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Engineering-Related Causes Impacting Targets Of Construction Projects: Critical Review

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Engineering-Related Causes Impacting Targets Of Construction Projects: Critical Review

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Time and cost overruns in construction projects are well known around the world. There are several fundamental root causes of such overruns. This paper addresses the engineering related causes which lead the project to miss its targets. Four main Factors were identified in the literatures; discrepancies, design errors, rework and variation order. It has been found that these factors are correlated to each other, and surely impacting the schedule and budget performance. Main engineering causes are somewhat similar between countries in the globe, and major change of design is very common. The study generates a conceptual framework of engineering related causes, to be investigated further in the future.
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Engineering-Related Causes Impacting Targets Of
Construction Projects: Critical Review
Dr. Asif Mahbub Karim
2
, Dr. Ahmed Salim Al Saeedi
1
1 Ph.D, Senior Construction Engineer, Oman.
2 Dean, Binary Graduate School, Binary University, Malaysia.
Abstract
Time and cost overruns in construction projects are well known around the world. There
are several fundamental root causes of such overruns. This paper addresses the engineering
related causes which lead the project to miss its targets. Four main Factors were identified
in the literatures; discrepancies, design errors, rework and variation order. It has been found
that these factors are correlated to each other, and surely impacting the schedule and budget
performance. Main engineering causes are somewhat similar between countries in the
globe, and major change of design is very common. The study generates a conceptual
framework of engineering related causes, to be investigated further in the future.
Key words: Construction delay factors, Time overrun, Design, and Engineering.
1. Introduction
Definition of project management has been discussed in many books and journals and one
of these is:
“the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet
project requirements” (PMBOK, 2008)
One of the common requirements of a project is to avoid delay in its schedule. This delay
has been defined by (Mubarak, 2005):
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“delay is an event or a condition that results in work activity starting, or project
completion, later than originally planned or an interruption or a hindrance to a
planned program”.
And by (Memon, et al., 2011):
“refers to progress compared to baseline construction schedule, Baseline
construction schedule refers to the schedule prepared by contractor before the start
of the project and approved by the client”.
A study conducted in Saudi Arabia revealing that 70% of construction projects suffered
from an overrun in schedule (A.Assaf & Al-Hejji, 2005). In more specific city, only 61%
of Mecca projects were completed on time (Elawi, et al., 2015). Sometimes the delay
reaches 90% like in Malaysia, in MARA projects (Memon, et al., 2011).
In a case study conducted by (S.Alnuaimi & Almohsin, 2013) in Omani Construction
Projects the delay was around 59% in 2007-2008 period and 42 % in 2009-2010.
And for the years after 2011 to 2014, in 40 construction public projects, 38 % of them
suffered an over run in schedule (Ruqaishi & Bashir, 2014).
In oil and gas industry, 73% of mega projects suffer from time overrun , and middle east is
the worst region in that department: 87% proportion of projects suffer from time overrun
(EY report in 2014) .
The major causes of delays are generated from different stakeholders involved in the
project delivery (Client, Contractors and Consultant).
There has been a framework developed by (AlSaeedi & Karim, 2018) shown below,
investigating the project schedule performance:
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Figure 1: Theoretical Framework of schedule performance
Based on this framework, one of the independent variables is Engineering Factors which
have a linear effect into the schedule performance.
2. Literature Review
Engineering factors has been part of the major factors of time and budget overrun in many
of the past studies; it includes the specification, drawings, design and others. These articles
are, not limited to: (A.Assaf & Al-Hejji, 2005) found “Late in reviewing and approving
design documents by owner” as the top 2 factor causing time overrun. (Doloi, et al., 2011)
found 2nd top factor “non-availability of drawing/design on time”. (Hao, et al., 2008) found
“design changes” one of the top five ranked. (Hwang, et al., 2012) found third top factor
contributing a delay is “design changes by owners”. (S.Alnuaimi & Almohsin, 2013) found
“change in initial design” is third important factor in commercial buildings in Oman. Some
more recent papers are (Jarkas & Younes, 2014) found “frequent change/variation orders
issued by the employer and lack of coordination among design disciplines” are the top third
and fourth respectively while (Elawi, et al., 2015) found “Redesigning-line services” is the
second top factor in Mecca construction projects. (Kalkani & Malek, 2016) found 2nd top
factor in Indian projects are “Drawing revision and clearances from
consultant/client/PMC”.
