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Systems thinking paradigm in construction cost estimating reliability

Che Haron, R. (2017) Systems thinking paradigm in construction cost estimating reliability. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis advocates the application of systems thinking in the cost estimating system. It describes research aimed at improving cost estimation reliability prepared by a quantity surveyor at the design stage. This research seeks to provide greater insight and added value to cost estimating practices. The systems thinking paradigm improves the current understanding and the technical performance among quantity surveyors in preparing reliable cost estimates. Cost estimation will be able to forecast construction cost for a new project with minimal project information as it is not a simple and straightforward task due to the integration of multiple variables and uncertainties. Current traditional cost estimation techniques have limitations adapting to real world projects. Further, the unit price rate for cost estimation does not provide a reliable and dynamic link between estimates corresponding to the duration and complexity of a new project. This flaw has a negative influence on project performance such as cost overrun. Hence, systems thinking can be a suitable system paradigm to improve construction theory and practice. An improved cost estimates technique enables more effective control of time and cost in construction projects. To achieve this, the objectives of this research include identifying factors affecting cost estimating accuracy, to investigate the influence of factors towards cost estimating, and to propose a systems thinking paradigm for improvement in cost estimating reliability. The systems thinking paradigm is proposed as an alternative methodology in tackling cost prediction challenges in which the interconnectedness among the variables is explained through the causal effects loops. It is the theoretical framework in which knowledge about systems is expressed in relation to cost estimating. The significance of this research will assist quantity surveyors improve cost prediction reliability. The research adopts a non¬experimental approach using the constructivism paradigm. It adopted a mixed method approach using content analysis of cost data from 1,170 Malaysian public education projects, document analysis, and conducting interviews with experienced quantity surveyors. The relationships between time and cost were examined through quantitative analysis, i.e. cross tabulation, correlation, and regression. Findings from this research reveal that traditional cost estimating techniques have a higher probability of error and are unlikely to be reliable. However, by adopting systems thinking, a new approach is recommended as a new paradigm to produce a more reliable cost estimation to support business investment decision making. Substantial benefits can be gained from this alternative which can minimize risks in cost estimation and support the successful management of construction projects.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Flanagan, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Construction Management and Engineering
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering
ID Code:75021

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