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On the duration and cost variability of construction activities: an empirical study

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journal contribution
posted on 22.11.2019 by Pablo Ballesteros-Perez, Enoc Sanz-Ablanedo, Robby Soetanto, M. Carmen Gonzalez-Cruz, Graeme D. Larsen, A. Cerezo-Narvaez
The unique nature of construction projects can mean that construction activities often suffer from duration and cost variability. As this variability is unplanned it can present a problem when attempting to complete a project on time and on budget. Various factors causing this variability have been identified in the literature, but they predominantly refer to the nature and/or context of the whole project, rather than their specific activities. In this paper, the order of magnitude of and correlation between activity duration and cost variability is analyzed in 101 construction projects with over 5000 activities. To do this, the first four moments (mean, standard deviation, skewness and kurtosis) of actual versus planned duration and cost (log) ratios are analyzed by project, phase of execution and activity type. Results suggest that, contrary to common wisdom, construction activities do not end late on average. Instead, the large variability in the activity duration is the major factor causing significant project delays and cost overruns. The values of average activity duration and cost variability gathered in this study will also serve as a reference for construction managers to improve future construction planning and project simulation studies with more realistic data.

History

School

  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management

Volume

146

Issue

1

Citation

BALLESTEROS-PEREZ, P. .... et al., 2019. On the duration and cost variability of construction activities: an empirical study. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001739

Publisher

American Society of Civil Engineers

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Construction Engineering and Management and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001739

Acceptance date

17/05/2019

Publication date

2019-11-09

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

1943-7862

Language

en

Article number

04019093

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