The largest cause is change in requirements


Many times, if not too many, we always come across clients with unfinished construction projects. They seem to always claim that they ran out of funds during the project, they had a disagreement with the previous contractor on change of project requirements or they just didn't anticipate the project would be "so costly".

After a preliminary assessment, we always note certain issues consistently: either they didn't do accurate costing or the bill was prepared by a less incompetent estimator prior to the work, or if a bill was done, they failed to incorporate contingent costs for the unforseen changes or factors that may occur during the project. The biggest issue however is the alteration of a competently drafted bill and estimate. Most people are hiring contractors on a lower cost basis, but unfortunately overlooking competence, quality and due diligence to obtain a reliable estimate. It is sad to also note how some of the contractors go to lengths to provide a lower unreliable estimate, just to ensure they secure the contract! There is a fine line between these elements, right? One way or the other, we arrive at the fact that: efficient costing is a very important part of your project!

Importance Of Efficient Costing

  • To ensure that no material shortages occur during the project. If an efficient material schedule is not done for a project, it will result in the shortages of material directly leading to higher cost of running the project due to delays.
  • The Bill Of Quantities (BOQ) ensures that all measured works are covered hence this helps in advising the client on the expected cost of construction.
  • Cost controlling is very important before and during the project. It helps in eliminating high cost of construction. It is always vital to prepare a project schedule detailing budgeted works, actual costs and the variances.

Common Problems Associated With Inefficient Costing and Planning

The first most important aspect of a project is choosing the right or competent partner for construction. We have noted over the course of our engagements with clients that if a bill was not done by a competent estimator (quantity surveyor), there is a very high risk of higher construction costs than originally estimated. On another hand again, if efficient cost controlling and project management is not practiced the result is almost always project failure or unsatisfactory delivery.

Cost Overuns in construction occur when the actual costs incurred exceed the budgeted costs for running a project. The possible reasons for cost overruns could be:

  • Most construction contracts are often tendered and awarded on a low cost basis. However sooner or later you realise that in most of these projects, costs will increase as contractors attempt to recover some profits.
  • Construction projects may be complex, involving a large number of different parties, components, requirements and other factors.
  • Inefficiencies and inaccuracies in estimation and design.
  • Unforeseen costs that only become apparent as the works progress.
  • Unclear scope of services resulting in Scope Creeps - normally the client is expecting certain aspects to be included in the scope of works and the contractor is looking at a different scope, and usually due to the costed bill scope.
  • Projects may take longer to complete, during which costs may change
  • Changes in client requirements and specifications
  • Late or withheld payments


In order to address and manage cost overruns it is important to identify the root causes. While specific events eg extreme weather conditions can cause delays, there are more complex project management issues that can be challenging to address.

The largest cause is change in requirements for example a client needs a space to be 30% larger than the originally estimated, then the cost is likely to increase by at least 30%. It is very important to ensure that the project brief is comprehensive and that all project stakeholders accept it and agree on the specific scope of work and performance requirements. Preconstruction estimates and careful project planning are vital in terms of assuring accuracy and confidence in the project costing, particularly if the project is complex and has potential to change.


Being a professional company in the construction industry we believe that it is crucial to provide our clients with the best value for their money. We offer extensive solutions for all sizes of projects ensuring that we behave in an ethical and professional manner. We ensure that we maintain the integrity of our company by providing reliable, dependable and accurate advice and estimates; with the sole goal of client satisfaction and professionalism. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our experts.

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