Stadium delays

### ODT Online Tue, 3 Aug 2010
Stadium delays queried
By David Loughrey
The many rumours about delays in the completion of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, in Dunedin, got an airing yesterday, but the man in charge of the project, Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) chairman Malcolm Farry, repeatedly denied there would be any change to the finishing date, or the cost of the project.

“I can assure the council and the public there’s no problem with the completion date. What does everybody not understand about that?”
-Malcolm Farry, Carisbrook Stadium Trust

Read more

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Stadiums

17 responses to “Stadium delays

  1. kate

    Considering the hits on the Trusses story I am amazed this section is bereft of comment!

    Phil I would love to know from your experience how often critical paths change markedly and where project managers and head contractors get such different critical paths. I note that the Oct 2009 gannt report was (top right hand corner) based on information from HCL Construction programme run date June 2009. So after appointing sub contractors the path changed – they must have suggested alternative paths to better fit the programme and make savings for CST. Phil have I got this right?

  2. Phil

    Kate, critical paths items should not change. In fact they can’t change, without altering price, quality or time. Critical path items are items of work which must start of a particular date, and take a fixed amount of time. A critical path is made up all all those items, forming a linked chain.

    Take the simple task of making a cup of coffee. The jug takes 2 minutes to boil the water, and it takes 30 seconds to pour the water into the cup and stir the coffee. So your project time is 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

    Boiling the water and pouring the water are critical path items. The water cannot take more than 2 minutes to boil, and the boiling must be completed before the pouring can start.

    Putting coffee and sugar into the cup takes 30 seconds and can be done any time during the 2 minutes boiling time. So they are float items of work, and can be rescheduled depending on other things you want to do during that 2 minute period. Their only requirement is that they be completed before the water gets poured into the cup.

    If you are one minute late in starting to boil the water, then the project will take 3 minutes 30 seconds to complete, not 2 minutes 30 as originally planned. So you’ve run over time. What are your options ? One, accept the time delay, and finish one minute late. Two, buy a more expensive jug which can boil the water faster than the one you first budgeted with. Back on time, but you are now over budget. Three, turn off the jug at the original completion time. The water has been heating for one minute and not two as originally planned. You now have a cup of coffee, on time and on budget. But it’s now luke warm coffee instead of hot coffee. You have an inferior quality product that that which you first ordered.

    Alter any critical path item and time, quality, or price will alter by default. The client has to decide which of the 3 is the most critical.

  3. Phil

    It’s possible, Kate, that alternative solutions could result in an alternative critical path line, prior to construction commencing. But once that critical path has been established, it’s fixed. Going back to the coffee exercise, it’s possible that a subcontractor has said “instead of boiling the water ourselves, let’s buy a cup of pre-boiled water”. Assuming such a thing existed. Because there was never going to be 2 minutes available to boil the water ourselves, and buying the preboiled water was cheaper than buying a more powerful jug.

    So I think that your assumption of what has happened is likely to be correct.

    Something like buying precast concrete floor slabs, instead of pouring concrete slabs on site is a practical example of a subcontractor offering up an alternative critical path item. The floor slabs have to be completed before the walls are erected, but now the head contractor doesn’t have to wait for the floor to dry. Which is something he didn’t think of before.

    I have to say, however, that these sorts of things should have been sorted out before the programme was presented to the client. A head contractor is not a sub-trade specialist, and neither is the PM company. They should, and usually do, rely on subtrade meetings before presenting a final programme to the client.

  4. kate

    Thanks Phil, a terrible analogy for a cafe owner who does not promote instant!!! But many thanks anyway, message received and understood – unfortunately

    • Elizabeth

      The collective What if?’s haphazard ways to share real coffee and donuts is completely off the wall.
      Who knew.


  5. kate

    There was mention yesterday of out of date aspirin and luke warm soup – awful thought just like luke warm coffee is! Not sure why that comment came up but for fear I do not report correctly everything (but I will not) I better convey it.

