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Multi-Primes and Multiple Critical Paths

Multi-Primes and Multiple Critical Paths by Mr John C Livengood


Numerous states throughout the country require or permit governmental entities to perform major construction through the use of multiple prime contractors. These multi-prime contract laws that usually include a general contractor and at least three mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contractors, were intended to reduce costs to the owner through greater competition and reduced redundant overheads. While there is evidence that the intended purpose succeeds –– that success only follows from a vigorous management system that actively coordinates work between the multi-primes, either through additional owner staff or paid consultants. Unfortunately, an all-too-common result of this delivery system, when the management system misfires, is the development of separate CPM schedules for each prime contractor, with critical path delays along each schedule, which leads to schedule chaos.

This paper will discuss how forensic schedule analysis should approach, identify, dissect, and quantify delays among multi-primes as the parties prepare for litigation.

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