• Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Learning how to address the root causes of cost overruns in any construction project is extremely important. 

Often, there are reasons beyond your control that may force you to incur unplanned costs. However, proper planning before construction starts could reduce the overall effects. Identifying the causes of construction cost overruns will allow you to strategise to keep your project costs as close to the budget as possible.

Patrick Vallerand, the Principal Office Managing Partner for Strategia Conseil in Canada, explains, “overruns hint at deeper issues in project management and schedules and budgets being set improperly from the very beginning of the project.” 

Here are some of the most common causes of cost overruns in construction:


Sometimes, the building schedule can be affected by extreme weather changes. An engineer with Peak Engineering Solutions Limited, Mr Nasser Sserunjogi explains, “sometimes people plan without considering the possibility of weather changes and they end up having cost overrun. You can start constructing during the dry season, not knowing that you bought (a plot) in a wetland which is affected by floods.”

Ensure you research the weather patterns in the area you want to do your construction, to anticipate any changes that may affect your construction schedule. You must be prepared to adapt swiftly to any unexpected problems. 

Poor On-site Management

Good on-site management will keep track of the equipment, prices, quality control, and design integrity. If any of these aspects are not properly managed, they will probably result in construction cost overruns. Management bridges the gap between everyone involved on-site, and reduces interpersonal conflicts. 

Mr Sserunjogi says, “if there is poor management, personalities clash just as often as a project’s site changes unexpectedly, and this also affects the process totally. Even if both sides maintain a professional relationship, some projects are just too large to keep up with every site change and news may travel too slowly across departments which means (the project) time (line) will extend.”

Being on site allows you to make quick decisions, using the most up-to-date information.

Poor Planning & Project Design Errors

Most times, poor planning and questionable designs manifest in significant cost overruns because they result in urgent or unexpected modifications. Such unplanned modifications hold up your building schedule and end up costing you. 

Designs that are questionable may include inaccuracies, or may be incomplete. Moving forward with design deficiencies may cause legal complications, which will cost you in the future. 

Ensure you agree on work and performance duties as you are signing the contracts. Having proper documentation will also reduce any potential disputes.

Not Hiring the Right Team

Even if you have perfect estimates, excellent on-site management, and flawless project plans, if you have an inexperienced team you are likely to incur construction cost overruns.

Not having the right team leads to sub-par work, countless inefficiencies, delays, and errors, all of which undermine all the other significant aspects of your construction plan.

Ensure to take your time and do excellent research before you hire a team. Go through extra steps to ensure that all your prospects are qualified and have the relevant experience. 

Bottom Line

Not all projects will cause significant cost overruns because the on-site managers know how to use proven methods. Now that you are aware of some common causes, you are more likely to control costs at the various stages of your project. 


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