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Using Monte Carlo Simulation to Evaluate Performance of Forecasting Models in Project Control

  • Author / Creator
    Ead, Rana
  • The construction sector is one of the largest in the world economy. Billions of dollars are spent every year to execute and deliver projects serving the public. However, internal and external factors – such as unexpected weather, financial difficulties, manpower shortages, and excessive change orders – can impact the performance of these projects and cause deviations from planned performance. Consequently, researchers are constantly developing methods to improve project performance during execution. Although the models are developed using advanced techniques, the validation techniques applied to assess their accuracy are flawed. One example of this can be found in schedule- and cost-forecasting models. These models are crucial in ensuring that project progress is regularly tracked and reviewed, areas requiring changes are identified, and the subsequent changes are initiated accordingly. However, most researchers use validation techniques that rely on comparing the developed method to other well-known methods using actual completed project data. This has several drawbacks that render the validation experiments inconclusive.

    Accordingly, this thesis focuses on designing a Monte Carlo simulation-based empirical experiment to improve the process of assessing and comparing the effectiveness of different methods, with a focus on forecasting methods. The experiment involves generating a large sample set of random activity-on-node networks that resemble actual construction projects. The actual cost and schedule performance of these projects is simulated using a Markov chain approach that mimics the uncertainty affecting the execution of these projects. To test the experiment, four forecasting methods are applied to predict the final project cost and duration given the randomly-generated planned and actual performance data: earned value analysis (EVA), earned schedule (ES), non-linear regression Gompertz growth model (NLR-GGM), and the Kalman filter forecasting model (KFFM). These methods are evaluated in terms of forecasting accuracy, timeliness, and stability under varying project complexities and lengths. By providing an in-depth analysis, researchers and practitioners can develop an enhanced understanding and insight into these methods. This research contributes to the current state-of-the-art by developing a means for validating and assessing cost- and schedule-forecasting models in a controlled, unbiased, and simulated environment.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-avyr-ag82
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.