Four of the nine SCoP sessions included a presentation involving schedule risk. Fifteen of the seventeen AACEi sessions included at least one presentation on risk. Interest in this topic continues to grow. (I will be moderating one of the panels at the ENR Risk & Compliance Summit in NYC this coming September).
Three of the AACEi sessions included a presentation on half-step updating and analysis and four on issues involving the Measured Mile. A question was raised at the CDR committee meeting as to why so many papers on Measured Mile.
This was answered at my session by a show of hands as to how many practitioners were currently working a delay claim versus a disruption claim.
As we continue to claw our way out of the Great Recession, investment demands for speedy completion are still low. But even with the tools of Lean Construction, where better productivity may be more important than earliest completion, projects are still prone to interference and resulting claims.
The presentations on use of the Half-Step stressed the need to distinguish between measurements of past performance and proposals to mitigate the impact of not meeting past targets. (This may be done properly possibly by adding resources, or improperly by simply dictating better performance in the future).
Thus the first (half) step is to record only actual (did happen) dates when an activity did start, finish, experience a stated percent complete or meet conditions that a firm estimate of remaining scope and duration remains. The CPM calculation analysis performed at this point reveals how we did this past period.
The second (half) step is to then incorporate proposed changes to the initially conceived “plan of execution” to recover from unanticipated lost productivity or progress (or occasionally to capitalize on new opportunities based on superior progress), and recalculate to see how these changes improve over the first half step results. (The O’Brien / Plotnick text, CPM in Construction Management, McGraw-Hill, strongly suggests this second step should be used only for an internal “what if” review and not submitted unless part of a signed or constructive change order). However, many users of P6 and other software products do try to hide poor past period performance by mixing with proposed future efforts. And thus the need for the skills presented in these papers to segregate the past from the future with a means to re-create the first half step.
The four papers on Measured Mile or means to calculate lost productivity all stressed a similar concern to distinguish comparisons of “apples to apples” from “apples to oranges”. The ability to evaluate similar scopes and conditions is the basis of any analysis of lost productivity. Thus the level of detail in which records are maintained are a key component of such analyses.
From the abstracts of the presenters:
“The measured mile method, a widely accepted approach involved in lost productivity claims, compares the productivities of identical or similar work between non-impacted or least impacted and impacted segments of a project.”
“However, recent trends in Measured Mile claims represent a transformation and weakening of the otherwise reliable and repetitiously-lauded methodology.”
“[Proposed] a modified method that can reasonably calculate the damages … considering the feasible rates of production of activities over time … [may include] the 'learning curve' and … EVM (Earned Value Management).”
“[Proposed] a means to determine the costs of disruption at the activity level and to analyze the cumulative impact to cost and schedule at the project level.”
Work that is performed pursuant to a carefully preconceived “plan of execution” is likely to have a better productivity than that performed to the hastily conceived “mitigation plan of the week” as a contractor scrambles to keep crews and equipment productive while facing numerous disruptions, all while attempting to also keep the project on schedule. The additional support provided the Measured Mile analysis by comparing weekly updates (first half step) and consequent revised plans (second half step) may go a long way to convincing other parties of the indirect as well as direct impact of the various disruptive events.
The audiences of these papers, comprised largely of the CDR (Construction Dispute Resolution) committee of AACEi, agreed that the further detail provided by better defined scopes and distinguishing between past actual and future proposed dates for performance of said scopes will result in greater reproducibility and more persuasive analyses. And thus, the Measured Mile begins with a single Half Step.
----Papers and presentations are now being solicited for the fourth Construction CPM Conference, to be held January 21-24, 2014, at the Swan & Dolphin Resort, Walt Disney World, FL. More information at http://www.constructioncpm.com/