We need to reconsider construction cost management

Construction cost management

Most of the large construction or engineering projects lay under the civil and infrastructure classification. This kind of projects became a synonym of and change of the scope, delay and, extra cost worldwide. This is essentially due to the expensive obstacles that lead to construction costs and that were not considered at the beginning of the project, such as artesian waters, poor soil quality or super strong rocks, etc.


Impact of soil quality on cost estimation

Something that is common to all the infrastructure projects is the “ground”. Every highway, building, bridge, airport that is built needs foundations and in one way or another is linked to the ground. This is where everything begins. If the ground quality is poor, everything afterwards will be condemned to disaster.

The impact of the characteristics of the soil and the geotechnical conditions are often taken for granted or just superficially studied before starting a new project by the program manager, contractor, architect or construction manager. Sometimes the impacts of having a poor foundation or finding an unexpected soil can be mitigated during the project execution but in other situations, the problems are evidenced when the facility is underused; making the reparation even more expensive.

This problem has been present since the ancient times, being one of the most famous examples the tower of Pisa, that even after more than six centuries stills overrunning its project budget in order to keep it standing, due to the instability of the ground underneath the foundation.

Nowadays with the technology available, a better understanding of the ground characteristics can be achieved, customizing the foundation design to the construction project requirements, allowing to build huge skyscrapers even in intense seismic activity areas such as Japan.


How to avoid falling into construction cost excess?

Herein is where the skills of the project manager are tested, the acquisition of the geotechnical information should not be oversized because this will add extra construction cost to the final project budget.

Once the requirements are identified they can be quantified as cost elements and subsequently incorporated in the project budget. A good combination of the items below can determine the required tests:

Adding an extra geotechnical test during the basic engineering development can increase the cost of this activity, but how much money can a test save in the future?

Using a construction cost estimating software may assist you in estimating the extra cost of the tests at the beginning of the project. Once your project is off the ground, now it is time for a construction cost management tool to help you make solid decisions.

Whether you are a  project manager, owner, contractor, architect or construction manager, construction estimation and cost management tools such as Cleopatra Enterprise allow you to quantify the impact of extra cost of the tests with the possibility of building different scenarios foreseeing extra cost for additional works of mitigation, helping you during your decision-making process.


What can be changed?

All the 3D models of new buildings look gorgeous over a wooden table and are mostly focused on showing the design features. However, it does not guarantee that real ground is going to be as flat and strong as that.

That’s why the definition of infrastructure or construction projects should start paying more attention to the foundations’ scope. The assumptions and expectations should be clearly identified with the help of the necessary tools.

Do you have a question or something to add? Contact us.

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