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Schedule Delay Analysis in Construction Projects


This research project is devoted to the analysis of schedule delays and the techniques that can be used to evaluate the probable delays on the basis of the existing information regarding the parties involved in the dealings and several external factors that are typically generated by the environment. The author conducted an extensive literature review on the subject of delay analysis techniques and reviewed the most popular of them. Then, they switched to the description of the use of delay analysis techniques in industry and research. It was found that the functionality of delay analysis programs is almost limitless and relies solely on the complexity of the project at hand. This led the researcher to the conclusion that appropriate delay analysis techniques can be chosen only when all the necessary information is acquired.

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Types of Project Lifecycles

The first type of project lifecycles is called predictive, but it is also known as fully plan-driven. When dealing with this kind of lifecycle, the manager has to provide an all-inclusive review of three major limitations of any project – time, cost, and scope. This allows the team to divide the project into stages and develop it either sequentially or using overlapping. This type of project lifecycles includes a high-level planning for the long-term project objectives and the detailed planning for the assignments that have to be done in the near future. In real life, predictive lifecycles are typical of construction projects because all the details have to be figured out before the completion of each of the stages of the project.

The next type of project lifecycles is called iterative and incremental. It also features a stage split-up, but the manager is not required to determine the scope in a detailed manner ahead of time. This has to be done for the first phase only, as all the succeeding phases will be addressed later. This kind of project lifecycles is often met in large projects that require the team to work on several short-term goals divided into stages at once while trying to achieve the long-term objective (such approach is typical of market moguls). The last type of project lifecycles is called adaptive (also known as agile). This approach is characteristic of IT projects because the majority of them are exposed to rapid changes that have to be addressed immediately. More to say, the iterations are much faster than in any of the previously mentioned types of lifecycles. At the end of each iteration, the customer is required to review the product and provide feedback in order to build another set of priorities for the team working on the project.

Schedule Delay Analysis Research


Within a construction environment, it is rather common that both the contractor and employer are worried about the time for performance. Therefore, in order to make correct decisions and save time and money, these contracting parties have to evaluate project delays so as not to fail or deal with compensation claims (AbouRizk 1142). With time, more and mode delay analysis techniques were developed in order to help these specialists in terms of decision-making. It did not help them to get rid of numerous disputes regarding delay claims. The problem with the disputes is the presence of major limitations associated with the practical use of schedules and capabilities of the individuals responsible for developing these agendas.

The specialists that work in the area have to understand the background of these issues in order to be able to cope with such deficiencies successfully. They also have to realize the significance of different techniques used throughout the process of schedule delay analysis. During the existing project, the author is going to dwell on the knowledge that is necessary to conduct proper schedule delay analysis and evaluate the key issues associated with this area of practice (AbouRizk 1146). To conclude, the researcher will address the improvements that can be implemented and confirm that the uniqueness of schedule delay practices may critically contribute to the processes of obtaining positive analysis results and finding new ways of applying them. Even though the majority of these aspects are recurrently overlooked throughout the process of analysis, schedule delays can be relying on programming software, concurrent delays, and resource stocking. In other words, the researcher is going to identify the necessary improvements and provide several recommendations on the basis of their findings.

Research Objective

Within the framework of the current research project, the investigator is going to review the concept of schedule delay analysis and review relevant literature on the subject. A number of research questions will be answered and supported with evidence from scientific journals. The researcher is keen on identifying the key viewpoints on schedule delay analysis in industry and research and assess its efficiency on the basis of acquired materials.

Literature Review

According to the reviewed literature, one of the key objectives of schedule delay analysis is the identification of projected delays. This allows the experts to work backward and assess the attribution of these delays to all the parties involved in the process. By the end of that process, the experts can reach a verdict regarding the compensations in terms of cost and time (Gonzalez et al. 117). There are four main questions that have to be answered by the experts before they can go to the next stage of the analysis:

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  • What was expected to occur?
  • What did, in fact, occur?
  • Were there any critical discrepancies?
  • How did these discrepancies impact the project schedule?

