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Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

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Computers & Industrial Engineering


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/caie

A method for project schedule delay analysis T


a,⁎ b
Pier Luigi Guida , Giovanni Sacco
a
PMS Project Management Systems, Rome, Italy
b
Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, Rome, Italy

ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT

Keywords: The analysis of schedule delays is a traditional problem in almost any project of some dimension and complexity.
Project management Assessing schedule delays and allocating them to responsible parties and activities is a sensitive problem in
Schedule delays project management. In client-supplier, i.e. owner-contractor relations, the schedule delays represent a very
Critical path method important issue, often escalating into claims and undermining the commercial outcome of the whole project,
Delay analysis
involving lengthy negotiations and juridical cases, tracing to responsibilities and financial compensations. The
Claim management
Float management
present work tackles the problem of schedule delays, linking to literature already present on the subject and
extending some solutions already published. In particular we introduce the concept of “float bank”, as a mean to
assigning and sharing delay responsibilities between the project actors, i.e. owner, contractor and force majeure.
We introduce the implementation of an algorithmic method and application of a complete case study which can
be of interest to practitioners and stakeholders in the field of project management, potentially to integrate with
commercial or in-house software and assist current project control, claim cases and newly so-called forensic
project management.

1. Introduction Section 6 we provide conclusions and outline the possible evolutions of


the research and its further developments for industry purposes.
The analysis of the schedule delays is a permanent problem of
practical application in project management. From delays can depend 2. Literature review
the final success of projects, particularly where large sums are at stake
and time and cost are very sensitive variables and dependent on each Literature on schedule delay analysis (SDA) is plenty of attempts to
other. In client-supplier or owner-contractor relations, schedule delays produce rational ways to cope with the problem of sharing delay re-
usually represent a very sensitive issue, often undermining the com- sponsibilities between the project actors, namely Owner and Contractor
mercial outcome of the whole project. In fact, delay claims are a very (s) besides force majeure (so-called act of God). Literature on the subject
well-known issue which is often to be managed in order to settle has become to spread in the 90 s (Alkass, 1995, 1996; Schumacher,
lengthy negotiations and even juridical cases, involving responsibilities, 1995; Trauner, 1990) and is still flourishing.
claims and financial compensations. We recall that a conventional way to allocate delaying events en-
The present work tackles the problem of schedule delays, linking to countered on a project is to classify them according to their origin by
literature present on the topic, and contributing to solutions already the responsible party or event – either Owner, Contractor or Force
published. To this aim we implement an algorithmic method based on Majeure – and whether the same events are excusable, compensable or
the “float bank” concept, which can be of interest to practitioners and not. The analysis should particularly take into account the so-called
stakeholders in the field of project management. “snow ball” effect of delay perturbations, that is not always simple. For
The paper is organized as follows. In Section 2 we briefly survey the instance, if some delay is due to/originated by the Owner, the impacted
current literature; Section 3 recalls the Time Impact Analysis, which Contractor delay can be excused and compensated; in another case if
provides a general approach to the problem; in Section 4 we propose a works are interrupted due to force majeure causes, such as heavy
method for assessing delays and sharing responsibilities in a rational raining or snowing, the respective delays can be excused, but not
way between the involved parties. In particular, we describe the “float compensated (by the Owner), since this may be accepted as common
bank” approach and develop in Section 5 a case study application. In and bilateral risk, for which mitigation actions should have already be


Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: pl.guida@alice.it (P.L. Guida), giovanni.sacco@eng.it (G. Sacco).

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cie.2018.12.046

Available online 19 December 2018


0360-8352/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

taken in project planning. specialist issues, often dependent on the context and specific laws.
In summary we can have types of delays so defined, as will be later In practice we retain that the most relevant approach of analysing
described: schedule delays is the last one in the aforementioned list, i.e. Time
Impact analysis, which has most inspired this paper.
EC: owner-caused excusable compensable
EN: owner-caused excusable but not compensable
3. Time Impact Analysis
NN: contractor-caused neither excusable nor compensable.

