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Aggregation of factors causing cost overruns and time delays in large public construction projects: Trends and implications

Abderisak Adam (Department of Construction Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Per-Erik Bertil Josephson (Department of Construction Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Göran Lindahl (Department of Construction Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 15 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that cost overruns and time delays exert on large public construction projects to clarify how past and current research regard factors causing cost overruns and time delays in large public construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper, which is based on an analysis of a literature selection consisting of 40 journal articles, investigates and ranks the occurrence of and the explanations for cost overruns and time delays in large public construction projects. The study makes use of a kiviat diagram/radar chart in order to visualize multivariate data.

Findings

Aggregated rankings of important causes of cost overruns and time delays are reported. These show a strong emphasis on the management aspect as a primary cause of cost overruns and delays. Additionally, there seems to be a trend toward deemphasizing the role of financial considerations in explaining cost overruns and delays. It is argued that there needs to be a more rigorous assessment of the impact that each factor has on cost increases and delays based on factual observed data as opposed to retrospective accounts from questionnaire respondents.

Research limitations/implications

Only public construction projects have been considered. The results will not be directly applicable to privately funded construction projects and/or projects of a smaller size.

Originality/value

The use of trend data, as illustrated in a kiviat diagram, showing how different ranking factors causing cost overruns and time delays has changed in importance over time.

Keywords

Citation

Adam, A., Josephson, P.-E.B. and Lindahl, G. (2017), "Aggregation of factors causing cost overruns and time delays in large public construction projects: Trends and implications", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 393-406. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-09-2015-0135

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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