Impediment, delay and prevention - FIDIC

Cause and Effect: The Key to Successful Construction Delay Analysis

I’m sure that you have heard the advice that if an extension of time claim is going to succeed, the claim must demonstrate a link between cause and effect. The claim must demonstrate that the event(s) on which the claim is based affected the time for completion. Showing the impact and time involved is key.

Delayed activities may not be on the critical path. If this is the case, the delay event may consume float. In turn, this may cause subsequent activities to become closer to the critical path. But if the event does not affect the critical path and thus, the time for completion, there will be no extension of time.

Risk Allocation

The risk allocation of the contract may make the contractor responsible for the effects of some delays. If there is no entitlement to additional time in the contract there will be no extension of time.

Sometimes contractors realise towards the end of the project, that they will not complete on time. In such a case, delay penalties will likely be applied and they will incur overrun costs.

At this point, they might consider they need an extension of time. This is in contract to considering whether entitlement to an extension of time exists. Consequently, they hurriedly submit a claim for multiple delay events. They assert that all these delays entitle them to an extension of time up to the date that they completed. This is known as a global claim. In all but exceptional circumstances, it will be rejected by arbitrators and the courts and thus, by contract administrators. This is because such a claim does not demonstrate the effect of each event, either individually or cumulatively, on the time for completion.

How To Show Cause And Effect?

So how can we demonstrate a link between cause and effect in our claims? The answer is by carrying out a suitable form of delay analysis. The purpose of such an analysis is to illustrate the effect of the claimable delay event on the time for completion by using suitable programming techniques.

There are many forms of delay analysis. The selection of the most suitable method depends on several things, including:

  • The existence of suitable programmes.
  • The quality of the baseline programme.
  • The quality of the records.
  • Where the project is in terms of execution at the time the claim is being prepared.

Considering all factors is key to successful analysis. The Society of Construction Law’s Delay and Disruption Protocol gives excellent advice on this subject.

Necessary Knowledge

Delay analysis can be a complicated subject and demands suitable knowledge and skill. It is, therefore, necessary to have suitable resources available to prepare this very essential part of the claim.

If you are the person responsible for preparing the claim and you are using others to perform the delay analysis, you don’t have to be a programming expert. However, you need a strong overview of the subject so that you understand the protocols, techniques and how to identify specific causes and their effects. This will enable you to check and demonstrate a number of things:

  • The accuracy of the analysis.
  • Why the particular form of delay analysis is suitable.
  • How the analysis was performed.
  • What the analysis demonstrates.

If this topic interests you, you’ll be delighted to find that we now offer delay analysis e-courses. Take a look and join us to bring your knowledge up to speed.