Time Impact Analysis method may have different implementations


In particular, one may understand that such effects and originating
but the principle is to carry out project re-scheduling at each specific
events can be the subject of extensive treatment in contractual clauses,
delay or delaying event, for assessing the impact and updating the plan
while their correct analysis and allocation give often rise to hard claims
to a possibly new completion date, including a new critical path. A
between Owner and Contractor, due to contract revisions and monetary
picture of the project is developed each time it experiences a delay
impacts.
event; this favours the most real-time oriented approach of schedule re-
For this reason, SDA becomes one of the major issues of claims in
evaluation, and imputing delay responsibilities as soon as they occur. In
project and contract management, where project scheduling and related
general, a change of the configuration of activity floats also occurs.
tools (e.g. critical path analysis) can borrow some know-how and
When a rescheduling action is undertaken, some authors re-
methods from arbitration experts and practitioners, as reported in some
commend that a project subnetwork (or “fragnet”) could be identified
textbooks (Davison & Mullen, 2009; Keane & Caletka, 2015; Nagata,
which would provide some bounds to the effects of the delay event on
Manginelli, Lowe, & Trauner, 2018). More recently the discipline of so-
the overall network; however, thanks to current project software per-
called forensic project management has taken momentum.
formance this may not be necessary and would be needed only for very
To manage these issue, a number of delay analysis methods have
large and complex projects. Moreover, the project can be conveniently
been proposed, such as:
structured into more manageable parts, say workpackages, which can
be analysed for external impacts.
– As-planned vs as-built
The TIA technique appears the more promising in controlling the
– Impacted as-planned
project, due to its continuous or real-time approach, identifying sche-
– As-planned But for
dule issues as soon as they arise and reporting to management the
– Collapsed as built,
project status in updated form, in order to take advantage of corrective
– “Windows” analysis
and timely control actions. In fact, the later the delay problem or event
– Time Impact Analysis
is analysed and managed, the more difficult will be to understand
causes, re-create situations and assign relevant responsibilities.
For these approaches, the reader may refer to respective literature
In traditional literature authors report that the method may not be
(e.g. Alkass, Mazerolle, & Harris, 1996; Lovejoy, 2004; Pickavance,
practical due to the large number of delay causes and the laborious re-
2010; Hegazy & Zhang, 2005; Mbabazi, Hegazy, & Saccomanno, 2005;
planning work that is required. However, we would believe that the
Stumpf, 2000). For sake of completeness, in Appendix A we provide a
technique is now useable thanks to modern scheduling tools and project
very short outline of the first five methods above listed, while the last
management systems, which are taking place in the building sector
one is more focused in the present paper and recalled below. In addi-
applications and yard production and control offices, so that relatively
tion, professional associations like Society of Construction Law, Asso-
complex projects should not be dispensed any more. In addition, the
ciation for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International and
scheduling tool can become part of the more general accounting and
American Society of Civil Engineers have published fundamental re-
management control systems being adopted in the building industry.
ferences on the subject (AACEI, 2007; ASCE, 2017; SCL, 2017; SCL,
Needless to say, real-time delay assessment and control can consolidate
2017), which can have contractual implications. For the discussion to
project information and respective performance either by Owner,
follow in this research, we extensively refer to the paper by Braimah
Contractor or Force Majeure, as soon as schedule variations are de-
(2013), which also provides us the basis for the following case study
tected, avoiding the bias of missing or delayed recordings, which give
and comparative analysis. Furthermore, recent works to which the
rise to more claim cases, where data are no more available or difficult to
present paper particularly aligns are Al-Gahtani, Al-Sulaihi, and Iqupal
reconstruct.
(2016), Mohan and Al-Gahtani (2006), Yang and Kao (2012).
Finally, Time Impact Analysis (TIA) can become standard method
Let us observe that some of the aforementioned methods are sim-
for the problem in question, considering that its algorithmic results can
plified approaches to a more complex problem and do not generally
be less prone to questioning, in comparison with other methods, that
provide a systemic solution that can fully satisfy the practitioners. In
can provide more approximate solutions and different results on the
addition, the real-life cases that are object of claims and are brought to
same problem, as exemplified in Section 5.
Courts are generally more complex and demanding than academic and
In particular, when a TIA analysis is performed, an activity delay
textbook exercises. Nevertheless, some foundation theory is necessary
can impact a large number, theoretically all other project activities,
and can be helpful.
changing their floats and/or determining a new or more critical paths to
Moreover, several other specific issues arise on this subject. One is
the completion date. In this exercise we would observe that the effects
the delay concurrency, where both parties cause some delay on parallel
of re-allocating the single float values of other activities, linked to re-
time intervals, originating some concurrent effects, which introduce
sponsible parties concerned, may still be a problem of interest in lit-
additional analysis and interpretation problems (Nagata et al., 2018).
erature. In our conceptual model an activity float is like an economic
Another question is the float ownership, that is whether a float of an
reserve or resource which can be impacted by another activity beha-
activity, under a given schedule, is owned by the same activity (i.e.
vior, up to being nullified or forced to become negative, where a project
being a reserve benefit for either the Owner or the Contractor) or it
delay will occur.1 This would open the issue to more general problems
should be a common project reserve (Trauner, Manginelli, & Furniss,
referred to as float management (FM), also being the subject of
2011; Wang, Fan, Tsai, & Chang, 2015). Other questions posed by
subject experts are “pacing” and acceleration. The former can regard
the right to slow work activities dependent on another party’s slowness; 1
Assessment of negative floats and trends is a customary way to analyze
the latter the opportunity or duty to accelerate works and regain lost schedule delays phenomena, as discussed for instance in Davison and Mullen
time. In this paper we will not discuss in more depth these and more (2009).

