Document Detail

Title: RS323-1 - Finding Leading Indicators to Prevent Premature Starts to Construction
Publication Date: 10/1/2016
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Supporting Product
Pages: 20
On nearly every construction project, at least one stakeholder stands to benefit from an early start. Unfortunately, a premature start comes with unanticipated consequences that can trigger a multitude of impacts that adversely affect cost and schedule. This research identified the leading indicators that can aleRT-project teams to situations where mobilization of the construction phase may be premature. The PSIA tool that emerged from this study (IR323-2) helps project teams identify potential issues and predict the project outcomes that might result, prompting these teams to develop plans that mitigate or avoid risk.

NOTE: Actual tool included with IR323-2.
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Construction projects have always faced pressure, from either the owner or contractor, to begin early mobilization of the construction phase. This is due to the fact that on nearly every project in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, at least one stakeholder stands to benefit from an early start. However, an early start does not come without its costs. In order to begin early mobilization, engineering design drawings can be rushed and assumptions left unmitigated, potentially resulting in inaccurate plans and unrealistic schedules. The construction phase of the project can then become impeded by costly interruptions and holds. Project teams often react to interruptions by spending more money and crashing schedules even further, causing additional strain for all project stakeholders.
In order to prevent these impacts and interruptions, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) commissioned Research Team (RT) 323 to gain a better understanding of what constitutes a premature start to construction, and to identify which factors drive the problem. The main objective of RT-323 was to define what is a premature start, determine what drives it, understand what impacts occur as a result, and to investigate whether any leading indicators, or “red flags,” exist to serve as early warning signs that the construction phase of a project is mobilizing prematurely.
To develop a basis for analysis, RT-323 defined a premature start as a decision, by at least one party, to start construction with at least one risk that exceeds an acceptable tolerance to a party and which can result in an interruption to construction. RT-323 conducted the research in two thrusts. The first thrust focused on identifying drivers, leading indicators, and impacts associated with premature starts by conducting case studies and a review of literature. The second thrust focused on quantifying discoveries made in the initial thrust by surveying respondents that represent the construction industry.
RT-323 next developed the Premature Start Impact Analysis (PSIA) tool. This Excel spreadsheet incorporates the team’s research findings into an interactive tool that can be used by various members of a project team through all phases of construction. The primary purpose of the PSIA is to identify the potential impacts of user reported leading indicators and drivers. The tool then guides the user toward reference material and data compiled by RT-323, such as case studies and survey results. Development of the PSIA and deployment recommendations are described in detail in Implementation Resource 323-2, Premature Start Impact Analysis Tool: User Guide and Case Studies.
Throughout its research, RT-323 discovered many actions an organization should take to avoid premature starts to construction. The team developed the following list of items to take into account when considering project schedule, risk, and stakeholder alignment:
  • Recognize the importance of schedule integration between engineering, procurement and construction.
  • Conduct a detailed risk analysis on front end costs versus potential benefits.
  • Fully validate the constructability program and path of construction in relation to schedule.
  • Provide construction contract access to procurement documentation.
  • Establish an integrated team and assess joint capabilities to meet project requirements.
The primary value of this research is in its identification of leading indicators that can signal a premature start, and its documentation of the drivers and impacts of premature starts to construction. Application of this research can facilitate communication between stakeholders and help project participants improve productivity and predictability. RT-323 envisions that its findings will be incorporated into project risk assessment and overall planning, and that this research will contribute to the improvement of project delivery and stakeholder success for the benefit of the construction industry.