A comparison of strategies for reducing variations

Ping Chuen Chan, C. M. Yeong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Most building contracts make provisions for the contract administrator to issue orders for variations from the original design. Often, these changes involve additional cost and disruption to work already under way, leading to cost and time ovenuns. Thus, reducing variations is one of the prerequisites of keeping the cost within budget and completing the project on time. The main objective of this paper is to investigate methods ofreducingvariations. A series of structured interviews were camed out with the practitioners in the construction industry to identify the prevailing strategies for variation reduction. The identified strategies then formed the basis of a questionnaire which was sent randomly to 100 construction firms in Australia and Malaysia, respectively. The respondents were asked to rank the relative usefulness of the identified strategies for variation reduction. Thirty-two sets of questionnnaires from Australia and 33 sets from Malaysia were returned, respectively, which represented an overall response rate of more than 32%. Concordance analysis was used to provide some evidence of any abnormal data source. When applied to the study data, a significant amount of agreement was found on the ranking strategies for the reduction of variations amongst the respondents in each country. Respondents from both countries considered clear and thorough brief as the most useful strategy for reducing variations and avoiding the use of nominated subcontractors as the least effective measure. However, when the rankings of the two countries were compared using the Spearman correlation coefficient, it was found that there was significant disagreement between the two sets of ranking. The significant difference might be attributable to the difference between the countries in terms of culture, politics, regulations, economic conditions and construction practice. These differences could also be reflected in their attitude towards contract claims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Concordance analysis
  • Rank correlation
  • Strategy
  • Variations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of strategies for reducing variations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this