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

discussion by authors (de la Garza, Prateapusanond, & Ambani, 2007; management textbooks.2 Specifically, the model traces the history of
Trauner et al., 2011; Wang et al., 2015). In particular, one argues that total floats variations originated by free float variations. These could be
the method of penalty clauses and other conditions by the delay as- taken into account during the contract preparation, however it is out of
sessment procedure should be present in the contract, as efficient means scope of the present paper to provide a thorough discussion of con-
for solving the claim management issues due to schedule delays. tractual impacts of float management which may also follow different
This path of thinking has brought us to think in terms of “float bank” approaches and legal principles.
as foundation approach to SDA and FM problems. We assume each In the same model, without any loss of generality, we would also
activity has an elementary account, determining a current float at any assume that normal planning occurs with all activities set at their “early
moment in the project, where the float value plays like reserve funds, start”, while the “zero float” activity condition implies that if a delay is
which may be decreased or increased by other activities behaviors, so propagated by some upstream condition, the same activity will possibly
representing credits and debts like in accounting practice. For instance, only shift by the same time value, say to the right on the temporal axis,
if we concede that floats are owned by the responsible party, Owner or besides other constraints. In case of advance or acceleration condition,
Contractor, any value decreased by the same responsible party are of no the symmetric to left temporal shift would similarly be possible
charge, while a decreased float by the other party would represent a Therefore the method is also taking explicit account of the so-called
future credit. Total float budget performance is eventually summarized shifts of activity.
at intermediate progress status or on the project completion date. Besides zeroing, floats can increase, decrease and become negative.
In summary, following each event, one updates the history of all var-
4. Proposed method iations of activity durations, shifts and floats, registering the new
schedule with new activity finish times and whether a change in the
In the sequel we implement a method for solving the problem of critical path(s) has occurred, that is any other activity becoming critical
assigning project schedule delays to the parties involved, say Owner, or hypercritical (negative total float) with additional project delay. For
Contractor and Act of God, within the framework of a commercial instance, one can evaluate the impacts due to:
project, where responsibilities can eventually be taken from accounts
accrued in the so-called float bank. The method essentially consists of a – Owner (e.g. impoverishing his or some contractor’s safety margins)
TIA algorithmic procedure and the administration of the float bank – Contractor (e.g. reducing project efficiency and escalating costs)
data. To this aim first we outline the algorithmic procedure than discuss – Force majeure, with no direct responsibility on the project perfor-
our float bank concept. mance, but accepted as God will.

4.1. Algorithmic procedure In the addressed model each delay event is more specifically re-
presented as a tuple, as in Fig. 1:
The management of delay impacts and respective float variation of
each activity means assessing the impact of each delaying event as the Ej = E (Ai , Rk , T , ij, description)
project proceeds, assigning pro-quota their float variation to the re-
where
spective party and recording of their evolution during the project, while
updating the respective float bank, as described in Section 4.2. In
Ej is the j-th event recorded by the project, occurring on Activity i-th
particular, during the execution of a project, the total float possessed by
at time instant T, which produces a δij delay, in the form of:
an activity may increase or decrease due to other activities behavior or
– a delay on the same activity and subsequent being on the critical
external events. For example, some activity may become critical due to
path
indirect impact, so being penalized in future progress without having
– f temporal shift, with free float reduction on any other successor
any direct responsibility.
activity;
All the delaying or disturbing causes are here defined as “events”. In
k is a subscript (O, C, F) for Responsible party (resp. Owner,
the model the events have the same attribute of delay type already
Contractor, Force majeure);
defined and resumed later (EC, EN, NN); in particular, each event im-
description is any additional attribute or note worth of recording, for
pacts a specific activity and takes responsibility of one of the involved
instance the delay type (EC, NN, …) and other data having some
parties; generally if a project activity is to be carried out by one party
interest of administrative purpose.
(either Owner or Contractor) the delaying event inherits the same re-
sponsibility. Nevertheless, a concurrent impact can also be attributed to
Moreover, we specify that industry recognizes three main types of
different activities; and the same activity can be assigned a delay event
delay events (Braimah, 2013):
shared by diverse parties. The procedure does not limit in principle the
number of the parties involved, so one can have more contractors, or
– events for which the Contractor assumes the risks of costs and the
one contractor managing more sub-contractors, whose specific perfor-
time consequences involved, which are often categorized as
mance should also be measured.
“Nonexcusable - Noncompensable” delays (NN);
The method manages these cases by introducing an appropriate data
– events for which the contractor is entitled to both time extensions
structure, defined as float bank or float account, which can be updated
and recovery of extra cost consequential upon the delay, i.e.
during the project dynamics and trace delays back to their original
“Excusable Compensable” delays (EC);
causes and responsible parties. Any time an activity duration and hence
– events for which no party is responsible (so-called acts of God)
its float is changed, float banking updates the relevant information such
which are often termed as “Excusable Non-compensable” (EN) de-
as:
lays.

