CSI certifications

    BY Winnie Sung

    CSI certifications consist of the Construction Document Technologist (CDT), Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA), Certified Construction Specifier (CCS) and Certified Construction Product Representative (CCPR). The foundation training for these certifications are as follows:

    CDT: Project Delivery Practice Guide (PDPG) provides an overview of construction delivery process and industry standard of construction documentation. .

    CCCA: CSI Construction Contract Administration Practice Guide takes an in-depth look at standard contract documents and the roles and responsibilities of all parties to construction agreements. 

    CCS: Certified Construction Specifier Practice Guide focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the specifiers with guidelines on writing quality construction specifications, product selection, and writing sustainable design specifications. 

    CCPR: Construction Product Representation Practice Guide is an essential resource for building product manufacturers, sales representatives, and related professionals. It covers the construction process and the roles the construction product representative plays in the workflow of any project delivery.

    CDT is the prerequisite for the three advanced certifications: CCCA, CCS and CCPR. The certification training covers how a project unfolds from conception to delivery. The content includes facility management, construction process, contractual relationships, and interpretation of construction documents. Pictorial illustrations are used throughout the PDPG to clarify the differences between procurement requirements, contract documents and the interrelationships among documents.  Wheel of a hub is one of the best illustration that shows how project manual and document could potentially be affected by Division One. The diagram illustrates the interrelationship between documents and how Division 1 expands on the Condition of the Contract.  It is important for the project team to know how the documents are organized and where to retrieve the pertinent information to avoid risk 

    The knowledge of document relationships will help the project team to know where information should be located and to eliminate the error and duplication. The CSI principle is “say it once and in the right place.”  By providing information in the correct location, the entire project team would save time and benefit from an accurate pricing/bid. It is vital to the success of a project to understand the impact of the front end of Contract Documents on the project performance. Specifications and drawings are considered complimentary and there is no precedence. The interrelationships and the complementary concept among documents is fundamental to eliminating conflicts and redundancy.

    The practice guides go over the Graphic Formats (e.g. National CAD Standard), language, writing style, vocabulary, sentence structure and symbols to use in a construction specifications and drawings. They are based on the accepted industry standards for contract documents.  Enforcing standards and Written Formats (e.g., OmniClass™, Uniformat™, MasterFormat™, GreenFormat™, SectionFormat™, PageFormat™) in contract document are critical to the preparation and retrieval of information. The Principles of communication: clear, concise, correct, complete (4Cs) in documentation are emphasized in the training.  The goal is continuous improvement toward producing a clear coordinated documentation.  Writing clear and concise notes and using the correct industry standard notations help minimize conflicts.  Better documentation means the project team will spent less time in responding to RFI’s which may impact cost and time. Avoiding confusion is the best way to avoiding risk.   

    CDT goes in depth over the content in the conditions of the contracts using the AIA A201, and it provides the basic understanding of the roles and legal responsibilities of project team members. 

    The intent of the certifications is to help the project team to deliver quality construction document, project manual, and construction administration.  Most professionals would agree that universities generally train students to be designers and not practitioners. Architects learn construction knowledge at work.  Sometimes we learned from costly mistakes. Information in the project guide is very practical and useful.  Studying for certifications is like bridging the gap between school and practices. 

    The project guides provide the tools to understand project delivery methods, contractual relationships, document organizations, document preparations, insurances, and claims and disputes. Through the certified training programs, owners, designers, contractors, construction administrators, product representatives, and facility managers could work together as a team to enhance the quality of construction for the life cycle of a facility. 

    The certifications are open to everyone, and there are no educational prerequisites. Certifications can prepare every team member to face difficult challenges and can open up opportunities to make worthy contributions to projects. When a contractor, a product representative, a facility manager, an architect, an engineer, a building official, or a construction administrator makes the effort to be certified, these individual take their knowledge in construction seriously and strive to improve the quality in construction. Becoming certified in one or more professional certifications should represents a significant accomplishment that offers recognition of professional achievement.     

    Ghost CPM Schedules

    Norman F. Jacobs, Jr., CSI Emeritus 2016

    Project Managers use the approved CPM Schedule in the field office and use a Ghost schedule in the home office. When you have a delay on your project you may use your Ghost schedule to mitigate the delay by making a fragnet of the activities related to the delay.

    When a contractor uses a Ghost Schedule, it is often though of by the contractor as their, as should have been submitted schedule. For example, when an Owner refuses to approve the contractor’s planned early completion CPM Schedule, or rejects the contractor’s time extensions request, either to an early completion schedule resulting from an excusable delay, a contractor may prepare a Ghost Schedule to status the project properly. Contractors may also use a Ghost Schedule to manage subcontractors and suppliers.

