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Forensic Planning

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Iftikhar Awan PSP
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Hello all.

I am looking for detailed introduction to forensic planning. Can anyone suggest a link or print material (books etc.)?

Thanks.

Replies

Ferdinand Fincale...
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Thanks Andrew.
Andrew Flowerdew
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The analysis is only one part of determining a dispute and the analysis done by the site planner will have it’s limitations depending on what level the dispute rises to.

Depending on the circumstances and complexity of the dispute, (there’s no clear cut dividing line):

At a site level the delay analyst could and will most likely be the site planner with the site QS giving contractual advice.

Once you start going to Conciliation / Mediation / Dispute Board / Adjudication it may stay with the site team or in more complex disputes you may need an expert witness and legal advice.

Niether the site planner or QS is a lawyer and they should not attempt to be one. As an expert witness has to be independent and impartial, this would generally rule out the site team as they would have a vested interest in the outcome of the case.

Once you get to arbitration or Court - you will most likely need an expert witness and definitely a lawyer and counsel.

So, depending on the dispute you may need:

1. Delay analyst only
2. Delay analyst and contractual/claims advice
3. Delay analyst and contractual/claims advice and expert witness
4. Delay analyst and contractual/claims advice and expert witness and legal advice

1 & 2 may be site personnel on a straight forward claim - straightforward claims shouldn’t get to court! If your dispute falls in 3 or 4, then others will need to be involved.

Unashamed advertising coming up, but for the general duties of an expert witness and why it won’t be someone from the site team see

http://www.construction-dispute.co.uk/Expert Witness.htm
Ferdinand Fincale...
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FORENSIC correlates to investigation and establishment of facts or evidence for presentation to a court of law. In the construction industry, that simply means that planners in a point of time came into an act of thoroughly gathering the details, facts and information of contractual disputes at hand. I am more particular in time or completion issues which often correlates as well to cost disputes. Thereafter, planners presents the facts with analysis, presentation and conclusion of the foregoing subject with bunch of supporting documents.

What I am trying to say is that the person who can effeciently do the analysis of the time dispute is the planner who has got the first hand knowledge and who has been monitoring the development of the project progress from its conception up to that disputed period in the work program. In short, a mere planner of the project can better do the forensic analysis of the work program. The expert Forensic Planner can then butt in for litigation preparations and for making further analysis on the work of the mere planner. Why did I say so? It is because at the end of the day, the great Forensic Planner will go out and interrogate the mere planner of its analysis including all the concerned parties involve in the project.

Hope I make sense on this subject.

Simply sharing.

Ferdinand
Abu Lana
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Gentlemen,

Forensic Planner, Claim Preparation and Defence, whatever u want to call it, it is simply the ability to justify the Event(s) that affects the cost of the Project/WBS/Activity.
These factors are:

1-Acceleration
2-Damages
3-Loss And / Or Expense
4-Loss Of Productivity
5-Variations & Changes

Each of these Events is to be justified by what is called "Claim Authentication" on activity basis, supproted with a P3/P5/P6 whatever, Exercise showing the event and how it lead to Duration Impact or Extra Cost.

Drinving to accumulate these events on the master REV.0 Plan to prove the impact. And here is the discussion, however these events caused:
1- Impact on the milestone increased the delay: the events who affect the critical activities with TF=0.
2- Events that affect the critical path: the events that push The Activities with TF>0 to critical. Beware in this the activity TF shouldn’t decrease <0. Otherwise it may affect the justification of the 1st above.

To prove the Acceleration, you should refer to the manpower histogram and sometimes on procurement updates.

Cost claims are to be prepared with QS (Quantity Surveyors), and can be prepared on Excel or any Simple program of auditing and data entry.

In Simple summary a Forensic Planner is an ordinary planner but he should be experienced in fields. the experience help him to defer the different kind of factors, to find the GAP and to identify it. Otherwise he will accumulate a mess and Cocktail of events without proving any claim.

Regarding Defence, any Planer with an Arrogant attitude can do it and be Pro.

Good luck
Andrew Flowerdew
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All,

The "forensic" bit is the retrospective gathering together of all the information in order to ascertain the FACTS of what actually happened on a job - which when objectively assessed, is usually different from what either the contractor or contract administrator is saying.

I totally agree with many of the comments as to why this sometimes needs to be done. If the resorces and good planning practice were employed from day one, many projects wouldn’t fall off the rails - or the resaons why it did would be better understood by all the parties.

Once all the facts are gathered, then the analysis bit is done to find out what caused the delay(s).

Then the liability of the delay(s) can be attributed to the correct party. Note the gathering of information, assessment and analysis should be done by a planner. You need a very good understanding of the construction process in order to do this.

Deciding on which party is liable should be done by a lawyer.

Or the lot can be done by a suitably dual qualified person.

Real problems start when planners or others (Project Managers, QS’s, etc) try to be lawyers or lawyers try to be planners (some think they can be!)

Alot of disputes start because niether party really understands how the contract operates, both sides have different ideas from going on courses which tell them only their side of the story. Others have got their information from reading the trade press (which is the very very last place to look for legal advice) or reading a book written by a construction professional who is not a lawyer and also only has a part understanding of the law. Also the text is unlikely to be detailed enough and only the main points covered - a little knowledge can be more dangerous than no knowledge.

Some might refer to leading legal construction text books like Hudson, Keating or Emden but pick up on a point which is only a discussion on the future direction of the law and not the actual law today. (Dominant delay theory stated in Keating is a classic example of this)

So, along with better planning on a project, better legal advice would go along way in avoiding many disputes.
Oliver Melling
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In my eyes, a forensic planner is only someone who has experience in dealing with claims and counter claims with regard to activities liable for cost and schedule overuns. Their purpose is to interrogate plans & highlight liability where the relationships and ownership boundaries may be unclear.
Given, proper planning in the first place would avoid the need for forensic planners, but as humans operate the planning software, mistakes will always be made.

