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4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 10, 2009 11:26 AM by 690399 RSS

Fragents and Change Orders

690399 Newbie
Currently Being Moderated
I'm new to P3. I need to manage a large 2 year public
works building construction schedule in downtown Los
Angeles, with numerous and frequent changes to the
schedule due to change orders, RFI's etc. Of course, these
changes result in increases/decreases to cost and time,
which need to be monitored and dealt with as part of the
overall project. Some say that fragnets are the best way
to insert these changes into the schedule. Some say
fragnets are problematic. I have no experience with
fragnets and I want to get off on the right foot. What
have you project managers and project engineers found most
effective for inserting and managing change order and RFI
  • 1. Fragents and Change Orders
    690399 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    In my opinion a good way to track the chages (like
    additional scope due to na RFI or Change Order)is to
    make use of the WBS. Create an activity code (ex: RFI
    - and for description to put the RFI number) and you
    will be able to view it separate. You can have a
    sequence to follow the RFI cycle at the detail
    dictated by the schedule level or by your

    You can ask further

  • 2. Fragents and Change Orders
    690399 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thank you very much for
    your kind response.

    I had not
    though of using the WBS as a way to handle change
    orders and RFIs. The one problem that occurs to me is
    that the WBS has limits. In P3 the WBS is pre-defined
    with one level containing 10 characters (according to
    the manual). Not many. It can be modified to permit up
    to 20 levels using a total of 48 characters. Still not
    many codes to use for identifying and tracking a
    project that might have 1200 RFI's. How do you get
    around this?

    The use of
    activity codes you mentioned makes perfect sense. But
    isn't that the same tracking method used with


    I appreciate you
    comments and guidance.

  • 3. Fragents and Change Orders
    690399 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Let's see now.
    Fragntets are actualy pre
    defined sequences which at the begining of a project
    are useful is you have the same activity chain over
    and over again.

    I will give an
    example: Shallow Pier Foundation Works can have the
    sequence: clearing and grubbing- topsoil
    excavation-excavation-lean concrete-rebar
    installation-formork installation-foundation
    concrete-formwork removal.....All these activities
    that get into shallow foundation works are a fragnet
    that you can use every time you need to add this scope
    in the schedule or create a schedule in which this
    will be repetative. If you are decidind the activity
    durations, relationship types and lags you can either
    store the fragnet and use later on or just copy paste
    these activities from first to the last and you will
    get copied the same durations, relationships and lags.
    My opinion is that fragnets are good when you start up
    a project.

    Now to
    come back to what you need.

    they what you to follow the RFI issue date and
    response reciving date or the entire cycle? Do you
    have RFI no and the schedule activity that is being
    affected by it?..

    />Managements generally wants to see if there are
    external things that delay them so as later or to be
    able to point out that a certain schedule delay is
    provoked by a delay let's say in a late delay in
    responding tio an RFI.

    If you
    give me more details I will be more specific.<br
    />You can come with a real example.

  • 4. Fragents and Change Orders
    690399 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thank you very much for
    your response.

    explanation of fragnets was very useful. I will make a
    point of saving and reusing repetitive groups of
    activities. In my case, SOMD (slab-on-metal-deck) is
    very repetitive. Also, exterior building finishes such
    as plaster (exterior sheathing, lath, scratch coat,
    brown coat, cure, finish coat, cleanup). Interior
    finishes activities are also often identical from
    floor to floor.

    The issue with
    RFI's is usually not so critical. I mentioned 1200
    RFI's but relatively few impact the schedule and must
    be coded in. But it is more than 48. In my case, the
    most common reason for entering an RFI into the
    schedule is when the
    consultant/Architect/Engineer/State Agency exceeds the
    contractually agreed upon time limit for response to a
    design-related RFI, or his response is irrelevant
    requiring a second round of RFI's to resolve the
    problem (revise and resubmit for title-block
    exceptions, for example, happens frequently). <br
    It is easy to ignore these delays,
    and recording them in the schedule can really irritate
    the consultant, but when they become a habit, the
    cumulative impact on the schedule can be significant.
    Therefore, I need to be able to track these RFI delays
    effectively within the schedule. Of course, an RFI
    always has a number that is tracked inside Expedition
    as well.

