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A Framework to Diagnose and Improve a Contractor’s Management of Project Changes Open Access


Other title
Cumulative Impact of Changes on a Contractor's profitability
Internal cost
Project Management
Impact of change
Cost performance
Construction claim
Change order
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kim, Dongwoo
Supervisor and department
Mohamed, Yasser (Construction Engineering and Management)
Examining committee member and department
Chen, Yuxiang (Construction Engineering and Management)
Al-Hussein, Mohamed (Construction Engineering and Management)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Construction Engineering and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-06:Spring 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
Changes are commonly required throughout construction projects. Although some changes can be beneficial, most changes are believed to adversely affect project performance. Nevertheless, the matter of change is often overlooked by construction companies and practitioners, thereby resulting in cost and schedule overruns and inefficient operations. This study presents a framework for change management (CM) improvement process, with the study consisting of (1) business case (motivation), (2) diagnostics, and (3) recommendations to overcome such issues based on a case study of a heavy civil and mining construction company based in Western Canada. First, this study demonstrates the processes of investigating quantitative impact of changes on a construction company’s profitability from a practical perspective. Despite past researchers’ efforts to quantify the impact of changes, most studies have only analyzed impact on productivity, and no analysis of the impact on contractors’ internal costs or profitability has been reported. Furthermore, analysis of the effects of the timing of change has been limited. This study thus presents such analyses in a statistical manner. The results generated from such an investigation can provide a valuable business case for an organization to determine whether their existing CM process requires further investigation and/or improvement. Moreover, valuable lessons learned through a practical and detailed approach are presented which can be useful for future researchers seeking to improve the reliability of similar studies. Second, motivated by the findings from the quantitative and qualitative analyses of the impact of changes on the company’s profitability, this study further investigates the company’s Organizational Process Assets (OPA), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and project management practice in the context of CM. The investigation is conducted based on three different stages — planned, as-is, and to-be — in order to diagnose the current status of CM and to identify challenges and potential areas of improvement. Lastly, based on the key issues identified through CM, this study proposes a case-specific recommendation, a Learning Management System (LMS) that uses the learning path concept adopted from a Fortune 500 company. This LMS, regardless of practice area, can be implemented for any type of organization. Particularly for the construction industry, LMS can be more effectively and efficiently implemented if consistently developed with industry-specific best practices and processes, such as Construction Industry Institute (CII) best practices and project management processes based on Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Although the framework presented in this thesis is based on one company’s case, different companies can have different levels of CM and different systems and practices. Therefore, the proposed framework should be carefully implemented, and tailored if necessary, for each case.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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