What some people also need to realise is that all these software only, no idea planners are what you worlds best planners used to be before you got experienced! ;)
Andrew Dick
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Clive,
I agree with you version of the need for forensic planners.

I also agree that the term ’Planner’ has been used to describe a person who can operate a software tool.

I have struggled my way through 3 employers across 3 different industries, trying to get someone to understand the need for project planning. I have an idea it is because the industries I worked in and the companies I worked for got wound up the the Project Management tornado. They also have suffered from the glossy brochures that have been weilded by the all too persent salesman selling their scheduling tools. Not fully understanding that the effort required to plan a project is really a great deal more than simply purchasing the software.

In a different light , my current employer is just about to embark on training all it’s staff on the PMBOK method of project management (well it’s not really a method but just some ideas), at the same time they have sent me on a Prince 2 practitioners course to augment my current PMBOK Project management qualifications. I must say that it is uplifting to actually see a process that lays out who’s responsible for what. And one that also has a planning framework that the senior management can see.........

So I’ll be formulating some reccomendations back to my current employer as to what I perceive as the benifits of a duel edged approch to Project management I.E. PMBOK & Prince 2,
Anoon Iimos
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Clive,

WTFAH?!! it’s Anoon (with two O’s), If that would be the case, why not make Forensic Planning as a norm or a must so that they’ll all be called Forensic Planners, no more good or bad Planners but better projects!

Clive Randall
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Walrus
The reason we have foresic planners who are or at least should be very good is that we have planners at the initial stages who are either very bad or non existant.
If the effort and money used on forensic planning were to be diverted to front line planning the need for forensic planners would almost dissapear.
However as planners generally are seen as a breed of people who are in the halfway house of construction either going somwhere else or clinging on in the industry having failed somwhere else or a neccessary evil cos the contract says so we will have an increasing number of foresic planners to prove a case after the horse cart hay straw and pitchforks have all departed the stable.
In turn the image of construction will be dragged through the detritous of the tabloids (aka Wembley Stadium)and we will be forced to wear t shirts with Bob the builder on them.
By God
Im glad Monday is nearly finished.
Anoon Iimos
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Clive,

I believe your post is clear. What i’m trying to figure out is the necessity or the significance of Forensic Planning from conceptualization of a certain project up to the execution. If it is the method that would be appropriate and would make life easier, why is it not given significance in the current condition? I mean generally.

regards
Clive Randall
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Eskimo or Innuit or Walrus or whatever ridiculous title you wish to call yourself
My post is clear.
Anoon Iimos
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Clive,

Do you mean a Forensic Planner is better than the so-called ordinary Planner? Or Forensic Planning must be applied to make life easier for a Project? Or a Project Manager must be a Forensic Planner to make things better?

regards
Clive Randall
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Andrew
I believe that as more contracts require programmes to prove extensions/delays so more contractors employ so called planners. Contracts even ask for them with very little understanding of what a planner does ie must be able to use Primavera etc etc.
Subsequently when it all goes pear shaped, or the wagon wheels fall off, a proper planner is employed to do a job that should have been done in the first place, ie work out a programme.
Beware however when you look across the table at who is reviewing the programme. Is it once again a non planner a QS or some other breed of mongrel that believes he understands planning.
On the same subject look at who reviews the initial master programme or wrote the spec on how the programme should look or perhaps more imporatntly who defined the initial contract period. If for example a fully detailed progranmme had been established prior to tender by the clients representative based on the information available and this programme was issued to the contractor in the form of milestones and key dates which the contractor could propose alternatives to as he could also propose alternatives to the contract period a fairer and more equitable system would be established. After all the contractor proposes cost but not time at the time of tender, and very little cost benefit amnalysis is carried out as to whether a period is sufficient or a longer period overall is cheaper and to the best benefit of the client usually the shortest period prevails even if the contractor has to add LDs knowing full well he cannot complete in the time available under the contract. At this point the contract is set for agony and claims.
So in my opinion forensic planners exist due to the inability of our industry to recognise time as a serious component of the process from the beginning and supply the resources required to deal with it with the skill it requires. After all clients employ people like Qss to tell them how much the budget should be but who advises the client how long it should take who tells the designers if you do it this way it will take x long that way y long.
I would guess possibly a stretched project manager based on his gut feeling.
Andrew Dick
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My exposure to Forensic Planning has been along the lines of establishing where the wagon wheels fell off a project in the pursuit of Liquidated Damages claims.

It is generally brought about by the project failing to meet a deadline or particular deliverable and the customer holding the contractor to an LD claim as dictated in the original contract.

It seems as more projects are using PMBOK or Prince2 methodology project management, and more companies are using the complex scheduling tools tomanage their projects, the demand for this type of work is growing.

Clive Randall
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This has nothing to do with forensic planning but the thought of Britney Spears doing anything foresnsic boggles the brain.

http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/celebrity/19922004.htm

I do have a leaning toward Mr Winters interpretation however I believe the title means the planning of facts as they happened. Perhaps the assembling of an as built programme, Time impact analysis etc etc.

Mr Pickervance has written copiously on the subject I believe as have many others
Anoon Iimos
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I’d like to guess that it refers to Detailed Planning, wherein you got all the elements available at your disposal (i.e. complete design drawings, specifications, approved methodologies, resources, productivity rates) otherwise, it is the post-mortem of planning.
Ronald Winter
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What an interesting thought, “forensic planning?” It seems to me to be an oxymoron. Forensic is the generally though of as a retrospective uncovering of cause and effect while planning is obviously a prospective look into the future I would be interested in seeing what others will suggest here.