard copies, concrete casting dates should match with material delivery notes from the concrete supplier, and so on.
You need to have a comprehensive well built project schedule (programme) that is approved by the Engineer as a "baseline programme" at an early stage of the project. This can be practically difficult especially if the programme development period has crossed into the actual construction phase.
Activity ID's should be kept the same across the updates and revisions of the schedule. If changes to ID's become necessary, a record linking the old to the new ID must be maintained for future reference.
Beware of the major delay events and what activities are affected by them, then keep a record of the start and end dates of each event and update the affected activities accordingly.
All updates must be saved in both pdf and native forms so that they can be used later for analysis.
Avoid making changes to logic, adding constraints, or changing the original duration during an update. Changing logic is particularly troublesome as it can seriously affect the outcome of a claim.
Variations are to be added to the schedule update as an additional activity (preferably under a separate WBS), and be linked to their successors in the schedule.
Never delete the completed activities from the updated schedule as this will erase the activity history and may compromise your claim.
I will provide more in depth tips on how to make the planning function in a project more relevant to a claim or dispute resolution situation in future posts