Discovering the Impact of Late Change Orders and Rework on Labor Productivity: A Water Treatment Case Study Analysis Using System Dynamics Modeling

Sharareh Kermanshachi, Rishab Thakur, Paul Govan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

25 Scopus citations


Most complex projects can expect some level of rework and minor changes that can be conceptually predicted and estimated during the bidding process. However, existing literature and practitioners' experience indicate that the true impact of late change orders and rework on labor productivity behavior is often greater than expected, and the unintended side effects are very difficult to measure. This lack of knowledge and understanding leads to inaccurate calculations of the true impact of project changes and creates an incorrect ground for future decisions. Therefore, this research aims to develop a system dynamics model to understand and analyze the fluctuations in the field labor productivity rate and behavior in response to changes in the scope of the project. The other objective of this study is to formulate and discuss management policies that limit these undesirable side effects and their implications. Based on a large-scale design-bid-build water treatment project, this research conducts a case study to monitor the behavior of changes in productivity rate due to different scale change orders. The simulation results show that if a project falls behind schedule due to a change and the project deadline remains fixed, schedule pressure leads to an initial increase in productivity up to a certain level, but eventually may lead to major employee frustration. This frustration has the potential of increasing the project duration further and makes a bad situation even worse. Schedule pressure further exacerbates the problem by typically increasing the rework fraction or the errors on the built work packages. The outcome of this study helps practitioners to utilize the developed model to monitor and track labor productivity rate changes in each individual construction project and manage institutional overtime policies accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2018
Subtitle of host publicationInfrastructure and Facility Management - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2018
EditorsChao Wang, Charles Berryman, Christofer Harper, Yongcheol Lee, Rebecca Harris
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780784481295
StatePublished - 2018
EventConstruction Research Congress 2018: Infrastructure and Facility Management, CRC 2018 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Apr 2 2018Apr 4 2018

Publication series

NameConstruction Research Congress 2018: Infrastructure and Facility Management - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2018


ConferenceConstruction Research Congress 2018: Infrastructure and Facility Management, CRC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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