Managing uncertainty to improve the cost performance of complex infrastructure projects

Newton, Sidney, Skitmore, Martin, & Love, Peter E.D. (2014) Managing uncertainty to improve the cost performance of complex infrastructure projects. In Amaratunga, Dilanthe, Haigh, Richard, Ruddock, Les, Keraminiyage, Kauhai, Kulatunga, Udayange, & Pathirage, Chaminda (Eds.) Proceedings, International Conference on Construction in a Changing World, CIB - International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction, Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka.

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There has been a recent spate of high profile infrastructure cost overruns in Australia and internationally. This is just the tip of a longer-term and more deeply-seated problem with initial budget estimating practice, well recognised in both academic research and industry reviews: the problem of uncertainty. A case study of the Sydney Opera House is used to identify and illustrate the key causal factors and system dynamics of cost overruns. It is conventionally the role of risk management to deal with such uncertainty, but the type and extent of the uncertainty involved in complex projects is shown to render established risk management techniques ineffective.

This paper considers a radical advance on current budget estimating practice which involves a particular approach to statistical modelling complemented by explicit training in estimating practice. The statistical modelling approach combines the probability management techniques of Savage, which operate on actual distributions of values rather than flawed representations of distributions, and the data pooling technique of Skitmore, where the size of the reference set is optimised. Estimating training employs particular calibration development methods pioneered by Hubbard, which reduce the bias of experts caused by over-confidence and improve the consistency of subjective decision-making.

A new framework for initial budget estimating practice is developed based on the combined statistical and training methods, with each technique being explained and discussed.

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ID Code: 94296
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Uncertainty, Calibration, Data Pooling, Risk Management
ISBN: 9781907842542
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 CIB
Deposited On: 30 Mar 2016 00:30
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2016 23:00

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