Power Plant Project – did incomplete control narratives result in out-of-control project schedule

Arbitration, Middle East and Africa

A disagreement between an EPC contractor and its subcontractor led to a dispute about the causes and impacts of delays and cost escalation for constructing a combined cycle power plant. We reviewed the project documents, records, and correspondence and compared the significance of the delays in the control narrative deliverables to the overall project delays and schedule milestones. We produced a technical expert report, followed by a joint expert report, and provided oral testimony at the arbitration hearing.

An EPC Contractor entered a contract with a Sub-Contractor for the design and engineering services scope for constructing a combined cycle power plant. The project’s execution plan included several schedule milestones for engineering deliverables, including “engineering complete.” The engineering deliverables were significant because they enabled other parties to complete their respective scopes to meet the project's construction, commissioning, and start-up dates.

One of the critical engineering deliverables of the project was the control system narratives, which are used to design and program the control systems for the various equipment and operation modes of the plant. On the project, many control system narratives were not “Issued for Use” until after the “engineering complete” milestone and were subject to multiple revisions and reissues.

The project experienced significant delays and cost escalation. However, the parties disagreed on the causes and impacts of the delays, including the significance of control narratives in the delays. The Subcontractor alleged that the delays were caused by reasons out of its control, and the control narratives were insignificant and had no real impact on the delays. In contrast, the EPC Contractor maintained that the delayed control narratives were directly responsible for commissioning delays and significantly contributed to the overall project delay. This led to a dispute, and the parties commenced arbitration.

Baker & O’Brien was engaged to analyze the project documents, contemporaneous records, and correspondence associated with the control narratives. In addition, we provided expert opinions on the significance of the delay in the control narrative deliverables and the revisions to the control narratives compared to the overall delay in the project (versus the schedule milestones in the project’s execution plan).

Baker & O’Brien prepared a technical expert report, a joint expert report and provided oral testimony at the arbitration hearing.

E. Shawn McDonald

Vice President, Houston Office Manager

Power Generation
Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) / Expert Witness Testimony / Arbitration
Middle East and Africa