An integral part of scheduling claims is a forensic analysis of the project schedule, which is often performed using the critical path method (“CPM”) of project scheduling. On June 25, 2007, the Association of the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (“AACEI”) issued its Recommended Practice No. 29R-03, which has been billed as the first comprehensive guide for forensic schedule analysis using the CPM of project scheduling. Recognizing that there are divergent views and methodologies in connection with CPM-based schedule analysis methods, the AACEI’s guide recommends procedural protocols or best practices for forensic scheduling techniques, including guidelines for approaches used to quantify delay and to identify affected project activities focused on the cause of delay.
Given that the AACEI’s guide is the only protocol of its kind, it is more likely than not that the guide’s best practices will be used to evaluate expert opinion and to expose the use of “black-box” or “voodoo” analyses by revealing overly subjective procedures for analyses and the lack of diligent factual research. Thus, prudence dictates that special care should be taken (1) to ensure that any forensic analysis of the project schedule comports with the AACEI’s guide or that if the forensic analysis departs from the guide, an objectively reasonable justification supports such a departure; and (2) to include the guide’s best practices in the evaluation an opposing party’s forensic analysis of the project schedule. The risk of ignoring these prudent measures is certain: scheduling claims and defenses may be eroded or otherwise adversely affected.