– delay impact on the activity as well other successor activities


Due to the above classification, contractual penalties and other
– event causing the float change and its responsible party.
economic conditions can apply. The excusable delays usually give the
Contractor right to prolongation or extension of time (EoT). The
The method is able to detect the indirect or “snow-ball” impact of
free floats variations on downstream activities in a project schedule,
which may have not given due consideration in current project 2
We assume the reader is accustomed to free float (FF) and total float (TF)
definitions in project scheduling (e.g. Yang, 2017).

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

sorted by increasing time (T). A case study example of implementation


is reported in following Section 5.
The algorithm can also take account of concurrent delays, where the
joint effect by the Owner and Contractor responsibility is of particular
interest, besides other considerations. In particular, if another event
occurs when a previous event is still alive and producing its effect, say
in the interval [T, T + δ], the rescheduling action will be reactivated at
Fig. 1. Event definition (dashed line critical path). the latter’s starting moment, so taking into account both con-
temporaneous impacts. The general logic is to reactivate rescheduling
at every changing condition (i.e. start/end of any event); however, we
compensable delays give the Contractor right to be compensated for
will not develop this concurrent facility in the present paper.
sustained increased costs, e.g. based on average daily project cost or
In the generic implementation, rescheduling is carried out after each
any contractual agreed fee.
event, in chronological order as they occur, while for administrative
In case the delay responsibility is due to Contractor, e.g. due to
purpose one can also divide the project into management windows,
productivity less than expected, the Owner can invoke payment of pe-
phases or progress statuses (PS), according to some industry practice. In
nalties or liquidated damages. In case delays overpass given tolerances
this paper and following this work practice, we will better define “re-
agreed in the contract, this could eventually be clause to terminate the
schedule” the re-planning which should follow each event, and “re-
contract either due to Owner or Contractor breach.
baseline” the newly accepted schedule/plan consolidated at any project
Each event should be processed with rescheduling as soon as it
status or at the start of a new project phase. According to some man-
occurs or it has finished procuring the respective impact. After each
agement rulings, a re-baselined plan renews the project status and
event, one reschedules the project by the traditional CPM (critical path
clears the negative floats and their past impacts, attributing to the
method) algorithm and re-evaluates each activity status, qualifying
project administration the actual or up to current date performance.
their float content and driving responsibility.
This particularly may happen if the project has undergone a major
Finally, the general logic of the present Time Impact Analysis (TIA)
scope variation or other factors that recommend restarting from a new
method is summarized in macro pseudocode as follows:
baseline or contractual plan. In the case study (next section) we will
demonstrate the example of an intermediate project status (PS) as-
Input project data sessment, but no re-baseline, so the float bank will remain as it is with
Compute original project baseline (CPM, critical path method) no solution of continuity.
Do while project is not terminated: reschedule (e.g. every day)
Do while an Event impacts an Activity
Recompute Critical Path Method 4.2. Float bank
Record: activity duration variations, critical path changes;
Assign delay responsibility The float bank design consists of a set of tables, each accompanying
Update project duration and Float accounting
Wend
every activity throughout the project life cycle, and a project summary
Wend table as a whole. After each post-event rescheduling, the table of each
Output management accounting report. activity is updated. Hence at any moment one can have an account of
all integral (accrued) float values and originating causes, like a bank
The same logic can also be pictorially outlined as in process chart, statement. Then for each activity we have the following template,
Fig. 2. Fig. 3, where entries are easily understood as hereafter defined.
For the simulation of a realistic case study and to validate the The activity accountancy table (AAT) reads, headline of Fig. 3 left to
method, one is supposed to have all the recorded events in the project right, as follows:

Fig. 2. Process chart of the method.