    The bigger problem is
    Change Orders. As you know, when the Owner wants
    something added to the work, or a problem in the
    design results in an increase in the scope of work
    (there are many other possible reasons of course) a CO
    is requested. As a general rule, most change orders
    contain both a cost increase as well as a time
    extension. This time extension is the problem,
    because, especially on public works projects, the
    Owner/CM does not want to grant time an extension, and
    even when they do, they will only grant it when it
    impacts the critical path, and only after there is no
    float remaining (you will see why this distinction is
    important as you read further). The critical path
    condition makes sense, but the idea that my float is
    the Owner's to eat for his CO work is grating,
    especially when facing potential LD's. <br
    To top it off, some Owners/CMs insist
    that all time delays be dealt with at the end of the
    project, when the actual time delay resulting from a
    CO can be calculated, instead of simply estimated, as
    is common practice (corresponding language is inserted
    into the CO to that effect instead of a defined time
    extension). My position is that if they refuse to
    grant a time extension based on an estimate, then the
    cost given in the CO, which is nothing more than an
    estimate, should also be replaced with T&M, and
    the budget be damned. Needless to say, that position
    has not won me many friends in the trailer across the

    You might suggest that we
    should refuse the extra work if a time extension is
    not granted up front. If we did that, they would hit
    our bond in a heartbeat. A contractor's lot in life
    seems to be to make lawyers (Deo volente, may the burn
    in hell) wealthy.

    In the case
    of the Owner/CM refusing to grant time for
    non-critical path CO's, my position is that, while the
    CO work may not be on the critical path this instant,
    in many cases, the critical path can change
    dramatically, sucking CO work into it that was
    previously separated from it by weeks. That very thing
    has happened on a school project located in a major
    city we are doing.

    The project
    has extensive tubular secondary steel at the exterior
    of the two buildings. This tube steel, ranging in size
    from 4" diameter to 20" diameter curves around, and up
    and down, the exterior of the structure. I do not
    exaggerate when I say that it is more complicated than
    a roller coaster. I will send pictures if you are
    interested. It supports curvilinear LG framing, which
    in turn supports a combination of plaster, brick
    veneer and metal panels. Very phantasmagorical stuff.
    Being a complicated 3-D arrangement of rigid steel,
    the architect's drawings were incomplete, (we should
    have expected that) and changed frequently (4 times)
    during fabrication, resulting in detailing problems
    and a two month delay in erection. Lots of unforeseen,
    fit-scribe-cut-repeat of long, heavy, curved, twisting
    pieces of long steel hanging from crane hooks has been

    We have recovered
    most of that time, but only by doing a great deal of
    out-of-sequence work.

    As you
    can imagine, this mess generated a ton of CO's, but
    the Owner would not agree to grant time extensions
    until the end of the project, and even then, only on
    CO's that are provably on the critical path. When
    combined with electrical changes impacting utility
    buildings, cable pulls, elevators, manlift and even
    exterior finishes, and then with added off-site work,
    topped off by submittal-review delays by State
    agencies, the critical path has flapped around like a
    flag in the wind, with CO's going in and out of it. In
    many cases, this means that a particular item of
    ongoing CO work has delayed the critical path for a
    period of time, but not for the entire duration of the
    CO work. So calculating the exact impact of the CO
    during the period it was on the critical path has not
    been easy.

    I anticipate there
    will be huge disagreement about these calculations at
    the end of the project when we have the "come to
    Jesus" time/money resolution meeting with the

    BTW, the CM always
    insists that CO's be dealt with as fragnets, but that
    doesn't always make sense because the nature of CO
    work is often one-of-a kind, not repetitive stuff. But
    he has fragnets on the brain, it seems, so we call
    them fragnets to humor him.
    />Anyway, as you can imagine, tracking the dynamic
    (vs. static) effect of CO's on the schedule has been
    difficult. I am almost tempted to try calculus methods
    to calculate time consumed over time (if you get my
    meaning). Any experience analyzing schedules using
    differential equations? Someone must have done it

    Right now I am
    using activity codes to track them, but I am wondering
    if there is a better way.
    I have other projects, without the
    same delays, but similar Owner/CM mindset regarding

    Now you know the long
    story. Any suggestions?