Challenges of Early Estimation of Infrastructure Projects within the UK: an Information Perspective

Thurairajah, Niraj, Xiao, Hong, Boyd, David and Reed, Amy (2018) Challenges of Early Estimation of Infrastructure Projects within the UK: an Information Perspective. In: 34th Annual ARCOM Conference: A Productive Relationship: Balancing Fragmentation and Integration, 3-5 September 2018, Belfast.

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Abstract

This research examines the challenges of early cost estimation of infrastructure projects within the UK with a focus on why cost overruns are such a persistent issue. The research was carried out by an investigation of existing literature surrounding early estimation in construction, characteristics of UK-based infrastructure projects and cost overruns within infrastructure projects. The data were collected through fourteen semi-structured interviews with estimating professionals who work predominantly on infrastructure projects across the UK. The key findings were that the early estimation process consists of an intricate system of hard and soft information exchange from the many involved parties due to the social and political nature of infrastructure projects; this provides many challenges for the estimator. This led to the idea that an estimate is actually a soft input itself and should not be taken as a hard numerical figure but something which requires human interpretation. Moreover, these challenges are heightened by the number of unknowns and uncertainties that are again part of the very nature of large scale infrastructure projects. This is difficult to address as it is the process of converting soft information into hard information and when soft information is hardened it will inevitably lose some of its information or context. Unfortunately, cost estimates have become to be accepted as hard information even when it is known to be soft information that requires interpretation and sense making.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: cost overruns, early estimation, infrastructure projects, soft information
Subjects: K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2019 14:23
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 07:21
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/38364

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