Thus, design issues are one of the main factors contributing to an expansion of the
completion date of a project and could cause a cost overrun. The researcher suggested
reclassifying heading of all factors related to design and technical issues to be an
Engineering Factors.
3. Finding
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3.1 Discrepancies
Discrepancy is one of the issues that face the industry in the Engineering, Technical and
Design part: one study in Pakistan done on causes of “Discrepancies”, (Choudhry, et al.,
2016) where they defined it as a difference between the design and site conditions” used
a questionnaire given to all stakeholders (client, main contractor and consultant) in the
construction of buildings. The questionnaires consisted of possible 65 causes generated
from the past studies on this matter.
The top finding was revealed that, in the design stage the engineers are not given complete
information or data to deliver an error free document. Understandably, this factor of
discrepancy has been ranked first by the client, but what was surprising is that the
consultant ranked it first as well. This implies the importance of such factor that needed to
be paid more attention to. Moreover, the researcher appreciates the unbiased response from
the consultant of the project as sometimes the blame goes to other stakeholders especially
to the client. The authors found that the reason behind this factor is that the consultant
rushes their engineers to finish the design because they made a promise to the owner of
some specific deadline. This will have more pressure to the workforce which results in a
design that is mediocre and incomplete.
The second top factor of discrepancies in construction in the same study is still within the
design phase. The factor is failure to review the structure design not being according to
standards and governmental laws. The design not only has to be following the standards
but also to the local regulations. (Choudhry, et al., 2016) explicitly states that this phase,
that is design phase, is the phase that is more likely to be the source of the discrepancies
and the results backed this up.
The third top cause is; discrepancies take place when there is a change ordered by the client.
This change is triggered by the financial difficulties that the owner faces. This factor found
during construction phase where the client goes through a difficulty in budget and tend to
change some design in the project to save some money. Unfortunately, this results in a
discrepancy in the work package.
One of the important factors mentioned also, the unrealistic period given to complete the
design stage. This factor has been identified by the consultant as the second top and the
seventh by the client. In other words, there is an acknowledgement by the owner that it is
an important aspect in causing the discrepancies which caused by the client themselves.
They are sometimes unaware that engineering & design phase takes time and in order to
get a complete and higher quality design. Moreover, they need to give the consultant some
slack and let them work and create drawings within a reasonable time frame, not too little
and not too much.
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In addition, the consultant has pointed a finger at the construction contractor in this study.
They ranked the incompetent personnel within this contractor as the fourth top factor in
causing discrepancies in the project. Consultant thinks despite that sometimes they have
short period of time of design to deliver drawings and documents, they still feel the main
construction contractor plays big role in causing mismatches. Overall, this factor is the top
sixth in the list.
(Choudhry, et al., 2016) at the end, recommended that all parties involved in the project
must be aligned and they should communicate effectively among themselves to eliminate
many discrepancies.
3.2 Errors
(Lopez, et al., 2010) conducted a peer review on the various definitions of design errors.
Out of all these meanings, the researcher leans toward (Hagan & Mays, 1981) and (Busby,
2001) because of their relevance to the construction industry. According to the selected
authors, definition of error is “a failure of the human to do a designed task within specified
limits of exactness” and “which is unexpected, and which could not be attributed entirely
to chance” and “failure to deliver client requirement”.
