Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Latest consultant's report: arena barely on schedule; transit connection still behind (but no graphic); release of revised project schedule indicating "delays" has been pushed back

The latest Arena Site Observation Report, dated 12/2/11 and based on a 10/27/11 site visit, indicates that the Barclays Center remains barely on schedule at the halfway point. Meanwhile, the associated transit connection, for a good while two months ahead of schedule, remains behind schedule.

The report, based on cash flow, is prepared by Merritt & Harris, the real estate consultant to the arena PILOT Bond Trustee.

The slowdown likely portends more late night and weekend work to ensure that the arena can achieve substantial completion, as planned, by 8/23/12.

Oddly enough, the report does not contain a graphic--as have previous monthly reports--regarding the progress of the transit connection. That could lead to the conclusion that they don't want to emphasize bad news. (I posed several queries, by email and phone, to Merritt & Harris, but didn't get a response.)

And, as noted below, the release of a revised schedule, once expected to become available in October, has been pushed back.

Construction progress chart

The chart indicates, as of October 2011, an overlap between projected and actual (empty circle) spending, suggesting that the previous lead has diminished.



Click on the chart to enlarge; note that the blue highlights indicate that, in October, when 4.85% of the total should have been spent, only 3.59% was spent. That left the project .11% ahead of schedule, while at the beginning of the year it was more than 5% ahead of schedule.

(Also note that what appears to be a horizontal line at September 2011 is mostly likely an artifact of the graphic, since apparently September 2011 covers two nodes, and the line resumes an upward path at October 2011.)

The Transit Connection

The document states:
The construction term of 20 months (August 2, 2010-April 1, 2012) is reasonable, but, due to early delays with approval of the test piles, had slipped by approximately 1 week.
That's misleading, as I wrote last month, the "early delays with approval of the test piles" did not cause ongoing slippage in the Construction Schedule, since the project was able to return to schedule thanks to "excavation and demolition work."

There's no explanation as to why the graphic regarding the Transit Connection did not appear, but see graphics at bottom that indicate the changing table of contents.

Last month's graphic

Below is the graphic regarding Transit Connection progress from the previous report, dated 11/2/11.


A new schedule?

The document still hints that a new overall project schedule is coming, but the timing has been delayed. It states:
The GMP2 [Guaranteed Maximum Price 2] provides for an early completion bonus, which under Schedule AS 18, would be earned in July 2012.
But when is it due? The document at one point repeats a prediction from last month's report.

Elsewhere, it moves the goalposts:

Bottom line: as of last month's report, based on a late September site visit, the GMP2 was to be issued on 10/1/11. Now it's delayed.

Still, as I wrote last month, it's unclear how meaningful the extension would be. The arena has long been planned to open in the fall of 2012 even as final completion would occur in mid-2013.

So an extension that affects final completion would have a lesser impact than an extension that affects the opening date.

Deficiency

A section marked Deficiency indicates, as in previous reports, that some concrete compression test results have been found to be deficient, but also leaves things murky.
The 56-day testing presumably was complete as of June 2011, but no report has been offered.

A missing chart

The latest report:

Last month's report:


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