A commonality among state Departments of Transportation is the inability to complete projects on time and within budget. This project assessed the extent of the problem of cost overruns, time delays, and change orders associated with Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) construction projects, identified the reasons for such problems, and finally developed a set of recommendations aimed at their future reduction. For comparison purposes, data from other states were collected and studied using a questionnaire instrument. The analysis of the cost overrun, time delay and change order data was done using an array of statistical methods. The literature review and agency survey showed that time delays, cost overruns and change orders are generally due to factors such as design, unexpected site conditions, increases in project scope, weather conditions, and other project changes. The results of the agency survey showed that with regard to the problem of cost overruns, INDOT has an average rank compared to other states. Between 1996 and 2001, the overall rate for cost overrun amounts for INDOT projects was determined as 4.5%, and it was found that 55% of all INDOT contracts experienced cost overruns. It was determined that the average cost overrun amount and rate, as well as the contributory cost overrun factors differ by project type. The average cost overrun rates were as follows: bridge projects -- 8.1%, road construction -- 5.6%, road resurfacing -- 2.6%, traffic projects -- 5.6%, maintenance projects -- 7.5%. With regard to time delays, it was found that 12% of all INDOT contracts experience time delays, and the average delay per contract was 115 days. With regard to change orders, the study found that the dominant category of reasons for change orders is “errors and omissions”, a finding which is suggestive of possible shortcomings in current design practices The statistical analyses in the present study showed that the major factors of cost overruns, time delays, and change orders in Indiana are contract bid amount, difference between the winning bid and second bid, difference between the winning bid and the engineer’s estimate, project type and location by district. Besides helping to identify or confirm influential factors of cost overruns, time delay and change orders, the developed regression models may be used to estimate the extent of future cost overruns, time delay and change orders of any future project given its project characteristics and any available contract details. Such models can therefore be useful in long-term budgeting and needs assessment studies. Finally, the present study made recommendations for improving the management of projects and the administration of contracts in order to reduce cost overruns, time delays and change orders.

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change orders, cost overruns, time overruns, liquidated damages, errors and omissions, site conditions, SPR-2811

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

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