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

En(A,R,T, δ) Table 1
Project activities.
Responsible Activity Duration (days) Successors

Contractor G1 5 G2
C G2 3 G3
C G3 6 G4, G5
C G4 14 G6
C G5 4 G6
C G6 6 G7, G8
C G7 2 G9
C G8 2 G9
C G9 4 –
C D1 15 D2
Contractor/Owner D2 10 D3
C/O D3 5 G9
Fig. 3. Activity float bank accountancy table (AAT).

• f′: f + Δf. A positive float means an acceleration.


• the last numbered delaying event, E , with tuple already described
n
(description here omitted); The set of AAT for all activities plus the PAT make up what is de-
• Activity number or any proper identity code; fined the float bank table (FBT). Let us comment that the tables so
• character (*): if present, indicates the activity is critical; obtained and updated after each rescheduling are based on a model
• character (^): if present, indicates the same activity is responsible of similar to the economic accounting practice (so called “T account” in
same event En. double-entry ledger), hence the definition of float bank. Each delaying
event looks like an economic transaction by one agent which impacts
In following rows in AAT one finds (according to algebraic sign, other ones; while changes are attributed to the responsible parties,
values put in the corresponding column as indicated): activities can register their “debts/credits” vs. the others. A snapshot of
the current float bank or database after each event, progress status or at
• d: the scheduled activity duration before the event E happened
n project completion, is the updated float bank, as exemplified in the
• S: days of delay (shift) propagated before the event to the next ac- following section, through the tables illustrating the case study.
tivity/ies One understands that in case of claims, the computer-assisted
• f: the float activity value before the event happened; if negative method can provide a more efficient, transparent and rational mean to
value, represents a delay which particularly impacts a successor settle claims than alternative clumsy and difficult ways to reconstruct
activity the work history from yar4d journal, paper records, etc.
• Δd: the variation of activity duration caused by the referenced event; As already outlined, the parties can agree that on occasion of peri-
a positive value represents a delay, a negative value an advancement odic or milestone progress reviews, i.e. at the end of each project phase
or acceleration or management reporting phase, the project status can be reset, pay-
• Δs: days of delay (shift), due to the current event En, propagated to ments and other economic conditions cleared, claims settled and a new
the next activity/ies project baseline determined; to this aim, performance results of in be-
• Δf: the variation of the activity float caused by event. Negative va- tween progress status periods are also of interest.
lues represent the amount of float that was consumed by the de-
laying event; positive ones indicate an increase of the float value
• d′: the new activity duration updated after the event, d′ = d + Δd 5. Case study
• S′: the new Shift value of the activity updated after the event, S′ =
S + Δs; if the activity is non-critical and after the current event In order to demonstrate the method, we have made resort to a small
becomes critical, S′ = Δs; if instead the activity passes from being case study already appeared in literature thanks to Braimah (2013).
critical to non-critical, S′ = 0. Here a project of a dozen activities is set up, as in Table 1, regarding the
• f′: the new float value of activity updated after the event, f′ = construction of a garage (G) and drive-in access (D).
f + Δf; in case the activity's float was negative and a float (positive Ten delay causes are then injected as delaying events, as in Table 2.
value) is received from the activity, then it has: f′ = Δf. An event will delay the corresponding activity by the value given under
duration impact.
The project summary or project accountancy table (PAT) is similarly In the present case study, the original project of 40 days duration
obtained as follows, Fig. 4, where; will take at the end 51 days (11 days of delay). The summary of delay
responsibility allocation, shared between EC and NN, as produced by
• d′: d + Δd. In particular Δd is inherited by a critical path/activity; different methods, is given in Table 3 from the cited reference
(Braimah, 2013), where the additional and last row (bolded italics)
represents the results obtained by the present application.3
As already said, different and more heuristic based methods may
provide different results. In particular, in the same reported table, one
method (Impacted as Planned) gives a total delay greater than the ac-
tual one.
Besides aligning to the various approaches present in the literature,
the method here described provides additional focus on the float dy-
namics and representation, which according to us is not so explicitly

3
Some minor differences are introduced vs. the original paper that do not
Fig. 4. Project float bank accountancy table (PAT). change the basic discussion.

