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A Proactive Approach for Change Management and Control on Construction Projects


Changes on construction projects present tough and controversial issues. Change is one of the primary reasons for schedule delay and cost overrun, which create negative impact on project performance and profitability. The liability of change and its consequences are major sources of disagreements between project participants, which often lead to disputes or claims.

To answer the challenge of change, both industry and academia have developed change management techniques. Many studies have touched on the problem of quantifying project change's direct and cumulative impact and apportioning change's consequences to the responsible parties. However, more research needs to be done on predicting project change and proactive change management decision-making. This study addresses this important need and develops and tests a proactive change management tool.

Accordingly, this study conducts a comprehensive change analysis and develops a proactive change management model to support project change management. The model is developed from a large set of project data. It addresses the proactive aspect of project change management and most of the key project attributes that determine the success of a construction project. A new set of project data is used to test the model and illustrate its applications.

Among other things, this study identifies that:

(1) Project change has a negative impact on project performance.

(2) Design change and construction change are positively correlated.

(3) Various factors affect the amount of project change.

(4) Project decision-making should include careful consideration of these factors.

(5) A tool for predicting the amount of change would help improve project performance.

These findings and developments provide a good framework for proactive change management.

This study recommends that proactive change management be taken seriously in the project planning and design phases. In addition, the decision-making process should usually be directed towards minimizing project change. Finally, companies and organizations in the construction industry should collect and mine their project data to support their decision-making and improve cost efficiency.

The primary contribution of this study to the existing body of knowledge is the development of the proactive change management model that is based on analysis of a very large and detailed project database. This model will help industry professionals predict potential change on their projects and benchmark their change performance against a large set of projects. It improves stakeholder ability to manage project change and its consequent effects. With this tool, better change management will result and the cost effectiveness of the construction industry will be improved.

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