The annual Construction CPM Conference recently concluded in New Orleans just as Mardi Gras was building to its Fat Tuesday finale. The conference draws industry leaders, consultants and attorneys from around the country and beyond. Boyd & Jenerette Partner, Randy Dow, participated in this year’s conference both as a speaker and mock trial participant. The conference provided insight into the cutting edge technology related to construction scheduling and claims management.
Coming Into Their Own – BIMs and 4D Modeling
For some time now the use of Building Information Models or “BIMs” has been on the rise. In many segments of the construction industry these computer generated 3D project models are not only prevalent, but required by contract. The availability of these detailed computer models has in turn provided claims consultants and other experts with a platform from which cost effective 4D graphic presentations can be constructed.
Bringing your delay or impact claim “to life” with a full color model synced to project events and milestones can be incredibly effective. Indeed, the focus at the CPM Conference was not whether claimants should use 4D graphics, but how to do it right. Randy had the pleasure of tackling this question along with his fellow panelists, Charles Choyce of Berkley Research Group and Benjamin Crosby, Director of BIM for WG Yates Construction.
One theme that evolved from their presentation, and other presentations analyzing similar issues, was the host of potential pitfalls and traps for parties seeking to dive into the world of 4D graphics. Those that fail to address simple issues, like conflicting project documents, or complex questions regarding the level of graphic detail on the model, risk ending up with models that are not persuasive. Even worse, parties risk having their sophisticated presentations labeled as impressive lies, designed to deceive the trier of fact.
A host of strategies and best practices which can be used to avoid this fate were discussed and will no doubt continue to be discussed in years to come as the use of BIM and 4D continue to expand.
Schedule Risk Analytics – The Next BIG thing?
The conference organizer, Fred Plotnick, observed that never before had the conference hosted so many presentations on schedule risk. Not surprisingly, the rise of schedule risk as a topic of discussion has gone hand-in-hand with the rise complex software designed to quantify schedule risk.
Schedule risk analysis and even the use of software to analyze risk is nothing new. However, as the software has become more complex and more capable, and as vendors compete to stake out a claim in this growing market, the industry appears to be at a tipping point. If sophisticated and quantifiable schedule risk analysis continues to gain acceptance as a reliable and widely used tool, litigation is the logical next frontier.
Industry standards and best practices have always been a vital consideration for claims consultants, as well as attorneys attempting to advance or defend delay and impact claims. What remains to be seen is the extent to which a contractor’s use of a “risky” schedule will become a significant element of a delay or impact claim analysis. What happens if a contractor proposes and attempts to perform on a schedule which is later calculated to have had only a 1% chance of achieving an on-time completion? What if an owner or general contractor demands that a contractor perform under a similarly risky schedule? As these questions are explored, the larger question concerning the relative significant of new risk analytics will be answered.
Randy R. Dow
Partner / Practice Group Leader