6 Questions Construction Contractors Must Answer to Manage Delay and Disruption Claims

In a construction delay and disruption dispute, the judge or adjudicator will usually base judgement on a key overriding factor: how the decisions that the project administrator or project manager should have taken at the time the delay happened compared with the actions that were actually taken.
The examination of a delay and disruption claim will often call into question the promises that were made at the outset of the programme, the quality of the project planning, the methods and validity of communication between contractor and employer, the competencies of individuals involved in project planning and the contrator’s administrative procedures.
The granularity of the information required to fulfill these information needs and the scrutiny under which information is placed can come as a shock to many facing a delay and disruption proceeding for the first time.
There are many aspects of a programme that will be analysed during a delay claim and the contractor must be in a position to have answers to those questions that will fall under the scrutiny of a delay and disruption adjudicator or judge. Following are six of the most poignant questions that will require explanation:
1. Is the contract programme which has been signed off by the client the same programme that the contractor has been following?
2. Has the contractor been officially recording all strategic assumptions associated with the programme, like the duration of key activities, the requirements of third-party involvement, and so on?
3. Has all project progress been entered and updated accurately and in a timely fashion into an accessible repository, and are any remaining durations accurate?
4. Do the records show clearly the resources that were planned against those that were deployed? Is there clear evidence of the activities that each of the resources was engaged upon?
5. Can the contractor produce sufficient and specific evidence to support each change event?
These are not the only questions and there is perhaps one further, crucial, question:
6. Do the available records match those of the other parties?
They are ‘scary’ questions and it’s tough to provide concrete evidence on all of the above unless you have ensured from day one that you have the capability to capture that information. Reputations are at stake during delay and disruption disputes. Spreadsheet project management templates are simply not enough. Having professional construction project management tools in place to manage every programme, and learning how to use them to support project time management, project communications with the customer and good collaboration is one of the only ways to mitigate the risk.

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