If a project owner extends the performance period for an early phase of the work, shouldn’t it follow that the project completion deadline would be extended commensurately? Not necessarily. A recent decision illustrates that the prior extension must involve work on the schedule’s critical path – the sequence of work on a project which will take the shortest time to complete.
Work on a federal project was contractually allocated among four discrete phases, each with its own completion deadline. During the first two phases, the government issued numerous change orders to correct problems in the drawings and specifications. The combined performance period for these two phases was extended 129 days.
The contractor argued that the overall project completion deadline had to be extended by a commensurate amount of time. The argument failed. The contractor had not provided analysis to show that work on the schedule’s critical path had been affected by the changes.
The key here is that the contractor, asserting the right to an extension of the completion deadline, had the burden of proof. And, a mere “logical” extrapolation was insufficient. A detailed schedule analysis by a qualified individual was necessary. It may seem burdensome for contractors, but sometimes that’s what it takes to prove a claim. Your comments are welcomed.
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