There are quite a few delay analysis techniques that are based on different contractor requirements. There are two groups that can be defined as the core of schedule delay analysis – non-CPM (Critical Path Method) and CPM-centered techniques. Within the framework of the current literature review, the author was able to identify that these techniques were usually associated with several plans – impacted as-planned, as-planned but for, as-planned vs. as-built, window analysis, collapsed as-built, and time impact analysis. Knowing that there are so many different outcomes, it may be safe to say that the variety of techniques has an inextricable impact on the modes of application of the techniques mentioned above. The main problem with all of the techniques consists in the fact that the majority of real-life projects do no go as planned and tend to turn out to be way more complex than expected regardless of the projected benefits and damage. Based on this information, it can be reasonable to assume that such real-life cases may help us to collect the information that will help us to analyze the information and build projections of the future schedule delay analyses intended to calculate the compensations in terms of cost and time. The difference in the modes of application also creates a gap between the analysis details because of the varying levels of the assessment process (Gonzalez et al. 119).

The methods such as as-planned vs. as-built are majorly considered to be unsophisticated when it comes to the analysis of a program without pivotal modifications. On the other hand, there are time impact analysis and collapsed as-built methods that are perceived as the additive, seriously modified programs that can be identified as the sophisticated counterparts of the techniques mentioned above. Even though the sophisticated group requires more resources, time, and expertise, it provides the parties with much more accurate results. The latter occurs owing to the rigorous analysis that is the foundation of sophisticated techniques. The most preferred techniques that are recurrently used by owners and contractors include as-planned but for, impacted as-planned, and collapsed as-built. According to the evidence from the literature, they choose these techniques because they help them to establish the projected delays almost on the spot and associate them with either activities or hesitancies of a certain party involved in the project (Gonzalez et al. 119). These hesitancies can be merely inserted or removed in order to make the techniques work. Based on the information identified during the literature review, the researcher can conclude that the use of delay analysis techniques depends on the situation. The majority of delay claims situations are critically different, and there is no possibility to apply a single general method to deal with a variety of schedule issues. There should be several criteria that will direct the future use of any given technique. Regardless, the process of choosing an appropriate technique is determined as one of the major issues inherent in the environments where delay analyses are performed recurrently.

Schedule Delay Analysis in Industry

In industry, schedule delay analysis is most effective when used in the form of a simulation. It can be advantageous in the case where uncertainty interferes with the intention to resolve the problem because it provides a number of different opportunities to deal with construction claims that are based on probabilistic phenomena. Therefore, there are numerous activities that can be modeled in a probabilistic manner (Braimah 508). These activities include the breakdown of equipment, material delivery, resource branching, and the availability of crews. Even though there are numerous other delay analysis techniques, simulation offers the experts an incredible level of uncertainty that can be modeled by means of specific software. The process of analyzing schedule delays within the industrial context cannot be performed without simulation because the latter removes almost all of the uncertainty from construction operations and other problems at hand. The author of the current report recommends using simulation modeling with cyclic networks and basic linear projects that include tedious responsibilities. The effectiveness of such approach is validated by the literature on the subject (Braimah 510). As an example, the researcher can use the earthmoving operation.

As a rule, the schedule is influenced by many factors. Each of them can have a positive or negative impact and cause the delay. Upadhyay et al. (1312) analyze the case of schedule delay in construction projects in Gwalior. The researchers define the top most hazardous factors causing schedule delay in the Gwalior region and neighboring areas by using the relative importance index (R.I.I.) method (Upadhyay et al. 1312). The definitions of dangers can increase chances to minimize schedule delay in construction projects and, as a result, the negative influence of such delays can be reduced. Figure 1 depicts correlation between the most dangerous schedule delay factors and their R.I.I.

Graph between the top 10 most significant factors and their R.I.I. value.
Fig. 1. Graph between the top 10 most significant factors and their R.I.I. value (Upadhyay et al. 1314).