When a group of designers given a design task, they spend some time into the activity to
deliver some specific product, i.e. a drawing. The background and experience of each and
every one in this group varies. Also, the work environment they are in, sometimes is
different from others. Therefore, (Busby, 2001) stated that it is not coincidence that these
incidents take place, there are actually factors and causes of errors that occurs mostly in
design stage. (Lopez, et al., 2010) shed the light on causes of design errors that were
mentioned in the previous studies, “lapseswas one of those causes. (Henriksen & Dayton,
2006), (Cheyne, et al., 2006) and (Carriere, et al., 2008) have discussed about this factor.
they stated that this failure (making an error) could occur to most of us and it is not
uncommon. While “Slips” occur when the needed information is available, but the
execution is not done as per the plan, according to (Zhang, et al., 2004).
So, an example for lapses, it is seen almost every day during the design, a designer may be
fatigued and working on some drawings, as a result, these drawings lack precision and
quality. That is why it is recommended to have a review panel to go over such drawings or
technical documents in order to ensure these “lapses” are captured and corrected
immediately. According to (Sonnentag & Zijlstra, 2006), the more fatigue is there, the
more short breaks are needed to get back to neutral state of mind and therefore there are
less errors.
Another factor of design error learnt from (Lopez, et al., 2010) is how the organization
handles such situations. In other words, does the organization track, monitor and control
these errors? the author revealed an example in the building construction, where their
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engineers don’t track the errors that took place and surly don’t learn from it. In oil and gas
projects in Oman, the situation can be seen better in the researcher opinion. Not only there
is a complete review team who is primarily goal to fetch any deviations and errors in the
design but also there a lesson learnt tool. This tool includes the lesson (error made in the
past), which disciplines/area and what the control/mitigation is, in order to avoid repetition.
Also, there is a quality assurance team who is on top of every team member , performing
audits to ensure the design up to the standard and this in line with (Love, et al., 2000)
emphasis about quality assurance.
(Lopez, et al., 2010) (Feld & Carper, 1996) (Tilley & McFallan, 2000)and (Love, et al.,
2008) have all agreed on the obvious factor of design error, sometimes, which is the
incompetency of the engineers. When an organization hires incompetent designers, they
get what they pay for, a bad quality drawings and documents. What is interesting that these
authors coupled the factor of incompetency with the notion of lowest bid tendering. They
explained that because engineering firms attempts to secure a contract, they tend to lower
their bid. Lowering the bids leads to hiring mediocre and low experience designers which
results in error prone documents. If engineering firms hires experienced designers, they are
obligated to pay them what they deserve, and that might exceed the bidding price.
Therefore, the previously mentioned authors share some of the blames (error causes) to the
tendering process that grants the lowest bid not of the best bid.
The last factor (Lopez, et al., 2010) shed the light on, and by no means it is not the least, is
communication and coordination. That could be communication between client and
designers where sometimes the designer deliver something that is not what owner desires,
or that coordination and integration between design phase and construction stage. When
there are projects contracted two separate contractors for design and construction, there is
less coordination between the two and consequently the design errors are likely to occur.
Having said that, still, (Lopez, et al., 2010) unfortunately found in Australia buildings
projects, that even though the design and build contracts (assigned to one contractor) still
lacks coordination between design and construction team. Although theoretically, the latter
contracts, the communication among the two teams are improved. (Arditi, et al., 2002)
argue that even if the design package has been awarded to one contractor and the
construction is to another, errors can be minimized by adopting the philosophy of
“constructability”. Such philosophy helps the designers see through a model as if it is real,
at site, to reflect on their work which leads to a higher quality of design. (Arditi, et al.,
2002) found around only 50% engineering firms have adopted constructability concept,
and that led to increase in number of errors.
(Lopez, et al., 2010) have discussed many of the major accidents that resulted in many
fatalities and injuries. These accidents were mainly caused by engineering errors especially
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structural design. While safety is the main concern, (Lopez, et al., 2010) also implicitly
mentioned that design error eventually will affect project overall schedule and budget.
