The 6 Types of Delay Analysis in Construction

July 13, 2022

types of delay analysis in construction

The 6 Types of Delay Analysis in Construction

Whether it’s out of your control or not, construction projects are often subject to events that result in delays. These could occur for various reasons, from weather to poor planning. Regardless of reason, construction delays usually have severe financial impacts on projects. Missing progress even by just one day can put the project off schedule and cost money.

Specialists use delay analysis to identify the cause of delay source and the impact it had on the project. Once established, a claim can be filed if necessary to recover the damages from the delay. Multiple methods can be used to analyze the delays. Selecting the right one depends on the information and time available for the analysis.

Here is an overview of various delay analysis methods.

What Is Delay Analysis?

Delay analysis is the process of determining how the project schedule was impacted by one or more events that occurred during the project, as well as the causes and responsibility for those events. A delay analysis report will typically describe:

  1. How long the project schedule was delayed;
  2. Identification of the specific activities that resulted in the schedule delay;
  3. Definition of the events or causes for the impacts to those activities; and
  4. An assessment of the responsibility for those events or causes.

Contractors will use this type of analysis to request a time extension for events or impacts that were beyond their control or to seek reimbursement of costs due to the prolongation of work.  Owners may use this analysis to respond to contractors’ requests or to support assessment of liquidated damages for delays in being able to utilize the facilities when planned. In either situation, a detailed analysis is required to explain how the delays came about and assign responsibility.  

Depending on circumstances, a delay analysis may need to be performed before, during, or after a delay has occurred. 

  • Before the delay: You could predict how the delay will affect the project before the impacts have been incurred.
  • During the delay: During the events, you could analyze how it might continue to impact the project’s forecast.
  • After the delay: In this form of analysis, you wait until after the delay effects are apparent and then document them.

Common Causes of Delays

There are many common causes for construction delays that could require delay analysis. Here are a few examples:

  • Contractor management issues: A contractor might not adequately plan the work, provide sufficient workers, provide poor quality workmanship, have safety issues, or fall short in other ways that result in the project not progressing as planned, delaying the project completion work.
  • Owner impacts: Owners can have a significant impact on the contractor’s performance depending on its actions or inactions. Owners may make a large number of changes throughout the project, constrain access to areas when the contractor needs it, fail to provide approvals in a timely manner or impact the contractor’s ability to perform in other ways.
  • Reasons outside of control: The construction site might also face impacts because of situations outside the contractor’s or owner’s control. These could include manufacturers losing funding, a strike amongst workers, employee disputes that result in workers leaving, or other similar issues. 
  • Weather disasters: Lastly, a common reason for delays is weather-related incidents. Whether it is excessive rain or snow, floods, ice, or droughts, these conditions often make it difficult or impossible to complete construction work on time. Weather conditions can impair progress or make it unsafe for employees to safely work on-site, resulting in significant delays.

6 Types of Delay Analysis

There are multiple methods of delay analysis. The Society of Construction Law outlined the six most frequently used types of delay analysis and how they work. Here is a brief summary of each of the methods. 

1. As-Planned vs. As-Built Windows

This method is the most basic type of delay analysis. You can only complete the as-planned vs. as-built procedure after analysts study the delay and its impacts. Then, you directly compare the intended plan and the actual plan. You don’t have to make any extra observations or analyses as you compare the intention with what actually occurred.

This method has advantages such as:

  • Quick completion time
  • Easy to understand
  • Detailed

2. Collapsed As-Built

The collapsed as-built plan is another easily understandable plan you perform after the job ends. In this method, you analyze the delay by reevaluating your schedule after completing the job. You remove the delayed occurrences from the schedule, and this helps you determine when everything should have been completed. Then, the scheduler can use the updated plan to calculate how much of a claim they owe.

This method is also easy to use, but it requires a detailed schedule during the project. Without a detailed plan of the day-to-day activity, you might recall events incorrectly and complete an inaccurate analysis.

3. Impacted As-Planned

impacted as planned analysis

In the impacted as-planned model, you use a prospective method that predicts the delay effects. You do this by inserting estimated delayed events into an already created schedule. Then, you can create a projected schedule of events that includes the delays and the original plan. You typically make these plans before the actual delay happens.

You can then analyze the original as-planned timeline and compare it to the revised plan with the delays included. The time difference between the two schedules gives you a quantity for the delay.

This method is highly useful, but because it is completely hypothetical, it might not be as accurate as the other types. However, it helps you plan ahead for potential setbacks, which could save you more time in the long term.

4. Retrospective Longest Path

In this type of delay analysis, you use the critical path to determine a construction delay’s effects. The critical path is essentially the minimum amount of time needed to complete an entire construction project from beginning to end. With the retrospective longest path analysis, you compare the critical path with the original scheduled plan for the project. You can compare the timeline of events against the intended plan and use these comparisons to identify where setbacks might have originated.

After locating potential points of delay, an analyst can go back to original records and pinpoint what activity, in particular, caused the setback.

You use this method only after a project finishes, so it’s entirely retrospective. This allows you to make detailed conclusions on what occurred because all of the project details are readily available. This method is highly useful, but it might not be as accurate as the other types because it is completely hypothetical.

5. Time Impact

Time impact analysis focuses on the time differences before and after the delays to quantify the impact. In other words, you look at the schedule immediately before and after the event occurred and use the difference to determine how much time the delay added to the project schedule. 

The time impact method is relatively easy to use. It requires consistent, reliable data for each scheduled day, so you can’t use the method if this information is not available. It’s also dynamic, meaning that you can implement this strategy while the delay occurs or immediately afterward. You can also use this method after your project is finished.

6. Time Slice Window

Lastly, the time slice window method uses a detailed schedule to determine the delays. After completion, you divide the entire project into periods and analyze each delay as it occurred. Essentially, you closely analyze each time period of the project and how the delays affected the overall time it took for completion.

While the windows analysis method is extremely thorough, it’s also very time-consuming. It also requires highly detailed project records, baseline schedules, and completed schedules. Without those, you can’t use this strategy.

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Hire Spire for Dispute Resolution Services

Spire works hard to help clients with construction delay disputes. Our extended analyses give you detailed records on lost productivity, time, and money. Our construction delay experts take a comprehensive approach, analyzing every detail of disruption claims. Our services extend throughout the entirety of your construction project, ensuring coverage at every point along the way.

Contact us today to learn more about how Spire can help your project.

The content included in this article is for informational purposes only and does not reflect the opinions or recommendations expressed by any individual unless otherwise stated.

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