Thus, ineffective planning and scheduling, which is contractor related, is the most dangerous factor that can cause schedule delay. Other contractor related factors include the lack of skill of a contractor and constant change of subcontractors (Upadhyay et al. 1314). The second hazardous factor for schedule delay in the Gwalior region includes errors and lateness in producing design papers. Another design related factor is the lack of skills of the design team, but it is less significant. Also, such owner related factors as lateness of project outflows or poor understanding of construction peculiarities can be important, (Upadhyay et al. 1315). Other meaningful dangerous factors include late delivery of materials for construction, shortage of working force, and delays in services provision (Upadhyay et al. 1315). These factors can be similar for different projects in the construction industry. However, their relative importance index would vary depending on the location and other specific circumstances and thus should be calculated individually.

Another important point associated with the concept of schedule delay analysis in the industry is flexibility. Modern simulation tools are rather powerful and offer a number of advantages that can extend the practice. Currently, almost any practitioner is able to build trendsetting structures aimed at the facilitation of the decision-making process while accurately displaying the real operations. The researcher draws parallels between the industrial use of delay analysis techniques and the use of simulation in construction. For instance, a lift (perceived as a construction site asset) can be assembled by means of several gantries that should be taken into consideration together with a variety of external conditions that can impact the overall process (such as the availability of resources) (Braimah 514). Another issue that can be addressed by means of delay analysis techniques is the willingness of all the parties involved in the process to come to an integrated solution. Here, all the processes, resources, and views have to be integrated into the technique in order to create a great medium for decision-making.

The author of the current report was able to identify that delay analysis might be the most leveled means of addressing resource interactions, logical constraints, and relationships between the elements. The author of the report proposes to explore the method of simulation further so as to improve the state of affairs of industrial delay analysis techniques. There are modeling capabilities that yet have to be achieved in order to help the industry specialists to adopt simulation tools successfully. The future of this approach is promising, and there is no point to overlook the possibilities that are presented by delay analysis techniques in association with simulation (Braimah 520). The key challenge that may interfere with the improvements is the inability to incorporate an integrated simulation asset into the existing industrial environments. The former will have to support real-time input and collaborative functioning in order to describe intricate industrial models. This led the researcher to the conclusion that the concept of industrial delay analysis has to pay more attention to parallel computing opportunities and the notion of model decomposition. These two conceptions may become the triggers that will facilitate the processes of modeling delay analysis and decision-making.

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Despite careful planning, schedule delays are frequent in industries such as construction. They postpone the completion date and demand constant adjustments of the schedule. Braimah (512) provides project delay analysis applying the technique “As-Planned vs. As-Built.” It presupposes changes to the project every time the delay happens. For example, the impact of the first delay can be observed in Figure 2.

Impact of the first delay.
Fig. 2. Impact of the first delay (Braimah 512).

Thus, it is evident from the figure that delay of three days in making a concrete foundation results in three days of delay for project completion. In this technique, the days of delay are added in a sequence to the scheduled project. For example, Figure 3 pictures the consequences of the seventh delay.

Impact of the seventh delay.
Fig. 3. Impact of the seventh delay (Braimah 515).

t can be noticed that the initial scheduled completion in 40 days changed. Apart from the delay with concrete foundation, three days were added because of lateness in the stage of brickwork to the roof level and one day was wasted for concrete to floor slab. Delays in drive-inns were also present but they did not influence the completion date.

On the whole, schedule delays in industry can have unwanted consequences, particularly financial. Thus, despite the reasons for delays such as unfavorable weather, unpredictable problems with the site, troubles with material delivery, etc., the completion date will be moved. The extension of the construction period is likely to increase the expenses for the construction. The more delays are there, the more expensive a project can be. Thus, it is important to evaluate the possible delay risk factors to provide completion within a planned period.

