Article #754 Using Project Management Information Systems to Rebuild the Project Records and Documents for Forensic Delay Analysis on Construction Projects

It is rarely you will find a construction project that will not require carrying forensic delay analysis either to claim a delay or to counter a delay claim. Such delay analysis depends largely on what has happened on the project where most of the project team members who were involved in delivering the project are not available anymore. Therefore, it is important to keep detailed and accurate records throughout the construction project life cycle in case of any delays or disputes that need to be resolved. Nevertheless, this is not always the case.

Records that may be needed for forensic delays on construction projects include the project schedule, daily reports, weather reports, correspondence between project stakeholders, change orders, submittals, requests for information, work inspection requests, non-compliance reports, interim progress invoices, and any documentation related to disputes or delays. Additionally, photographs, videos, and other forms of documentation that show the progress of the project may also be useful.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb will force the project team members to maintain those records and documents in a format that the forensic delay analysis team can use. Nevertheless, for projects that did not use a PMIS during the project delivery, the forensic delay analysis team can use PMWeb to capture and structure those records in a format that will support their effort.

The first action that needs to be done is to use the PMWeb document management system to map the physical filing structure maintained during the project delivery. There might be a need to create additional folders and subfolders for the forensic delay analysis. All registers and records for the change order, request for information, work inspection requests, and other processes will be uploaded to their relevant folders. In addition, all picture and video files should be uploaded into their designated folders or subfolders in the PMWeb document management repository.

Records and documents that are only available in hard copy need to be either scanned or at least take a picture of those records and documents before they are uploaded into their relevant folders or subfolders. For both options, it is important to define the data attributes including notes to be added to each record.

The second action is to capture all baseline schedules and all subsequent schedule updates and revisions. Those could be available in either Primavera P6 or MS Project. Using the PMWeb schedule import function, those schedules will be imported either in XML file format for Primavera P6 to overcome the issue of the Primavera version used in preparing the schedule or in MS Project file format. For each imported schedule, all documents that were associated with the schedule submission, review, and approval need to be uploaded into the PMWeb document management system and then attached to the schedule submission.

For registers that are usually kept in MS Excel for daily reports, weather reports, correspondence between project stakeholders, change orders, submittals, requests for information, work inspection requests, non-compliance reports, interim progress invoices, and others, those need to be uploaded into PMWeb. For the technical submittals and cost estimates records, PMWeb can import this information from an MS Excel file where the data fields in PMWeb and MS Excel can be mapped. Technical submittals will include the submittals for shop drawings, as-built submittals, material samples, warranties, suppliers’ and subcontractors’ qualifications, method statements, and others.

For the many other remaining processes that are readily available in PMWeb like those for requests for information, daily reports, meeting minutes, transmittals, change orders, progress invoices, and others, pre-defined MS Excel templates are available to be populated with the registers data in a format that enables uploading the data from the backend. Records for processes that are not available by default in PMWeb will be imported to the PMWeb transmittal module.

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The uploading of those MS Excel files will automatically create those records in PMWeb. The forensic delay analysis team can then select the records that need to be further detailed, for example, linking a request for information with the project schedule activity that could have an impact. In addition, attach all supporting documents that were uploaded to the document management repository as well as a link to other records from the other processes that are maintained in PMWeb.

Another type of record that the forensic delay analysis team would also need to expand the current captured data is the daily report process. The PMWeb daily report module allows capturing the daily details of all works done by trade, vendor, location, activity, quantity, and others as well as the labor and equipment resources deployed on-site including details of idle equipment and overtime working hours. It also allows capturing the details of disruption events, safety incidents, and weather conditions to list a few. All pictures and relevant documents will be attached to the daily report record.

For construction projects in that Building Information Modelling was in use, the PMWeb Model Manager allows importing those BIM files whether they were in Revit or Navisworks file format. Similar to the imported project schedules, the forensic delay analysis team can capture the details of all records associated with each BIM model. Further, the forensic delay analysis team can select BIM model objects and attach those to the different records that are needed for the delay analysis.

In addition, to the captured project records and documents, the forensic delay analysis team might need to create their templates to document their analysis. For example, templates for Time Impact Analysis and Delay Analysis Checklists can be created to ensure that all performed activities are well documented when the final forensic delay analysis is submitted for action. There is no limit on the number of templates that can be created in the PMWeb form builder for those processes.

For the processes that will be managed by the forensic delay analysis team, it is highly recommended to assign them a workflow to ensure that they have been reviewed and approved by the team members who have the right authority levels. The workflow could also include tasks that need to be reviewed by the entity that the forensic delay analysis team is preparing the claim on their behalf. The PMWeb workflow allows defining those workflows that will incorporate the approval authority levels as per the delegation of authority rules.

One of the key advantages of having PMWeb as the single repository of the details of the uploaded project records, documents, and schedules as well as all the records of the forensic delays analysis processes, the forensic delay analysis team can automatically search for records and documents that include certain keywords. The selection can be restricted to certain types of project records.

The selected records can then be saved as one of the issues that will be used for the forensic delay analysis. Again, there is no limit on the number of issues that can be created using the PMWeb project management information system.

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a new trend for team collaboration and that is the team does not need to relocate or meet in person. The work from home or anywhere else has become a face. The PMWeb activity boards allow the forensic delay analysis team to create an electronic page where they can invite their members and other entities to manage the tasks and documents that are relevant to each delay analysis issue.

Using business intelligence and data visualization tools like MS Power BI, the forensic delay analysis team can better investigate, analyze the visualize the captured data. Those reports are interactive reports for which the displayed information will automatically change depending on what has been selected by the forensic delay analysis team. For example, a report can be created to have an in-depth analysis of all requests for information issued on the project.

Further, having the data captured from all project records might help the forensic delay analysis team to detect a trend for some actions or even a correlation between two different project management processes. For example, the forensic delay analysis team might detect a direct correlation between requests for information and claim notices and non-compliance reports, and work inspection requests. This correlation will prompt the forensic delay analysis team for further analysis.

For projects that are using Building Information Modelling, the forensic delay analysis team might create reports that associate the BIM data with the data captured in PMWeb to provide a better understanding and visualization of the claim issue. For example, a report can be created to include a table of all received RFIs, with their complete details, such as the subject, whom it was received from, when received, the query and its answer, when the response was sent, and days withheld, among others. The report also includes three donut visuals to summarize the RFIs by Status, Reason, and whether the response to the RFI is out of the project’s SoW or not.

In conclusion, whether a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb is proactively used to ensure that all project records and documents are captured to support the everyday project management processes and be ready to provide the needed records and documents for current and forensic delay analysis, or used after the fact to support the forensic delay analysis, the value that PMWeb brings to the forensic delay analysis team is something to be considered.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM, is a Senior Project Management Consultant with over 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value of over US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping-Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in project management, including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for over six years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), an accredited Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), an Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE), and a Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Master’s in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation from George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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