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

Table 2 variation and activity re-planned duration are reported. For instance,
Delay events affecting the case study project. we make this exercise for activities G1 and G7.
Event Impacted Type Start date (absolute Duration impact First consider the G1 case, as in Fig. 8. In first column, besides first
chronology activity calendar day) (days) and last entries, respectively project S(tart) and F(inish), the reference
to each delaying event is shown, where an asterisk (*) denotes the ac-
1 G2 NN 6 1
tivity has become critical; in second column, the responsible activity
2 D1 EC 10 4
3 G4 NN 15 1
and respective party is indicated; then float and duration variations
4 G5 EC 19 1 follow.
5 D2 EC 24 4 In this case, G1 is critical from Start to Event n.6; there happens to
6 G4 EC 30 2 be no float variation and its planned duration remains constant
7 D2 NN 31 1
(5 days).
8 D3 EC 38 4
9 G7 NN 40 3 Now let us consider activity G7 history tracing, as in Fig. 9. In this
10 G8 EC 40 3 case particularly:

– the activity starts and remains critical until E6. Events E1, E3 and E6
cause float (negative) variations (resp. −1, −1 and −2). For in-
Table 3 stance, E1, imputed to activity G2 with C(ontractor) responsible
Summary of delay analysis results for the case study according to different
party, causes one day delay, since G7 is critical and its float passes
methodologies.
from 0 to −1;
Delay analysis methodology Delay (days) – similar actions are due to E3 and E6, where float value becomes −4.
One should notice that the activity was not per se responsible for the
EC NN
delay accrued up to this moment, having only “transferred” it in
As-planned vs As Built 9 2 project network from indirect causes;
Impacted As-planned 6 8 – E7 (by activity D2 performed by Contractor) makes the activity no
As-planned But for: longer critical, so its float passes from −4 to +3, and 4 days delay
(a) Contractor’s point of view 4 7
(b) Owner’s point of view 9 2
are propagated to project4.
Collapsed As-built 6 5 – event E8, due to activity D3 by Owner, adds 4 day float, which
Window Analysis 7 4 momentarily would accrue to total 7;
Time Impact Analysis 6 5 – the successive event E9 causes a negative −3 float variation, but
being due to the same activity G7, this, say self delay, implies a
corresponding duration variation or increase of 3 days; final event
developed in previous papers. E10 does not provoke any variation;
Our method analysis is summarized in the report provided after – finally, at project end, row F(inish), activity G7 appears not to be
each Progress Status (PS). This would be similar in already recalled critical, with 4 day float and duration of 5 days (that is plus 3 vs. the
work practice, where Owner and Contractor meet at given date/mile- original project plan).
stones for assessing the project progress and agree on payment schedule
and other contingent actions; in principle, a small project can consist of In addition, we can provide a summary time history of the activity
just one PS, at project end besides the start condition. In the case study, floats and how they have changed during the project life with re-
we carry out only two PS analyses (PS1, PS2) plus the initial project spective responsibilities.
status (PS 0). For example, reconsidering activity G7, the float variation history
The output report is represented in following Figs. 5–7, each con- by progress status is reported in Table 5. At project end, in case the sum
sisting of three parts, indexed a, b and c, respectively: of single responsible floats is negative, the total value is set to 0 (zero),
and the delay debited to the project.
– the Gantt chart, providing the project status as traditional schedule In summary, these tables are able to show the behavior of each
diagram activity and impacts by itself and other ones, thus providing informa-
– the summary table tion for possible transformation into cost values, say through some
– the float bank table. contractual penalty/bonus system; however, this theme will not be
further discussed in the present work.
The Gantt chart as usual depicts the project status and forecast to At the project level we can carry out a similar exercise. In fact, the
completion, identifying the various delays and their activity allocation, project account table similarly becomes as in Fig. 10, for both float and
due to each responsible party and their downstream influence, with total duration variation. As can be seen, in the present case study the
help of different colours or graphical patterns. The summary report project duration inflated from 40 to 51 days; being the total delay
provides a synthesis of the actual progress status and project delay (11 days) equivalent to the negative float on the critical path, as cus-
associated to responsible parties; finally, the float bank table FBT is the tomarily understood.
collection of AAT and PAT as exposed beforehand. For sake of space, in The same table results can be summarized as project summary delay
these reports the float bank is represented in reduced form, say with account with respective responsibilities by Contractor and Owner, as in
only a subset of referenced events. Table 6.
To sum up, we produce three snapshot reports, say at project start Finally, the same project account information can graphically be
(here PS0, 1st January), after the first progress status (PS1, intermediate depicted as diagram of delays as in Fig. 11 (there are no force majeure
project assessment on 5th February), and final progress status (PS2, impacts in the current case study).
21st February) coincident with the project end. The type of the illustrated academic case study may not be for-
The summary of project delays is represented in Table 4, where one tuitous, being a project composed of two “separate” and parallel
can see the performance within each progress status period and the
total at project end.
Data collected in float bank tables allow to trace the float history of 4
This is also similar in accounting, where a debt account is cleared to the
each activity; in this report, after each delaying event, the float detriment of another.

