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'Critical' Is In The Eye Of The Delay Analysis Expert

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 03:53 am


The direct cause/effect of a construction project delay is rarely easy to see, which is why "critical path method" experts are called in to connect the dots and place blame.

These experts have a lot of leeway to speculate upon the critical nature of a project's activities. After all, a Missouri district court recently pointed out, "at some point most construction activities become critical if they are all that's left to complete on the job."

'Near critical' can be 'critical'

In The Weitz Co. v. MH Washington, 2011 8th Cir. (D. Mo. Jan. 7, 2011), the project owner appealed a district court decision, challenging the reliability of the contractor's CPM expert testimony. The expert had analyzed responsibility for project delays by comparing the original schedule (Schedule Z) with the contractor's contemporaneously updated schedule (i.e., events as they occurred). Allegedly, Schedule Z did not distinguish between (a) "critical path" activities (whose delay would delay the overall project) and (b) "float" activities (whose delay would not affect the overall job). Thus, the expert's analysis, which was [...]

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