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SD-6 – Control of Construction Project Scope

1.0 The Problem and Purpose of this Report:

The Business Roundtable Report A-6 stated that “Poor scope definition at the time of budgeting ranks as the highest impact item that causes projects to run over budget. Loss of scope control during design ranks second in impact.” (Business Roundtable, 1982). A recent doctoral dissertation (Smith, 1983) reported that construction industry officials considered lack of scope definition to be the most serious problem on construction projects. The first goal of this report then is to explore the major problems caused by inadequate scope definition. For each problem area identified, the report will answer three questions:

  1. What is the problem, and why is it a problem?
  2. How does poor scope definition contribute to the problem?
  3. What can industry members do to control or reduce this problem?

Equally important to the impacts of poor scope definition are the causes of poor scope definition. The fact that inadequate scope definition causes problems on projects is well recognized, yet projects are still undertaken in this manner. Assuming there are circumstances which preclude full scoping of projects, the report will show a systematic framework for the decision on the level of project definition to be provided.

Blanket recommendations of company procedures, applying to all firms, cannot be made in a report of this nature. Rather, the report attempts to identify the factors, and impacts of the factors to be considered in making procedural decisions. It is the intent of this report to stimulate thought by decision-makers on how they can reduce the problems caused by poor scope definition.

Table of Contents:

1: Introduction

1.0 The Problem and Purpose of this Report

1.1 Report Organization

1.2 Report Terminology

2: Research Methodology

2.0 Graphical Summary

2.1 Formulating the Research Plan

2.2 Literature

2.3 Primary Data Collection and Analysis

2.4 Research Completion

2.5 Confidentiality

3: Reasons for Inadequate Scope Definition

3.0 Introduction

3.1 Possible Reasons

3.2 Evaluation and Results

3.3 Implications

3.4 Recommendations

3.5 Industry Trends

3.6 Summary

4: Early Estimates

4.0 Introduction

4.1 “Normal” Estimating Sequence

4.2 Terminology in Estimates

4.3 Conceptual Estimate

4.4 Factored Estimate Problems – Preparation

4.5 Non-corroborated Problems

4.6 Problems with the Use of Factored Estimates

4.7 Summary

5: Project Changes and “Creeping” Scope

5.0 Introduction

5.1 Scope Changes versus Design Development

5.2 Problems with Changes on Poorly Defined Projects

5.3 The Persistence of Problems Involving Changes

5.4 Recommendations

5.5 Summary

6: Problems with and Control of Bulk Quantities

6.0 Introduction

6.1 Bulk Quantity Control Difficulties

6.2 Other Problems in Controlling Bulk Quantities

6.3 Control Tools

6.4 Summary

7: Two Case Studies

7.0 Introduction

7.1 Case Study 1, W.H. Sammis Plant

7.2 Project Results

7.3 Implications

7.4 Case study 2: H.K. Ferguson and Anheuser-Busch

7.5 Recommendations from Case Studies

8: Framework for Scope Definition

8.0 Introduction

8.1 Phase 1, the Idea

8.2 Conceptual Engineering

8.3 Detailed Engineering

8.4 Engineering Completion and Construction

9: Research Achievements and Issues for Further Study

9.0 Introduction

9.1 Research Achievements

9.2 Issues for Further Study

9.3 Summary

Attachment A: Introductory Questionnaire

Attachment B: Interview Guide 1

Attachment C: Interview Guide 2

Attachment D: Confidentiality Statement


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