    But in the age of instant everything we do have instant hot water, or we could fill the jug with hot water rather than cold and it will heat quicker albeit ionised maybe. Let’s see how different the critical path is – in the meantime it is interesting to look at the photos on the ForBar site that is linked on the Trusses stream and the various reports we have of things that are complete. Maybe there are other things that are not on the critical path that have also been done.

  6. Phil

    I’m sure you’re quite correct, Kate. There are likely to be many items of work that have been move forwards or backwards in the programme. They will be items of work in the “float” category, but have no significant influence on the project completion date. It’s the key items of work that have a set duration period and that must be completed in sequence with no delay between each stage. They are the only ones that you need to have identified and monitored.

  7. Russell Garbutt

    Phil is dead right about the key elements of a project. It doesn’t really matter a hoot if Malcolm is way ahead on planting some flax bushes outside the east wall or whatever. If the trusses are not up on time, then a whole lot of other key things will not happen.

    Forget the trivia concentrate on the big things. Where is the unequivocal critical path report?

    Not sure where to post this comment, but something else has just come to mind about leadership – or the lack of leadership.

    I see the ODT has been running a significant campaign about the neurological services – and they are right to do so. But it is intriguing that our City leader – the Mayor – seems to have been asleep through the campaign until alerted to the possibilities of how he could be perceived as being involved. Follow from the Front Peter – maybe it’s worked before…not a bad way to be seen to be appearing to have our interests at heart. And it doesn’t cost anything!!!! Oh yes, and there is an election sometime soon.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell – we now have the ‘gannt’ up on another thread and its source. I remember we posted it way back in 2009 at What if? …time flies when the stadium isn’t having fun.

  8. Robert Hamlin

    On a technical note. There are two major techniques of project scheduling. The ‘PERT’ chart – A more complex approach which incorporates prerequisite patterns, and which can be used to identify the critical path, and the GANNT chart, a simpler approach which does not include prerequisites and therefore cannot identify the critical path. The two are occasionally used in conjunction, but the PERT chart, or a derivative of it, is a requirement in the process of establishing the critical path. This is the one you should be looking for.

    If the chart to which you refer is a pure GANNT chart, and is the only tool that was used at the time to set the parameters of this project, then the critical path has never been known with certainty, and therefore the expected completion date is not known either.

    • Elizabeth

      ### August 6, 2010 – 7:52pm
      First roof truss lifted into place at Forsyth Barr Stadium
      One of the major steps in the construction of the Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza was made today, with the first roof truss being lifted into place.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sat, 7 Aug 2010
        First of stadium trusses lifted into position
        By Chris Morris
        The profile of the Forsyth Barr Stadium became apparent yesterday as the first of five roof trusses was lifted into place. The arch, measuring 101m long and weighing in at 220 tonnes, was lifted by two giant cranes weighing 400 tonnes and 280 tonnes yesterday, after being moved into position at the western end of the stadium floor on Thursday.
        Read more

  9. Phil

    Well, in this case, the using of MS Project (or any other major programming software) does include for pre-requsite activities as well as earliest/latest start/completion dates. Which, of course, are the elements which determine if an activity is a critical path item or not. Those columns have simply been selected not to be printed out. Which is not that uncommon. It doesn’t mean that the information has disappeared. It is also not required for those columns to be shown in order for the critical path to be highlighted either as a sequential chain, or though colour coding. A Gannt chart presentation of the information using software such as Project or Primavera for example, is certainly capable of produce such output. Another alternative is not to hide the float column. The only way it would not be an option with a simple mouse click when printing is if that information has not been entered in the first place. Unless there has been a recent change in these programmes that’s been missing for the past 15 years.

    On a trivia sidenote, I hadn’t used Primavera since the late 80s in the days of Fletcher Construction, and thought it had died off as Microsoft burst into life. Until I was working in Europe and discovered it was alive and well and the programming weapon of choice through Northern Europe. Had to learn it all over again. Funny old world we live in.

  10. Phil

    Maybe Adelaide will get embellishments such as television screens, toilets, interior painting, ticketing facilities, turf, and fixed seating.

    Probably get what you pay for.

  11. Phil

    Oh, and a kitchen.

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