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Construction Delay Analysis Techniques

Construction Delay Analysis Techniques

A Review of Application Issues and Improvement Needs

Construction Delay Analysis Techniques

Construction Delay Analysis Techniques

The time for performance of a project is crucial to both the employer and the contractor, emphasizing the need for a thorough analysis of project delays. This analysis is essential for making informed decisions regarding potential time and/or cost compensation claims. While existing delay analysis techniques (DATs) have been helpful over the years, they have not effectively resolved the high incidence of disputes associated with delay claims. The limitations and capabilities of these techniques in practical use have been a major source of disputes.

To address these issues and identify improvement needs, it is paramount to develop a comprehensive understanding of the techniques. This paper aims to contribute to that understanding as part of a wider research work. The approach includes evaluating the most common DATs based on a case study, reviewing key relevant issues often overlooked by the techniques, and identifying necessary improvements.

Through the evaluation, it became evident that different techniques yield varying analysis results for the same delay claims scenario. This discrepancy is primarily due to the unique application procedures employed by each technique. However, there are several critical factors that are often ignored in the analysis but significantly impact the delay analysis results. These factors include the functionality of the programming software used for analysis, the requirements for resource loading and leveling, the resolution of concurrent delays, and the adoption of an appropriate delay-pacing strategy.

To improve the effectiveness of delay analysis techniques, it is crucial to address these overlooked issues. First, the functionality and reliability of the programming software used for analysis should be thoroughly assessed and enhanced if necessary. This will ensure accurate and consistent results across different techniques. Additionally, incorporating proper resource loading and leveling requirements into the analysis process will provide a more realistic representation of project progress and its impact on delays.

Resolving concurrent delays is another crucial aspect that needs to be addressed. Concurrent delays occur when multiple events contribute to a project delay, making it challenging to attribute the delay to a specific cause accurately. Developing effective strategies and guidelines for resolving concurrent delays will enhance the accuracy and fairness of delay analysis results.

Lastly, the choice of an appropriate delay-pacing strategy is vital for conducting a comprehensive delay analysis. The strategy should consider various factors such as project complexity, contractual obligations, and the specific circumstances surrounding the delay. Developing standardized guidelines and best practices for selecting and applying delay-pacing strategies will contribute to more consistent and reliable analysis outcomes.


Enhancing Delay Analysis Techniques for Effective Resolution of Construction Delay Claims


The duration of contract performance directly impacts the profitability of construction projects for all stakeholders involved. Project owners experience lost profits when they cannot utilize the project as planned, while contractors face additional costs due to prolonged stays on the site. To address these issues, standard forms of contracts incorporate provisions that anticipate delays caused by the actions or inactions of the contractor, the owner, or external circumstances beyond both parties’ control. Contractors are typically excused from consequences or entitled to compensation for costs incurred due to delays beyond their control. On the other hand, owners can seek liquidated damages from contractors for failure to meet the project completion deadline. Both scenarios require a detailed schedule analysis to identify the events responsible for project overruns.

Over the years, various Delay Analysis Techniques (DATs) have been used by owners and contractors to investigate and resolve delay claims. However, a significant number of cases end up in costly disputes due to the parties’ inability to settle amicably even after project completion. Delay claims have become a major source of conflict in the construction industry, posing significant challenges for resolution. As a result, researchers and industry practitioners have made efforts to enhance the application of existing DATs through the development of “good practice” documents. Notable examples include the “Delay and Disruption Protocol” by the UK’s Society of Construction Law and the “Recommended Practice on Forensic Schedule Analysis” by the Association for Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACEI) in the USA.

Despite these contributions, proper analysis of delay claims that considers the impact of various scheduling and delay issues remains lacking in practice. Therefore, it is crucial to increase awareness and incorporate these issues into delay analysis to ensure fair and amicable resolution of delay claims. This paper is part of a wider study aiming to address these challenges and focuses on discussing existing DATs, reviewing commonly overlooked issues in the analysis process, and identifying improvement needs. The scope of the broader study involves a comprehensive investigation of the theoretical and practical applications of these techniques to develop a framework that enhances their proper usage, ultimately reducing the difficulties faced in resolving delay claims.


To illustrate the application processes and weaknesses of the techniques, this paper presents a hypothetical case study. By examining the analysis within this context, it aims to provide a clear understanding of the techniques’ practical implementation and their limitations when presenting or defending delay claims.

Conclusion: Effectively resolving delay claims in construction projects requires robust delay analysis techniques that consider the complex interplay of scheduling and delay issues. While existing DATs have been useful, disputes and difficulties in resolution persist. To overcome these challenges, there is a need for greater awareness and incorporation of commonly overlooked issues in delay analysis. By developing a comprehensive framework that addresses these issues, stakeholders in the construction industry can enhance the proper usage of DATs, leading to fairer and more efficient resolution of delay claims. Continued research and collaboration between researchers, industry practitioners, and professional organizations will play a crucial role in advancing the field of delay analysis and improving project outcomes.


Common Delay Analysis Techniques:

Critical Path Method (CPM):

The Critical Path Method is one of the most widely used delay analysis techniques in the construction industry. It involves creating a project schedule that identifies the critical path, which is the sequence of activities that determine the project’s overall duration. By analyzing the impact of delays on the critical path activities, CPM helps determine the extent of delay and its effect on the project completion date.

As-Planned vs. As-Built Method (APAB):

The As-Planned vs. As-Built Method compares the originally planned project schedule (as-planned) with the actual progress and sequencing of activities during construction (as-built). By identifying variations between the two schedules, this technique assesses the causes and impacts of delays, enabling parties to analyze the responsibility for project delays and evaluate potential compensation claims.