3.3 Rework
It is true that there are some other factors contributing to rework in construction projects,
like the contract document not being written correctly or fully (Rounce, 1998) &
(Yogeswaran, 1998), but there are other factors that have been discussed earlier which are
the main triggers of rework : design errors.
(Manavazhi, 2004) and (Tilley, et al., 1997) suggested that a vital factor leading to rework
is the errors that occur in design stage. (Rounce, 1998) looked at the whole design practices
and found flaws that lead to errors and eventually rework. These flaws may include
shortage of drawings and deliverables, and the incompetence of design procedures.
Rework has been defined by (Love, 2002) : is the process to re-perform or redo some task
that has been done before. (Sun, et al., 2004) states that this task or activity was not done
in the right way at the first time. (Hao, et al., 2008) have called rework “a pure waste” and
it would appear because of its total negative impact on the project. Most of the rework
comes in a form of change orders in to be executed formally according to (Hao, et al.,
2008), and the subject of such phenomena, will be discussed later.
A study conducted by (Love, et al., 2006) investigating the concept of rework which occurs
during the project cycle especially design and construction. 420 questionnaires were
distributed to random engineering organizations, 161 returned and used for the data
analysis.
It was found that the first ranked factor contributing to rework is lack of coordination within
the design team, from the perspective of engineers themselves and the construction
contractor. It is brave to see the consultant designers admit that they need to improve
communication among themselves to avoid rework in the project. Losing staff within the
design stage was ranked second overall cause of rework according to (Love, et al., 2006)
study. It would appear this is a problem that most construction industry suffer from. When
a full team of design is working on a piece of work, and then suddenly one of the main
engineers goes to another firm, this leaves a vacuum in the place. This team will try to fill
in this vacuum by sharing the left engineer’s roles and responsibilities and during all this
process, a rework would creep in.
“Incomplete design at the time of tender” was ranked third overall cause of rework in
Australian projects. Putting some much pressure on teams, and giving them unrealistic
duration to complete their tasks, is definitely resulting in “incomplete” works. When the
design is not finalized totally, and it is presented at the tendering stage to go ahead for
construction, some packages in the plant will be missed. It means that some other party has
to do it, and that is more likely to be the construction contractor. Although, (Love, et al.,
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2006) confirms explicitly that in the design stage, most of rework is “originated”, and so
much less of rework accounted by the main construction contractor. The contractor is not
fully competent to design and build or install, therefore rework is the likely result.
“Inadequate client brief to prepare detailed contract” has been ranked tenth overall cause
of rework in (Love, et al., 2006) study. It would suggest that quality of contract document
has small significance in generating rework in projects in Australia. As matter of fact,
(Love, et al., 2006) confirms by statistics tool that there is no correlation between the
document of the contract and rework, and that is unlike of (Rounce, 1998); (Yogeswaran,
1998), where they found that the contract document plays significant role in getting number
of rework higher.
(Love, et al., 2006) then recommend in order to reduce the amount of rework, that the
design team shall “cross check and referenced with other projectswhich is not happening
greatly in Australia construction section. And as discussed in design error section of this
study, the activity of double checking or reviews of the work done during design, is not
there because of tendency of clients going for the lowest bid. Lowest bidders engineering
firms will likely give a below par services, incompletes ones. Moreover, for the same
purpose (Love, et al., 2006) recommend reducing number of revisions in one drawing
which may lead to confusions and eventually rework.
3.4 Variations Orders
The researcher would start with the article of (Lu & Issa, 2005) that suggested that the
primary cause of change order is the change of design, and they believed that it is the more
common source for change order. Change of design is believed to be the most dangerous
factor that would hurt project targets of time and cost according to (Lu & Issa, 2005). Is
this true? Let’s find out by going through other literature in the same topic.
Before going into the details, it would appear that change order and variation order are
almost the same; the past literature doesn’t cover if there is a difference between them.