    Ghost schedules have been used behind the scenes on construction projects for many years. Contractors could use their Ghost schedules to analyze and determine the proper potential impact of change orders and decision making before beginning their into actual delay discussion.

    Why do we use Ghost Schedules? The implementation and potential pitfalls of the use of good Ghost schedules, the need and use for a Ghost schedule should be defined. The difference between a project schedule and a Ghost schedule must be clearly recognized.

    A contract CPM schedule is the official project schedule approved by the Owner. A Ghost schedule is not the project schedule nor is it defined or recognized by the contract. Instead, it is set apart from the project schedule by the party employing it. Like the project schedule, it is updated regularly, analyzed, discussed, and revised as necessary by its user.

    Every Project Manager must be aware of any liability and risk involved when using Ghost Schedules. Ask yourself is there are any legal question related to Ghost Schedules. There have only been a small number of case law dealing with the use of Ghost Schedules. A significant case concerning Ghost Schedules and their use is Jackson Construction, Inc. v United States. In this case, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims stated that a contractor is under no obligation to advise Owners of planned early completion.  - - - - - - - Jackson Construction Co., Inc. v The United States, 62 Fed. Cl. 84; 2004 U. S. Claims.

    When the Project Managers are developing and utilizing the Ghost Schedule they must be aware of the adversarial relationships this may create on the project.

    Let’s look at a project that utilized Ghost Schedules. Take for example a $300,000,000.00 Convention and Cultural Center which included a domed Convention Hall. The domed structure a poured in place concrete dome. The dome was supported by twenty four flying buttress that were formed, re-bared with poured in place concrete.  

    The original project cost estimate showed the cost of one form system for the twenty four flying buttress. The original CPM Schedule for the project showed ten work days to complete each flying buttress. During the course of the project there were twenty compensable delays and sixteen strikes that delayed the project.

    Examples of the use of Ghost Schedules in construction: 1. Construction of the flying buttress was on the critical path so it was time to study how to reduce the duration as related to resources. The decision was made to build a second form system for the flying buttress at a cost of $75,000.00. In theory this cost would save time and money by cutting the total duration of the twenty four flying buttress.       2. Ghost schedules were used to study the use of ten hour days in lieu of eight hour days. When you go to ten hour days you loose productivity by say fifteen percent therefore you must weigh the time saved verses  the extra cost.     3. A study of adding a night sift of resources was analyzed with the Ghost Schedule. In this study we discovered that the circadian rhythm of the work force may run into extra cost. Also you need to review what critical activities are concurrent.    4. Another example of the use of a Ghost Schedule is to expedite the critical work of sub-contractors.

    The perspicacious Project Manager must be careful when using Ghost schedules and their risk. The contractor underlying problem of maintaining multiple schedules is, “Which one is your real schedule?”

    The use of Ghost Schedules require detail documentation. The prudent Project Manager must know adequate project documentation because every construction project requires detailed documentation to keep comprehensive and contemporaneous records. Conscientious and orderly record-keeping not only provides the information to effectively and efficiently “manage” a project, it is also essential preparation for contract disputes, delays, impacts, and any litigation. Adequate documentation may also satisfy a requirement for a logical and supportable documentation of cause and effect. Remember, documentation last, but memories fade.

    Using Ghost Schedules in handling delays with TIA. All astute Project Managers must be prepared to handle delays with assiduous planning. Unnecessary delays can mean lost time and money, and possible a trip to court. The Project Manager’s role in management of delay and schedules is a most detailed part of his or her responsibility in today’s world of construction. A must is to know the use of fragnets and Time Impact Analysis. Over the years construction methods have been characterized by low management technology; planning and scheduling techniques were most rudimentary and delays in performance of construction were taken in stride. All monthly CPM schedule updates must be critiqued as they relate to delays or impacts.

    TIA and Ghost Schedules are used to analysis the status of projects. Network schedule techniques have great utility in evaluating delay and impacts on a project. Project Managers use the TIA techniques as simultaneous proof of both the fact and the cause of delays or impacts to projects.

    Using Ghost Schedules and FSA to analysis the project schedule status. Forensic Schedule Analysis – Forensic research involves the application of scientific knowledge of legal matters. The sagacious Project Manager who uses “Forensic Schedule Analysis” refers to the study and investigation of events using CPM Schedule calculation methods for potential use in a legal proceeding. It is the study of how actual events or activities interacted in the content of a complex model for the purpose of understanding the significance if a specific deviation or series of deviations from some baseline model and their role in determining the sequence of activities within the complex CPM Schedule Network Diagram.