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Legend:
: original activity duration; : critical path

Fig. 5a. Gantt. Project start.

Fig. 5b. Summary report.

Fig. 5c. Float bank table (inital conditions).

Legend:
: original activity duration; : critical path; : Contractor delay; : Owner delay; : shift due to previous activity

Fig. 6a. Gantt. First project status.

Fig. 6b. Summary report.

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

Fig. 6c. Float bank table.

sequences of activities up to final integration, that is the garage and the The implemented method is also able of managing situations where
drive-in ramp. In particular, during the project life, the critical path more Contractors (C1, C2, …) are working on the same project. Needless
may shift form one stream of activities (sub-project) to the other; which to say, more detailed levels of analysis can be undertaken, where one
may create traditional problems in allocating and sharing delays based can classify more types of delay causes and events, within the respon-
on naive analysis. This particularly happens in our case from first to sibility of each party, such as Contractor’s issues of manpower pro-
second progress status analysis. In general, this can be the case where ductivity, machine breakdown, supply delay, etc., thus providing the
more Contractors are at work, being coordinated by the Owner or his same method a useful tool for better project control.
project management staff. One may understand that in these situations
one Contractor may pose claims for the other one’s detected or assumed
6. Conclusion and future developments
delays. It may also happen that the Contractor can be responsible of
more subcontractors or specialist suppliers whose performance should
The algorithmic method here developed can be the core of a more
also be controlled.
general approach to evaluate the schedule delays for on-field project

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

Legend:
: original activity duration; : critical path; : Contractor delay; : Owner delay; : shift due to previous activity

Fig. 7a. Gantt. Second Window status.

Fig. 7b. Summary report.

Fig. 7c. Float bank table.

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

Table 4 effort and optimistic schedule, and providing some buffer time as a
Project delay summary table. safety margin for all the activities of the sub-chain. By this practice each
Progress Project Duration Project delay Due to Due to activity should have a zero-free float, except the last one, where the
status (days) (days) Owner Contractor buffer time is allocated. Alternatively, this buffer could be considered a
dummy or buffering activity of its own, having the responsibility of
PS 0 40 0 0 0
absorbing the delay for a given sequence of activities.
PS 0 - PS 1 44 4 2 2
PS 1 - PS 2 51 7 4 3
In our terminology, this buffer would be a float bank assigned to a
sub-chain of activities, in order to safeguard the delay impact on other
Project End 51 11 6 5
partial schedule chains and finally on the overall schedule and critical
chain. In this view, we can adopt our approach to better analyze the
CCM. This requires assigning zero free float to each activity of a sub-
chain and allocate the float to the last activity as a sub-chain buffer,
which may also be interpreted as a “buffer activity”. The overall
schedule can be thus safeguarded by the “feeding buffers” of the chains
converging to the project critical chain, while the latter can also be
assigned a project buffer (total contingency) on its last activity or as
dummy project buffering activity.
In principle floats is a resource that should be given due con-
sideration in contractual arrangements, possibly integrated with the
concept of buffer management introduced in the Critical Chain method
(Leach, 2014). In this regard the float accounting, due to responsible
parties and delay causes consuming the feeding or project buffers, can
be considered within the concept of buffer control introduced in CCM.
These floats or buffers could for instance be given some budget at the
project start, shared by Owner and Contractors, or more subcontractors;
Fig. 8. Float variation history for activity G1 (days).
while the method would provide a rational consumption report for
assessing individual performance with some economic penalty/in-
centive system.
One should acknowledge the increasing interest on the Critical
chain method for the construction industry (e.g. Ma, Wang, Li, Gu, & Ai,
2014; Sharma & Yadav, 2017). In particular, Chakour and Mazzotti
(2015) report a study on the application of Critical Chain in ten con-
struction projects by some major engineering company in Brazil and
others around the world, stating this method is being applied by a
growing number of organizations with several cases of success. There-
fore, using CCM instead or integrated with CPM would become a viable
method for schedule delay analysis, embedding the proposed approach
as a useful technique for implementing the float or buffer management.
The method discussed in this paper is also suitable to be extended
and cope with other problems in schedule delay analysis regarding as
anticipated the assessment and repartition of concurrent delays, being
this the next step of the present research.
Coming back to practitioner point of view, though the method of
Fig. 9. Float variation history for activity G7 (days).
float accounting may appear conceptually simple, we do not have
knowledge of similar applications developed or reported on the same
logic in industrial projects. In particular, this implementation seems to
Table 5 be still missing in commercial software for project management; which
Example of float variation history for activity G7 (days).
can represent an interesting add-on application for practical purposes.
Period Total Contractor Owner Once implemented, the system can better support ways to settle claims,
arbitration and other procedures between claimant and defendant, re-
PS0 – PS1 −4 −2 −2
sorting to court as the last chance. Moreover, the accountancy model
PS1 – PS2 4 0 4
Project End 4 0 4 could be favourably accepted by project controllers who have some
economics oriented background.
Specifically, we are also developing the method as a web-based tool
applications. The implementation of the proposed model using ex- that could be made available and demonstrated for gaining feed-back
amples form literature and other published cases has provided positive from prospective users. This project is nicknamed ScheDA (Scheduling
results. More difficult is to get access or authorization for publication of Delay Analysis), which in Italian language means a recording or re-
real life applications, which often are related to legal cases and there- porting sheet, based on some template or standard format. The same
fore are protected by privacy or difficult to disclose. term originates from late Latin “schedula” or strip of paper, and later
One of the results of our model would be ability to cope also with meaning a “note” or something to use as reference. Beforehand scheda
concepts of the Critical Chain Method (CCM) (Leach, 2014), where meant one of the strips forming a papyrus sheet, and also literally in
activities are planned with very limited or no individual reserve (time Greek “skhida” (σχέδη), that is piece of wood, table, paper or small
contingency), and the planner sets aside some buffer only to the last notebook. The English term scheduling should certainly have the same
activity of a sub-chain (sequence of activities). This practice has been origin.
sometimes reported in literature as “aggressive” planning, that is for- The first step of a schedule analysis process in industrial environ-
cing activity managers to carry out individual activities with their best ment is to monitor, detect and analyse delays as soon as they occur, in

