For every project, the final aim is to finish the project within the desired time, cost and quality framework. QC/QA specialists in every project are responsible to meet the quality requirements. But experience shows that in most of the cases, the set constraints in project contracts regarding to time and cost could not be met due to many reasons including failure in estimating the project in the beginning, change orders or not fulfilling the commitments by involved parties. This makes it a common practice in many of the projects that one of the parties claims for time extension or financial compensation. Here is the time when the term “claim management” becomes highlighted in the project terminology and indeed when we are talking about time and cost, inevitably the role of project planners becomes important.
Scholars modeled project claim process in 6 main stages. The first stage is Claim identification or timely and accurately detection of claim points. The next stage is Claim notification, notifying the other party about the issue and clearly explaining the consequential time and/or cost effects. The third step in claim process is Claim examination which is preparing the legal and factual basement of the claim and developing the recovery plans. Step four is Claim documentation and recording the historical evidence of the claim points. After documentation, Claim presentation or Logical, factual and convincing demonstrating the claim would be the next stage. Finally Claim negotiationstarts; negotiating the claim with the other party with complete information and within clearly determined negotiation boundaries by anticipating the other party position in the negotiation.
If we read once again the six stages of claim process with keeping in mind the role and responsibilities of project planners in the project, definitely we come to the conclusion that no one in the project suits the title of “claim manager” more than project planners. Project planners are monitoring the project performance and they prepare periodic and regular reports for different project stakeholders. Integrated project schedules are the most accurate, understandable and reliable documents that can illustrate and record the history of the project especially regarding to timing and cost of the project. Well-designed and carefully monitored schedules provide project planners the opportunity to timely identify all the events which cause deviating from the contractual time/cost conditions. Periodic reports which together with the project schedule are usually considered as contractual documents are the best medium for notifying, examination, documenting and presenting claim proposals. Finally, planners are able to prepare and analyze what-if scenarios to clearly determine claim negotiation goals and boundaries and also to identify and predict other parties the position during the claim negotiations.
In conclusion, no matter which party we are talking about, either clients or contractors or any other contract parties, obviously project planners are the most well-equipped people in the projects to sit in the position of “claim manager” in the project organization charts, however they should consider this role’s requirements during the schedule development process from very beginning to be able to show high performance as a claim manager.
- Kululanga, G. K. et al., (2011). Construction Contractors’ Claim Process Framework. ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE, Vol. 127, No. 4, pp. 309-314
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- Kartam, S. (1999). Generic methodology for analyzing delay claims,Journal of construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 125, No. 6, pp. 409-419.