4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 10, 2009 7:26 PM by 690399

    Fragents and Change Orders

      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
          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

            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
              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

                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?