Although, one of the early interviews conducted by the researcher to one of the rich
experience professionals in this business, stated that there is a minor difference. Variation
order is a wider term than change order, they are all the same, but variation has a bigger
scope. Nevertheless, we will go with the assumption that change order is the same as
variation order since as mentioned, the past literature suggests there is no difference. One
example, When (Enshassi, et al., 2010) referenced from (A.Assaf & Al-Hejji, 2005) paper,
they called it variation order, although (A.Assaf & Al-Hejji, 2005) called it change order
in their article. Also, almost all literature gone through, whenever the authors explain
variations, immediately the word change comes in the sentence.
In addition, the researcher found a study by (Zaneldin, 2006) where he ranked the causes
of claims. The top cause was change orders and, in the list, he stated it as “Change or
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Variation orders”. This support the researcher argument that change, and variations are
meant the same in the context of project management. The same found in (Adeyemi &
Segwabe, 2016) article in the same topic where called it “Change or Variation orders”, as
it is the fifth ranked cause of claims in Botswana.
One of the early studies of variation orders was done by (Hibberd, 1986) and he implied
that it is an order of change in the quality or the quantity of any of the deliverables assigned
to the contractor, that are explicitly mentioned in the project contract. Changes in a project
are inevitable, occur in any stage of a project, because of a wide range of reasons, they vary
from being small change or a large one (Hao, et al., 2008). However, what is important in
the change whether this change has a small impact on project performance or severe!
According to (Hao, et al., 2008), almost all changes don’t occur because somebody plans
to change, they happen unexpectedly and what is important is that there is a mutual
agreement among all who are involved in these changes and variations.
(Hao, et al., 2008) state that agreement must be well documented and to be officially and
formally recorded. This agreement is as if starts to be part of the construction contract, that
is between the owner and the main construction contractor (O’Brien, 1998), (FIDIC, 2005)
and (Arain & Pheng, 2005). It is believed that change order costs up to 15% of project
budget in most projects worldwide (Desi, et al., 2015) and (Diekmann & Nelson, 1985).
(Enshassi, et al., 2010) have studied the construction project in Gaza, Palestine. They have
used questionnaires spread to different stakeholders to collect their data of top factors
contributing to change orders, out of 64 identified from the previous literature. The findings
shown in below table, It could be seen that design issues are dominating the findings and
“change in design” is the top of those issues. Moreover, if it was not for the special
circumstances Gaza has been at, change of design which is second overall, would be first
top factor of variation order in Gaza. A siege has been placed on this city of Palestine as
explained by (Enshassi, et al., 2010), thus it affects the results. Getting materials and
equipment in and out of the city has been challenging.
Back to “change in design” factor, it was unsurprisingly agreed by all stakeholders to be
the 2nd top factor. It shows its obvious frequency and consequences in variation order topic.
“errors in design” comes fourth in the top ranked factors, and again it is part of the design
issues that affects variation order. (Enshassi, et al., 2010) urged to minimize those errors
in design so that construction team would not suffer from many orders of change.
(Halwatura & Ranasinghe, 2013) used both questionnaires and case studies of 11 road
projects in Sri Lanka. The grouping of the factors was the same of (Enshassi, et al., 2010)
study except for the “donor” group. The latter group would appear to be available in areas
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where living is hard and expensive to the degree that some external person ‘donates” the
project.
(Halwatura & Ranasinghe, 2013) finding seems different from any other country in the
world as shown in the table. However, the researcher could still see these factors of
variation order caused by the consultant. It could be interpreted that “estimation” as the
very early design and plan of the project. If the data collected from the site visits are not
proper followed up by inadequate design, then the inevitable will occur: a change order.
Nevertheless, (Halwatura & Ranasinghe, 2013) stated client related factors are the leading
ones as they are supposed to double check and review the consultant works. Plus, the
authors pointed out that the consultant and contractors are hesitant to admit in the paper of
the case study that “political pressure” applied by the owner is one of the main causes of
variation order. It has been explained that they seem to be afraid to come forward, in order
to a guarantee contracts from the owner and therefore, the consultant and main contractor
don’t want to upset the owner.