Schedule Delay Analysis in Research

Within the context of delay analysis research, delay claims can be identified as one of the major sources of the skirmish, not to say that it is rather challenging to resolve them. There were numerous attempts made aimed at the development of strict delay analysis techniques that would facilitate the processes of claim resolution and practice documents development. Taking this into consideration, the researchers dealing with schedule delay analysis techniques came to the conclusion that the process of application of these techniques could be improved only by means of increased capabilities and abridged limitations that interfered with the real-life practice (Braimah 523). For the most part, schedule delay analysis in research has to be perceived as one of the key issues that are not addressed by the existing delay analysis techniques yet. Nonetheless, the author of the report was able to identify that the existing variety of delay analysis techniques could be utilized to allocate delay responsibilities.

In order to be able to do that, researchers would have to go through numerous instances of claims and reinforce the concept of the most appropriate technique for each given project and coexisting circumstances. This finding hints at the idea that in research, all the parties have to rely on a number of distinctive requirements that are characteristic of a certain technique. On the other hand, there are several issues that cannot be perceived separately from the process of delay analysis such as resource loading, concurrent delay, and leveling supplies. If these factors are incorporated into the research process, it will be expected to provide accurate, trustworthy results (Braimah 524). Nonetheless, the problem here consists in the fact that these analysis results are mostly overlooked by the existing data analysis techniques. There are special, custom-designed software packages that function on the basis of certain capabilities and functionalities but they are not as transparent as they are expected to be. Taking this into consideration, the author of the report can conclude that a good-natured settlement of the delay claim dispute is unachievable in the case where at least one of the parties that are involved in the project does not perform its duties responsibly (Braimah 527).

This leads the researcher to the conclusion that there have to be common grounds for the parties to reach an agreement on and justify the use of delay analysis techniques. Nonetheless, it has to be mentioned that the requirement of utilizing programs to analyze delays always has to be taken into consideration because of its direct connection with the plan of work. The latter will not be reflected correctly if the program does not dictate the spot-on usage of the available resources. This approach may lead to unreliable results that cannot help researchers to resolve claims (Braimah 529). At the same time, there is very little information on how the delay analysis techniques can integrate such approach to schedule delays. It has to be researched further because there is no reasonable way to resolve concomitant delays. The latter is one of the most complex issues known to researchers because it is not included in any of the existing delay analysis techniques. It is recommended to employ either the “windows” or “time periods” method so as to cope with the adverse impact of this challenge. This critical approach is expected to help researchers to track changes and implement the concept of diverse time intervals into practice.


It is safe to say that the current review on the subject of schedule delay analysis provided the readers with extensive evidence regarding the techniques of identifying and mitigating delays. These activities can be based either on the occurrence of events or their statuses. It is advised to use the delay pacing strategy in order to minimize the chances of being impacted by either controlling or dominant delay that can influence both contractors and owners. Nonetheless, there are different issues that can interfere with the process of getting rid of delays and creating a different pace. This means that schedule delay analysis techniques can be used as a means of determining the cause of delays. The current research project provided the readers with the information regarding the existing delay analysis techniques and dwelled on the implications of the latter to the process of their application. This is an important aspect to consider because delay analysis techniques can be used to improve the state of affairs at the site and limit the number of both fair and unfair delay claims. The author of the current study believes that more real-life project data has to be acquired and evaluated in order for the experts in the area to be able to validate such findings and apply them to realistic scenarios.

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Works Cited

AbouRizk, Simaan. “Role of Simulation in Construction Engineering and Management.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 136.10 (2010): 1140-1153.

Braimah, Nuhu. “Construction Delay Analysis Techniques – A Review of Application Issues and Improvement Needs.” Buildings 3.3 (2013): 506-531.

Gonzalez, Pablo, et al. “Analysis of Causes of Delay and Time Performance in Construction Projects.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 140.1 (2013): 116-121.

Upadhyay, Anil, et al. “A Case Study on Schedule Delay Analysis in Construction Projects in Gwalior.” International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, vol. 3, no. 5, 2016, pp. 1312-1315.

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