HCP Case Studies

Case Study 1: Bridge Construction: 380-meter Steel and Concrete Bridge

The Client

The development company, wholly owned by the municipality of a large city, responsible for the construction of a rail bridge at the entrance to the city.

The Project

Construction of a 4,500-ton, 380-meter steel-and-concrete rail bridge designed by internationally-renowned architect, Santiago Calatrava. This $65 million bridge consists of 66 150-meter-long cables suspended from a 119-meters high pylon.

The Challenge

The bridge was constructed from two major materials, concrete and steel. The project schedule was created by combining the distinct schedules of two subcontractors, a steel construction company and a concrete company (which formed a joint venture for this project). The resulting schedule consisted of more than 1500 tasks.

The municipal development company retained the services of HCP Project Management Consulting to analyze the schedule and help them understand the most important aspects of this complex project.

The Result

The project manager working for the client had initially believed that the steel aspects of the project were "super-critical," whereas, as he said, "the concrete aspects were not critical at all." The HCP Deep Schedule Analysis report revealed that the project manager was correct: the steel aspects of the project were, in fact, critical to the schedule. However, the analysis also revealed a surprise: some of the concrete-related tasks existed in hidden critical paths with only nine days of float! This crucial information led to significant changes in the project schedule: concrete components were altered and priorities were changed, resulting in a improved schedule.

A second Deep Schedule Analysis of the revised schedule indicated that the steel was still critical, but the most important concrete tasks now had longer float, two months instead of less than two weeks. Avoiding a crisis in the concrete components of the schedule was the most important contribution made by the HCP analysis.

The HCP Advantage

Without the unique management insight provided by the HCP Deep Schedule Analysis report, it would have been impossible to uncover the hidden risks in this project. On a high level, the project manager had no other way to test the accuracy of his perception of the critical aspects of the project relative to the project schedule. On a detail level, there would have been no other way to pinpoint the particular concrete-related tasks which required the early management attention to ensure a successful project.


Case Study 2 – Building Construction: 18-story Office Tower

The Client

A large international real estate holdings and investments group.

The Project

Construction of an office tower building: 18 stories of office space above ground and five levels of underground parking. An international construction company was retained to construct the building, and a separate management firm was hired to oversee the project.

The Challenge

The client (the asset owner and investor) hired HCP Project Management Consulting to determine the likelihood that the project schedule created by the construction company would be completed on time. HCP received the project schedule file from the construction company in order to provide a comprehensive analysis to the investor. The project schedule consisted of 870 tasks over a duration of 25 months.

The Result

The resulting Deep Schedule Analysis prepared by HCP highlighted key problems and risks which would otherwise have jeopardized the on-schedule completion of the project. Confidence in the schedule as initially presented was low and it was determined that significant overall delays were likely.

Based on specific findings in the analysis report, the project managers from both the investor and the construction firm were able to coordinate efforts to mitigate or eliminate these issues, by focusing on what each could do best.

The HCP Advantage

  • The HCP Deep Schedule Analysis identified more than 8,800 (!) paths in the schedule, none of which had total duration float of less than 2 1/2 months. Of these, 1,461 (!) paths had a total duration float of less than 1 1/4 months. These facts, otherwise impossible to know, immediately indicated a very risky project.
  • The analysis revealed that the longest path in the project was not identical to the critical path! This diverted significant management attention to tasks, critical to the successful completion of the project, which otherwise may have been overlooked.
  • In addition to the longest critical path, the other 1,461 near-critical paths identified contained 254 tasks. Since these paths had duration floats of 1-20 days only, management attention was focused on these tasks as well to ensure that they did not ultimately risk the on-time completion of the project. With HCP, there would have been no other way to determine where this management attention was most needed.
  • Overall project integrity was significantly improved by allowing project managers to identify and address a variety of technical issues with the schedule itself.