A computer-aided systematic approach to time delay analysis for extension of time claims on construction projects
A review of existing literature and research findings indicated that whilst the incidence of time extension claims is increasing, Contractors are failing to gather, analyse and present data as evidence to such an extent that there is a high rejection rate of claims made, and a consequent significant dissatisfaction rate amongst Contractors with awards being made. The current difficulties experienced by Contractors in managing information on site locations, combined with the low investment in, and usage of Information Technology, forms a major contribution to the problems arising in the preparation and presentation of time extension claims. This research work identified from empirical evidence, together with construction technical, professional and academic literature, the essential criteria and features of an efficient and effective time delay analysis approach for preparing time extension claims in connection with construction projects. The evidence from these sources led to the formulation of an alternative approach based on an integrated computer-aided systematic technique which relies upon analysis of project-specific performance data. The current practice of time delay analysis as currently executed by Contractors was formulated as a problem whose solution is implemented by the use of the disciplined capture of factual job data, systematic analysis including a computer modelled simulation exercise and logical compilation of results in report format. This allows full cross-checking and source identification of data used in the approach, and resultant computations. The proposed approach employs an improved method of data capture, computer aided delay impact simulation and presentation of results. The proposed approach abbreviated to CoSTAR requires the use of spreadsheet database, word processing and project planning software, all of which are currently industry standard, readily available and consequently do not require to be specifically written. The approach is designed to work on industry standard computing "PC" hardware of a specification suitable to run a full range of business software. The proposed approach (CoSTAR) was tested and validated with performance data from a multi million pound, major fast track building refurbishment project and used Lotus 123 version 2.4, WordPerfect version 5.1, and Pertmaster Advance software. The approach was also subject to separate validation by a panel of experts. The testing process showed the approach to be feasible, and capable of identifying and quantifying the critical delay activities which caused the time overnin to the project's fixed contract period.