Time Impact Analysis (TIA):

Time Impact Analysis is a retrospective delay analysis technique that focuses on analyzing the impact of specific delay events on the project schedule. It involves updating the project schedule to incorporate the effects of each delay event individually and evaluating the resulting changes in project completion date. TIA provides a visual representation of the time impact of each delay event and helps in quantifying the delay and assessing liability.

Impacted As-Planned Method (IAP):

The Impacted As-Planned Method involves analyzing the delay impact by incorporating delay events into the project schedule. It assesses the effects of delays by modifying the as-planned schedule to reflect the actual delays and their associated effects. This technique compares the original schedule with the impacted schedule to identify the causes and consequences of delays, assisting in determining liability and potential compensation claims.

Windows Analysis:

Windows Analysis focuses on identifying specific periods or time intervals during the project duration that are most susceptible to delays. By analyzing the critical windows, this technique helps determine the causes and effects of delays during these crucial periods. It allows parties to prioritize their efforts in mitigating and resolving delays to minimize their impact on the project’s overall timeline.

Key Issues Often Overlooked:

Despite the availability of these delay analysis techniques, certain issues are frequently overlooked, leading to challenges in resolving delay claims. These issues include:

Inadequate documentation: Insufficient or incomplete project documentation, such as daily reports, progress photos, and meeting minutes, can hinder accurate delay analysis. Robust documentation is essential for identifying and substantiating delay events.

Concurrent delays:

Concurrent delays occur when multiple delay events overlap, making it difficult to attribute the delay to a specific cause. Proper analysis and identification of concurrent delays are crucial for fair assessment and resolution of delay claims.

Resource loading and leveling:

The impact of resource availability and allocation on project delays is often overlooked. Proper resource loading and leveling analysis help identify how resource constraints contribute to delays and provide insights into potential mitigation measures.

Programming software limitations:

Different scheduling software platforms may have limitations in accurately representing complex project schedules. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of the software used for delay analysis is crucial for obtaining reliable and consistent results.

Improvement Needs:

To enhance the effectiveness of delay analysis techniques and improve the resolution of delay claims, the following improvements are necessary:

Standardization and guidance:

The development of industry-wide standards and guidelines for applying delay analysis techniques would provide clarity and consistency in their usage. “Good practice” documents, similar to the Delay and Disruption Protocol and the Recommended Practice on Forensic Schedule Analysis, can serve as valuable references for practitioners.

Incorporation of best practices:

Emphasizing the importance of robust documentation practices, including contemporaneous records, would enhance the accuracy and reliability of delay analysis. Encouraging parties to maintain comprehensive records from the project’s inception can significantly aid in resolving delay claims.

Training and education:

Providing training and educational programs on proper delay analysis techniques can enhance the knowledge and skills of industry professionals. This would promote a better understanding of the limitations and capabilities of different techniques, ensuring their appropriate application.

Collaboration and information sharing:

Facilitating collaboration and information sharing among industry stakeholders, including owners, contractors, and experts, can foster a better understanding of delay analysis issues. Platforms for exchanging experiences, lessons learned, and best practices would contribute to improving the overall resolution of delay claims.


Enhancing the application of delay analysis techniques is crucial for fair and amicable resolution of construction delay claims. By addressing the common issues often overlooked and implementing necessary improvements, stakeholders can achieve more accurate and reliable results in assessing project delays and attributing responsibility. The development of standardized guidelines, continuous education, and collaboration within the industry will contribute to better outcomes in the resolution of delay claims, ultimately improving project efficiency and reducing disputes.


Example of Delay Analysis in the UAE:

In the context of construction projects in the UAE, delay analysis plays a significant role in resolving disputes and assessing compensation claims. Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where a construction project experiences significant delays, and the parties involved need to analyze the causes and impacts of these delays.

The project involves the construction of a commercial building in Dubai. The contract between the owner and the contractor specifies a fixed completion date, with liquidated damages applicable for any delays beyond the agreed-upon timeframe.

During the course of construction, several events contribute to delays, such as design changes, unforeseen ground conditions, and supply chain disruptions. The contractor believes that these events were beyond their control and seeks to analyze the delays to determine their responsibility and potential compensation.

To conduct a delay analysis in line with UAE law, the following steps may be taken:

Collect Documentation: Both the owner and the contractor gather relevant project documentation, including the contract agreement, project schedules, progress reports, meeting minutes, and any correspondence related to the delays. This documentation serves as evidence for the delay analysis.

Apply Delay Analysis Technique: In this case, the parties may choose to utilize the As-Planned vs. As-Built Method (APAB) or the Impacted As-Planned Method (IAP). These techniques allow for a comparison between the originally planned schedule and the actual progress of the project, taking into account any delay events and their impacts.

Identify Delay Events:

The parties identify the specific delay events that occurred during the project, such as design changes or unforeseen ground conditions. Each event is analyzed to determine its effect on the project schedule and its impact on the completion date.

Allocate Responsibility:

Based on the analysis, the parties determine the responsibility for each delay event. If an event is deemed to be beyond the contractor’s control, it may be considered an excusable delay, potentially relieving the contractor from liability for associated costs.

Assess Compensation Claims:

For delays that are attributable to the contractor, the owner may seek compensation through the application of liquidated damages. The delay analysis helps quantify the number of days or weeks of culpable delay, aiding in the calculation of the appropriate compensation amount.

Negotiate and Resolve Disputes:

Armed with the findings of the delay analysis, the parties engage in negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. If an agreement cannot be reached, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation or arbitration, may be pursued according to UAE law.

By following these steps and conducting a thorough delay analysis, the parties involved in the construction project can gain a clearer understanding of the causes and impacts of the delays. This analysis provides a basis for fair and informed decision-making, enabling them to resolve disputes and assess compensation claims in accordance with UAE law and contractual obligations.


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