Relating Cost Growth from the Initial Estimate to Design Fee for Transportation Projects

Intuitively, there should be a relationship between the size of the design fee for a transportation project and the quality of the resulting design. This study sought that relationship by looking at the fee expressed as a percentage of the construction cost and the final construction cost growth from the engineer's initial estimate of the construction cost at the time the design contract was awarded. The research team analyzed 31 projects from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority with a total construction value of $90 million. The projects were divided into road and bridge projects. Based on the results of the analysis, it seems that as the design fee decreases, the absolute percentage of construction cost growth from the engineer's early estimate increases. The relationship is strongest for bridge projects, which tend to be more technically complex to design than roadway projects. This confirms for U.S. projects the result of an earlier study in Saudi Arabia. This paper concludes that the design fee should be viewed as an investment at a point in time where the ability to impact the project is the highest and can accrue the benefit of reduced cost growth.

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  • Authors:
    • Gransberg, Douglas D
    • Lopez del Puerto, Carla
    • Humphrey, Daniel
  • Publication Date: 2007-6


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01053577
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 12 2007 10:54PM