Assessing causes of cost variation in road construction projects in post-conflict South Sudan
MetadataShow full item record
Management of variation orders (VO) in construction projects is one of the most important aspects of the contract administration and management. In the construction industry, the variation orders bear great importance starting from inception of the project to completion. Most of the road construction projects in post conflict South Sudan have undergone a number of variation orders. In most cases, the client had to spend more than what was initially estimated to be the project cost. Unfortunately, at times, disputes and unnecessary delays occur due to variation orders. This research study attempted to establish the possible causes, impacts and mitigation measures of variation orders in the road construction projects in South Sudan with specific objectives to: Establish the causes of cost variations in road construction project in Post-conflict South Sudan; assess the impact of cost variations in road construction project in post-conflict South Sudan and to explore strategic interventions to mitigate negative impacts of cost variations. From the literature, the study identified twenty-eight (28) causes of cost variations, ten (10) impacts of cost variations to road projects and thirteen (13) mitigation measures to causes of cost variations. The identified factors were then subjected to forty-four (44) professional engineers to gather their views on those issues. The responses were then analysed using a Relative Importance Index (RII) method to rank the relative importance of the responses. Questionnaire findings revealed that political instability, increase in scope of works, economic instability, change in design by the supervisor, replacement of construction materials, errors in design, client’s financial hurdles, inadequate design data, harsh weather conditions and change in government regulations constitute major causes of cost variations. Shortage of skilled labour, design complexity, non-compliant with government regulations, change in technology, safety, and health considerations are the least important causes of cost variations. The questionnaire, finding is that increase in project cost, delay in project completion, denied timely service delivery, termination of the project due to significant increase in project cost, bad contractor’s image, compromised quality of works and stakeholders losing interest in the project are the key impacts of the cost variations to road projects in post-conflict South Sudan. Reduction in project cost, repeat of works and organizational stained; relationships are the less important impacts of cost variations to road construction projects. The study revealed among others, project risk analysis by adequate definition of the problem, early engagement with the design approval authorities, client involvement at the design stage, detailed assessment of contractor’s capacity, engagement of skilled labour and decentralized decision-making system are important mitigation measures. The desk study of seven (7) selected road projects showed 28.67%as average of cost variations compared to the global average of 9.9%.