(Assbeihat & Sweis, 2015) Investigated the public projects in Jordan to find out the top
factors that causes order of change. The authors of this study change the group naming
slightly, to “Input Factors, Internal Environment, and Exogenous Factors”. The IF would
be about the resources, either human or material & equipment. IE involves the different
stakeholder, the owners, consultant, and main contractor. EF would the other factors or
external factors like weather or governmental laws. As shown in the below table, the top
ranked factors are all design related issues, whose accountability is by the owner and the
consultant. Modification of design and extra works sits upfront in the importance list which
signifies its role in causing the change orders in Jordanian projects.
(Assbeihat & Sweis, 2015) have emphasized that these factors could be applicable for all
developing countries, and it would appear to be true in Oman as well. Actually this is in
line with (Ali S. Alnuaimi, et al., 2010) who confirmed with their studies that extra works
that are imposed by the client is the main top factor casing variation order in Oman public
construction projects.
A recent paper by (Kolawole, et al., 2016) who studied building construction projects in
Northern Nigeria and their causes of variation order. They adopted the same methodology
of the mentioned articles: questionnaires whose response rate among the highest the
researcher found; it was more than 80%. On the top three ranked factors of change order
were yet again related to with the change in design and errors as seen in (Assbeihat &
Sweis, 2015) & (Halwatura & Ranasinghe, 2013) and (Enshassi, et al., 2010). As matter of
fact (Kolawole, et al., 2016) found that the design and errors to be ranked first, similarly
to the selected above articles of change orders, the top ranked group responsible for
variation order were the consultant and owners.
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3.4.1 Change Order in Oman
(Ali S. Alnuaimi, et al., 2010) have investigated various public construction projects in
Oman. They have used questionnaires along with four case studies as their research
methods.
(Ali S. Alnuaimi, et al., 2010) have found that the change order in one of the case studies
investigated caused a project to be delayed 100% which is the double duration of the
original baseline plan. Other case studies showed the time overrun percentage ranges
between 8% to 33%. In other words, all of the construction projects studied by (Ali S.
Alnuaimi, et al., 2010) have suffered from time overrun because of variation order.
The authors not only have investigated the causes, and effects but also the most
stakeholders who is “benefiting” from the variation order. It has been found the contractor
is the one gaining from this issue and because they are getting extra works and thus
additional revenue.
Looking in depth in the top three ranked factors of variation order in Oman, the first two
factors are exactly the same as (Assbeihat & Sweis, 2015) findings in Jordan projects. Extra
and additional works is the top factor overall, and at the same time all the different
stakeholders have placed this as the first factor from their point of view. It would appear
that there is a lack of investigation at very early stage of the project, lack of basic design
as called in oil and gas projects. When there is a very little design done at the beginning of
the project and then this design is given to a construction contractor, additional works
would be definitely there. This extra work is a continuation of design that is supposed to
be done before. Consequently, there is the 2nd factor, where the client would have to order
to have a modification in the design to complete the project.
What the researcher noticed in the findings, there was one factor ranked third among the
contractor perception which is “Unrealistic design periods”. It seems that the contractor
would feel the period given to the design stage is not enough and that what causes extra
works and modification. This mentioned factor has been found also as the top first factors
in studies of time overrun causes in many articles the researcher gone through like
(Fallahnejad, 2012) , ( Alshamsi, et al., 2019) and (Naimi, et al., 2008).
