In order to avoid the most common disputes between parties to a contract, all stakeholders must understand how the contract allocates risk. Once this is understood, a plan for managing these risks needs to be developed. A major component of any risk management plan is the project controls system, which should be designed to track risks and project metrics in a way that is meaningful to all parties. Further, a well-designed project controls system, including reporting format, content, and distribution identification, will provide an early warning system to alert the parties of areas that require attention in order to avoid or mitigate added costs and delays.
Exponent’s Construction Consulting professionals have assisted clients in implementing project controls systems that have served to identify potential problems before they impact the bottom line. Exponent’s professionals have worked for subcontractors, general contractors, owners, engineers, and construction managers; our team understands the potential impacts of each type of risk and can develop a plan to manage those risks.
Further, through collaboration with our clients, our professionals can assess an organization’s risk tolerance and its ability to manage risk. Please refer to the Construction Consulting “Probabilistic Scheduling & Risk Analysis” capabilities page for further information on Exponent’s ability to develop controls and procedures to allocate risk in a manner that optimize project success.
Understanding risk allocation and having a project controls system in place does not mean changes will not occur. However, a well-managed project controls system will identify changes early, and serve as a prompt for conversation among the parties to the contract. Conversation, particularly conversation early in the life cycle of a contract change, is often the best way to avoid a claim.
A well-designed project controls system will collect and disseminate project information to the stakeholders, which will enable informed decision making by all parties. Unfortunately, in order to avoid claims, both parties need to be able to make informed decisions, otherwise, when the uninformed party finally understands the events surrounding a change, the project can turn sour as a party balks at discussions and begins to file notices of claim (if a contractor) or denials of entitlement (if an owner).
If parties are finding themselves surprised on projects they are involved with, the cause may be an insufficient project controls system, or misuse (or nonuse) of a project controls system. Exponent’s Construction Consulting professionals understand the role of project controls, and how to achieve peak operability to manage projects well and avoid disruptions and disputes.
Whether you are a client in need of establishing comprehensive project controls or find yourself involved in a claim or a dispute that appears likely to become a claim, we have the experience to address your needs as described below.
Preparation, Presentation, and Defense
The claim preparation process begins with identifying, quantifying, determining and defining the root cause of a project impact, whether a differing site condition, a change in means and methods, a loss in productivity, or an other unexplained (or partially explained) cost/time overrun. Once the identification and quantification of a delay or impact is defined, a causation and responsibility analysis, or entitlement analysis, is performed to determine the ability to recover costs and the appropriate contract clause(s) that provide for resolution.
A review of project records and documents, as well as the definition of scope outlined in the contract, is necessary to establish the facts surrounding the claim and to develop strategy for preparation as well as resolution. Exponent’s Construction Consulting professionals have a wealth of experience assisting clients in the development of claim documents, from the initial notice of claim, to assembling supporting documents and demonstrable exhibits. Whether a client needs help preparing and submitting a claim, or defending against one, our professionals have expertise in analyzing job performance, schedules, and cost records, as well as providing litigation support.
Exponent’s litigation support include assisting with interrogatory preparation as well as response, identifying key points for direct testimony and cross examination, and developing demonstrative exhibits . Exponent’s professionals can provide expert testimony at deposition and trial, or before arbitration panels and dispute review boards.
Our focus is optimal client resolution, and will keep this forefront during all conversations, presentations, and negotiations. Our aim is to facilitate the claim process to enable your staff to focus on its core business – managing your projects to reduce risks and overruns to the extent possible.