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Title: The Impact of Design Changes on Project Performance in Oil Industry Projects
Author: Taghi Zadeh, Mahsa
Advisor: Ruwanpura, Janaka Y.
Jergeas, George
Keywords: Business Administration--Management;Engineering--Civil
Abstract: The oil and gas industry is a sector providing significant contributions to Canada's economy and serves as a key determinant for future growth. A review of the surveys conducted on the performance of Alberta’s oil industry projects revealed most projects suffer from cost and schedule overruns. One of the main contributors to this poor performance of projects is design changes arising throughout the projects' EPC execution phase. Examining existing literature on the subject of project changes suggests that in spite of significant research efforts devoted to various aspects of changes, very few have focused on investigating design changes, particularly in oil and gas projects. Owing to the size and complexity of oil industry projects, along with their excessive fast tracking execution strategy, a significant need exists for more studies to provide a broader understanding of design changes in this specific industry. The present study aims to bridge some existing knowledge gaps by: (1) exploring design changes, causes and effects, and identifying the most influential factors contributing to this kind of change in oil industry projects, and (2) proposing a predictive model for pattern recognition of the cost and schedule impacts of design changes at the early stage of the project execution phase. The research method was a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques—i.e. a mixed method approach— undertaken in five stages. The qualitative part was carried out to explore different aspects of design changes and develop the research conceptual framework. The study’s hypotheses and predictive models were then examined using a number of quantitative techniques including Pearson correlation and multiple regression analysis methods. The data was collected through literature survey, semi-structured interviews with industry practitioners, knowledge mining of sample projects completed in Alberta, two web-based questionnaire surveys, and focus group sessions held with PM professionals. The outcome of this study assists project participants in improving budgeting and scheduling practices at project sanction by estimating the contingency and mark-ups required for design changes. Furthermore, the rating indices established through the analysis stage can be used as appraisal tools to proactively assess different attributes of a project during the execution phase.
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