Study
Factors of Variation Order
Determinants of Change Orders in
Building Construction Projects in
Northern Nigeria
(Kolawole, et al., 2016)
Design and Document Related factors
Error and Omission
Change of Specification by owner
Bogus Contingency sum Prime cost Sums
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Factors Affecting Change Orders In
Public Construction Projects
(Assbeihat & Sweis, 2015)
Jordan
Owner instructs modification to design
Owner instructs additional works
Ambiguities and mistakes in
specifications and drawings-const
Causes of Variation Orders in Road
Construction Projects in Sri Lanka
(Halwatura & Ranasinghe, 2013)
Questionneers:
Poor estimation, Unforeseen site
conditions, Political pressure”
Case study:
Poor estimation, Poor investigation,
unforeseen site conditions, change in
design by consultant/design changes
Causes of Variation Orders in
Construction Projects in the Gaza Strip
(Enshassi, et al., 2010)
Lack of construction materials and
equipment spare parts due to closure and
siege
Change in design by consultant
Lack of consultant's knowledge of
available materials and equipment
Errors and omission in design
Causes, Effects, Benefits, and Remedies
of Change Orders on Public Construction
Projects in Oman
(Ali S. Alnuaimi, et al., 2010)
Owner instructs additional works
Owner instructs modification to design
Non availability of construction manuals
and procedures for project construction in
Oman
Table 1: Variation Order Causes
3.4.2 Change of Design in Oil and Gas Sector
There are limited numbers of studies discussing design changes in oil and gas sector. The
following article has been found and to be investigated thoroughly by the researcher. As
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seen previously, one of the important and common sources of variation order is the change
in design. This factor will more likely contribute to rework, and definitely a change order
and eventually a time and cost overrun into the construction project. Variation orders
(change of design part of these orders) occur more in “large projects” than the smaller ones
according to (Hao, et al., 2008) and the oil and gas projects are large and complex compared
to some other type of projects; Thus the following paper is to be examined.
(Zadeh, et al., 2014) defined the “design changes” as any addition, omission or adjustment
to established project design requirements, documents, drawings or specifications”. In
other words, for ongoing project, that is already running whether in design or construction
stage, if a change in design occur, it is considered a design change. This change might be
an addition of a drawing or deletion of such drawing, or any revisions in any of the design
documents.
(Zadeh, et al., 2014) conducted a study on the major factors causing design changes in oil
and gas projects. A questionnaire developed after examined by experts in the industry in
Canada who have more than 20 years’ experience. The questionnaire got finalized with 28
factors that could cause the design changes and it is spread to 115 “practitioners” in the oil
and gas sector. Categorization of such factors has been into the following: “project
management practices”, “project related”, “Change- related” and “human related”.
Although there was 48% response rate, the authors suggested that it is ok since more than
60% of the respondents have had more than 10 years’ experience in the same field of the
study.
The top ranked factor contributing to design changes found by (Zadeh, et al., 2014) was
related to “project management practices”. It has been found that the scope of project is
not well defined and this is the main source to design changes in oil and gas projects in
Canada. If the scope is incomplete or vague or generic for that matter, the design team will
tend to guess how a particular package should be designed. Then later on, the client comes
in and suggests that this is not what is wanted, well the scope of work is not that clear, can
be claimed.
(Zadeh, et al., 2014) discussed some other literatures reviewers who listed and agreed this
factor as one of the causes of design changes, as well.
The second top factor among the list is the overlap of schedules or called by others fast
track projects. What happens in the fast track projects, is the parallel activities that are
running are the same time. For example, civil and piping works start at site without
electrical or instrument works has yet to complete its design. There is a big chance that
there will be a change in the design when projects are run this way, this happens quite often
in some projects in GCC. There was one building that had been already constructed while
still the design of electrical and instrument are still in progress. After conclusion of the
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design of electrical & instrument, the site team has found that the number of panels to be
entered in this finished building can’t be accommodated. Thus, the whole project team
needed to figure out a way to solve the issue and make change in the design!
Lack of experience of designers and engineers has been found the third top factor causing
design changes by the study of (Zadeh, et al., 2014). It is given, that the design team must
be experience enough to make an engineering of a building or plant especially with a
complex project like in the oil and gas. Having inexperience and incompetent crew will
likely to have a below par design which eventfully causes a rework and change. This factor
has been brought up by (Lopez, et al., 2010) study when they were analyzing design errors
in projects. It could be concluded that incompetency of the design team causes errors and
design changes which jeopardize the project overall schedule.
