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Construction Scheduling Consulting – DETERMINING THE CRITICAL PATH

The Holloway Consulting Group is a construction consulting firm that provides construction scheduling consulting, CPM scheduling and other services to a wide range of construction clients. Some of our projects and cases are shown at Construction Cases and Consulting Engagements.

Construction Scheduling Consulting – DETERMINING THE CRITICAL PATH

Critical Path Method (CPM) schedules are based on a network of interrelationships between work activities that dictate the order in which the work is to proceed. It is through the use of activities and their interrelationships that the longest-path through the network, e.g., the “critical path”, is determined. These characteristics separate CPM scheduling from planning tools such as bar charts that do not impose interrelationships between activities.

Before determining the schedule’s critical path, the consultant must first define the schedule’s logic and activity durations. Schedule logic consists of interrelationships that link the tasks required to perform the work. The most commonly used link is the “finish to start” relationship. Under this relationship, the predecessor activity should be completed before its successor activity can start. Activity durations are a function of the scope and resources available to prosecute the work. Construction activity resources can include labor, material, equipment, subcontract, etc. Once all activity resources, durations and schedule logic are established, the critical path may be calculated.

CPM SCHEDULE FLOAT – OWNERSHIP

Whether in the contemporaneous scheduling of projects or the retrospective analysis of claims, the Holloway Consulting Group is widely known as an expert construction consulting firm in CPM scheduling. In our experience, most construction schedules in 2011 are prepared using CPM. In CPM scheduling, “float” is the contingency or slack time associated with non-critical path activities. One must first be familiar with CPM scheduling terminology and methodology to understand float ownership, e.g., which party owns an activity’s float. Since the introduction of CPM into the construction industry in the late 1960s, a question has perplexed both CPM experts and the legal profession alike – “who owns the float?” At the dawn of schedule delay claims, legal authorities viewed the contractor as owning the float. Thereafter, as these forums began to accept CPM as the standard methodology for demonstrating schedule delay claims, they increasingly focused on the causes of a delay rather than float ownership. As a result, float ownership became subordinate to causation, which is Holloway Consulting’s prior practice area.

One of the results of this shift in focus has been owners’ inclusion of float-sharing clauses in contracts that typically provide that float is not for the exclusive benefit of either party. In effect, such clauses can promote a float “free-for-all”, where the benefit of the float is realized by the party that first consumes it. The first-come-first-serve approach has sacrificed analysis for expediency, and has provided owners with wide discretion in their use and management of schedule float. However, an unfair allocation of float can distort the results of a CPM-based delay analysis.

Read Holloway’s next post on our Construction Scheduling

 

The Holloway Consulting Group, LLC
12081 W. Alameda Pkwy., #450
Lakewood, CO 80228-2701
Denver Phone: (303) 984-1941
International : (888) 545-0666
Fax: (303) 716-0432

Email: steve.holloway@disputesinconstruction.com
Blog: disputesinconstruction.com
Web: hcgexperts.com

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