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P.L. Guida, G. Sacco Computers & Industrial Engineering 128 (2019) 346–357

planned and as-built completion dates is the time amount for which the
claimant will request for compensation. The critical path is determined
once in the as-planned and again in the as-built schedule.
If the sum of contractor-caused delays is Σ NNi = NN and the sum of
owner-caused delays is Σ ECi = EC; for assumption concurrent delays
(CD) is the lower of above two types. If for example EC > NN, the net
project delay for which the Owner is responsible is ODR = EC – NN. If
project delay at completion is PDC, the balance PDC – ODR = CDR is
assumed as the Contractor delay responsibility.

Impacted As-Planned

The various delays are formulated as activities and added to the as-
planned schedule in a chronological order as they happen, showing the
effect of each delay at a time and demonstrating how the project is
delayed. The effect on critical path is verified, re-computed after each
Fig. 10. Project float and duration variation history (days). delay addition. The amount of project delay equals the difference in
completion dates between the schedule before and after the impacts,
allocating responsibilities to either party, Owner or Contractor.
Table 6 However, the method fails to consider any changes in the as-
Project summary delay account (days).
planned programme, for maintaining the original finish-start relation-
Period Project Contractor C Owner O ship of all activities in the analysis.
PS 0 – PS 1 4 2 2
PS 1 – PS 2 7 3 4
As-Planned But for

Total 11 5 6
In this method all the delays of a particular party are injected to the
as-planned schedule. The difference between the actual project com-
order to take corrective and productive actions. Nowadays having a pletion date and the so partially adjusted schedule gives the delay
formal and easy modelling tool for taking note and real-time assessing amount for which the other party is responsible. Under this method one
of schedule delays can improve transparency and efficiency of project arrives at two points of view, respectively the Owner’s and Contractor’s,
management, particularly in public and complex works. Overall the which cannot provide the same results, particularly when the planned
ScheDA problem remains one of the most addressed issues in forensic logic does not remain unchanged.
project management, a relatively new discipline taking scheduling al-
gorithms and operations research into legal Courts and skilful project Collapsed As-Built
management offices.
Also referred to as “As-built but for”, this method is a form of “but
for”, as in previous case, which does not use the as-planned as a
Appendix A. Outline of Schedule Delay Analysis methods baseline schedule, but rather uses the as-built schedule. In fact it in-
volves removing of each party from the final network so that the re-
As-planned vs. As-Built sulting schedule will give the completion date but for the delays of the
other party. As above, two points of view results can be determined,
According to this method all delaying events (EC, EN and NN) are and if the planned logic remains unchanged, it appears more credible
depicted on the as-built schedule. The difference between the as- than the As-planned technique.

Fig. 11. Project delay summary diagram.

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