Zadeh et al. (2014) and Alshamsi et al. (2019) has stated explicitly within their article that
design changes will likely make the overall schedule of the project miss its deadline and
causes cost overrun. Moreover, one of the key factors that contribute to design changes
was the overlap tasks between design and construction. This factor has been suggested to
lead to time overrun of in oil and gas sector.
4. Engineering Factors Impact on Project Targets
4.1 Impact of Errors
(Tilley, et al., 1997) have expressed the positive correlation between design errors and
delay in overall project schedule. They stated that design errors lead to design changes, and
these changes results in time overrun. (Lopez, et al., 2010)have discussed design errors in
details and concluded that “project performance” will be impacted if number of design
errors are increased. Project performance has been known across the industry, to include
time and cost of the project.
For the Budget, (Lopez & Love., 2012) have set up questionnaires to include the
respondents’ experience in projects there were involved in. Respondents needed to list the
causes of the error that take place in design phase and how much the error costs the project.
The cost includes both indirect and direct ones. The indirect cost as explained by the
authors are ones that have to do with the aftermath of error event itself like decrease in
productivity and claims.(Lopez & Love., 2012) found that the impact of the design errors
was different from one project to another. In some projects the error costs 1% out of the
value of the contract while others reach up to 90%. However, the authors measured the
mean of all these findings, and found the cost of the design error to be around 14% as a
total. The direct cost and the indirect ones are almost the same 7 % each.
The following a framework of design errors based on the discussed literature review above:
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Figure 2: Conceptual Framework of Design Errors
4.2 Impact of Reworks
(Love, et al., 2006) explicitly stated that rework has a negative effect on completion date
of the project, the same author, in another paper written (Love, 2002) stated rework does
influence project targets of time and cost in Australian construction projects. The influence
unfortunately is negative, it pushes the project overall schedule beyond the target date.
4.3 Impact of Variation Order
(Desi, et al., 2015), (Halwatura & Ranasinghe, 2013), (Enshassi, et al., 2010) (Assbeihat
& Sweis, 2015) and (Kolawole, et al., 2016) have stated that change order affects both time
and cost performance. In addition , in a study by (Ali S. Alnuaimi, et al., 2010) in Oman
public construction projects, found that the most effect of change order in Oman, is the
time overrun and over budget in the baselines of the project.
Moreover (Memon, et al., 2014) have investigated the variations order and its effect on
time and budget performance using Average Index Method. The first finding was that
variation order impacts both the project schedule and budget.
Interestingly (Memon, et al., 2014) study showed that there is an agreement by the client,
consultant and main construction contractors that “changes in design” affects time
performance. They all ranked this variation order factor to be the first one under the
category of “design issues” that will cause delay in the project. It would suggest that such
Rework
Accidents
Low quality
Cost overrun
Design Errors
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factor is vital to be controlled and monitored closely otherwise it would definitely give the
project team a hard time completing the project as planned.
Figure 3: Conceptual Framework of Engineering Related Factors.
5. Conclusion
This paper reviewed the Engineering Factors contributing to time and cost overrun in
projects and it also presented the conceptual framework that can be utilized for future
studies.
In the past reviewed studies, Engineering Factors have been found to play a vital role in
schedule and budget performance, which are: Discrepancies, Errors, Reworks and
Variation Orders. Most of these factors are correlated to each other. For example,
correlation of Design Errors is not limited to time and cost overrun only, but also to rework,
Variation Order and accidents. Variation Order could lead to increase of number of claims,
discrepancies and rework. The most common source of variation order is the design issues,
whether be change in design, errors and extra works imposed in the design phase.
Lastly, it is observed that very few articles were found to investigate the Engineering
Factors in oil and gas projects in the world.
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