Predictive Tools (Archived)

RT-107 Topic Summary
RT 107


The construction industry requires comprehensive predictive tools that will allow measurement of critical indicators and accurate predictions of project success while a project is progressing. Project success is normally defined as meeting the project criteria for cost, schedule, safety, and performance. The research team found that many predictive tools, systems, and processes are available to monitor and track a project, but the industry has neither combined nor accumulated these tools into a comprehensive package.

The team’s goal was to “close this performance gap” by developing a predictive tool process that would:

  • Provide a comprehensive project data analysis tool to continually monitor a project. CAPP is a program developed to assess project performance during the project life cycle, benchmark to predict project performance, and provide a method for early warning detection to predict budget and schedule expectations.
  • Develop a detailed process to identify critical procedures that should be in place throughout the life of a project. The Predictive Tools Road Map and User’s Guide is a flow chart that displays indicators of project problems and possible outcomes during the project life cycle. Indicators and outcomes are mapped to tools that are available throughout the industry and reference supporting CII publications.
  • Provide a single access tool to help a project team identify important CII documents for predictive tools. The Index of CII Tools is a listing of tools and publications that are cross-referenced to the Road Map indicators and outcomes. The Index of CII Tools can also be used as a stand-alone reference to identify documented techniques for managing projects.

The payback for project teams, and in fact everyone involved with a project, is improved project performance through:

  • Improved pre-project planning
  • Continuous performance measurement
  • Early warning and identification of problems
  • Preventative and corrective action planning

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Continuous Assessment of Project Performance (CAPP)

The team developed a computer program “Continuous Assessment of Project Performance (CAPP)” to help project managers predict project outcomes from start of detailed design through construction completion. The team analyzed data from 54 completed projects and identified 76 continuous project variables that were helpful in predicting a project’s outcome. (RS107-1, p. 3) 

Data on these variables fed the CAPP database. Following are several examples:

  • Owner Expenditures – The amount of budgeted capital expended by the owner on the project. This includes design, procurement, and construction costs, as well as contingency, land, license fees, owner management staff, and interest on borrowed capital.
  • Contractor Construction Effort-Hours Expended – The number of craft efforthours expended during construction by all prime contractors and subcontractors in the form of field labor after budget appropriation
  • Invoices Paid by Contractor – The total dollar amount of invoices paid by the contractor organization (includes costs for material, equipment, labor, and overhead and profit paid to subcontractors and suppliers)
Reference: (RS107-1)

2 : CAPP Four Modules

The software consists of four modules: 1) data input, 2) data normalization, 3) statistical analysis, and 4) graphical report generation. The graphical module generates the S-curves for the successful and less-than successful projects. The software provides the flexibility to analyze data from different perspectives:

  1. Project type (e.g., process plant, manufacturing, and general building)
  2. Project size
  3. Organization type (e.g., owner, contractor, and designer)
  4. Contract strategy for designer and constructor (e.g., lump sum and reimbursable cost)

CAPP provides the framework to collect data for benchmarking purposes as well as provides an aid in pre-project planning. (IR107-2, p. vii)

Below is a sample CAPP output curve for the variable “Actual Owner Expenditures” for a project whose input parameters included: 1) a process plant construction type, 2) a reimbursable designer contract type, 3) a lump-sum construction contractor contract type, and 4) project size less than $900 million.

Reference: (IR107-2)

3 : Updating Company Data

Since every project is unique, users of the CAPP software must augment the database with data from their own projects. Below is an entry screen for allowing a company to update the database. (IR107-2, p. 9)
Reference: (IR107-2)

4 : Predictive Tools Road Map

The Road Map was designed to assist project teams in the successful execution of capital projects. The research team focused on cost, schedule, safety, and project objectives to identify indicators or problems and how they relate to project outcomes. A typical project life cycle was divided into six phases common within the industry: Business Planning, Pre-Project Planning, Design and Procurement, Construction, Commissioning and Startup, and Operations. The time frame in which the objectives were examined started with the business planning phase and continued through facility operation. (RS107-1, p. 9) 

The figure below explains how to read the Road Map. 

Reference: (RS107-1)

5 : Index of CII Tools

The tools can be found in the “Index of CII Tools,” an Excel file that comes with IR107-3. The “Index of CII Tools” is a listing of 298 tools identified and classified from a complete review of published CII source documents SD-1 through SD-97. Each document was researched for a procedure, program, business practice, or discrete function that could be considered a “predictive tool” that might enable a project manager to proactively improve project performance. Each tool is numbered and classified as it applies to cost, schedule, safety, or project objectives. Each tool is displayed in the Index with information as shown below. (RS107-1, p. 15)
Reference: (RS107-1)

6 : Implementation Tool #1

IR107-2, Continuous Assessment of Project Performance

This resource describes a process whereby owner, engineer and construction contractor organizations can use continuous variables to predict project outcomes from start of detailed design through construction completion. S-curves were developed for two project outrcome categories:

  • Successful projects, meeting or exceeding budget and schedule expectations
  • Less-than-successful projects, not meeting budget or schedule expectations

This publication has been archived because its associated software is no longer supported.

Reference: (IR107-2)

7 : Implementation Tool #2

IR107-3, Predictive Tools Road Map and User’s Guide

A graphical flow chart that displays indicators of some of the more common project problems, by phase, and relates them to a possible project outcome. For each indicator/outcome pair, the Road Map identifies tools that are available to give guidance to project managers on how to deal with the specified problem.

This publication has been archived and its software program (the Index to CII Tools Spreadsheet) is no longer supported.

Reference: (IR107-3)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule, Improved quality, Reduced/improved risk, Improved predictability

Research Publications

Predictive Tools Road Map - IR107-3

Publication Date: 11/1996 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 16 Status: Archived Tool

Continuous Assessment of Project Performance - IR107-2

Publication Date: 09/1996 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 52 Status: Archived Tool

Predictive Tools: Closing the Performance Gap - RS107-1

Publication Date: 02/1996 Type: Research Summary Pages: 18 Status: Archived Supporting Product

Development of a Predictive Tool for Continuous Assessment of Project Performance - RR107-11

Publication Date: 01/1996 Type: Research Report Pages: 196 Status: Archived Reference