Using control systems to improve construction project outcomes

Florence Yean Yng Ling (Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore)
Wan Theng Ang (Land Transport Authority, Singapore, Singapore)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this paper is to identify control systems that give rise to better construction project performance; and develop and test project performance predictive models based on control systems adopted in the project.


Research design was questionnaire survey. Data were collected via Electronic mails. The sampling frame was Singapore-based construction firms.


In all, 16 control mechanisms are significantly correlated with project outcomes. The more important control mechanisms are: adequacy of project information to develop the project schedule; adequacy of float in the schedule; and quality of techniques used to support risk identification. Two relatively robust predictive models were constructed and validated to predict schedule and quality outcomes of construction projects. Schedule performance may be predicted by adequacy of float and stringency of criteria to select suppliers. Quality outcome is most significantly affected by competency of quality manager, rather than the hard systems adopted in the project.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations include low response rate, and subjective nature of the five-point Likert scale used to rate project outcomes and extent to which control mechanisms were adopted in the project.

Practical implications

The implication of the findings is that merely having good project management practices and adequate resources are not sufficient to achieve good project outcomes. Instead, construction projects need to have control systems in place, as they play an important role in project outcomes.


The paper has shown empirically that control systems affect project outcomes. They are needed not just to control the project, but also help the project to achieve good outcomes. The research designed and tested two relatively robust models to predict schedule and quality outcomes of a project. These models may be used to make an initial assessment of the project's likely outcome, based on the control systems that contractors are going to adopt.



Yean Yng Ling, F. and Theng Ang, W. (2013), "Using control systems to improve construction project outcomes", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 576-588.

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