Author: Eigbe Simon Ibhazobe
Department: Building
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Buildings are essential commodities; providing houses for residential purposes, accommodation for educational and health institutions’ service delivery, as well as a means of production in the form of factory and industrial buildings. The construction of buildings is a multi-player environment involving the promoter or client, designers or consultants, contractors, building materials suppliers and merchant amongst others. The physical construction operations of building are subject to variability of soil, site, weather and economic conditions. These make building construction a complex phenomenon, attracting changes or variations to the construction plans. Variations in building construction play a determining role in projects’ final cost and completion time. This study investigates the impact of variations on projects performance within the context of public tertiary educational building projects in Edo State, Nigeria. To achieve the study objectives, extensive review of relevant literature was undertaken. Survey questionnaire and personal interview were employed to generate data for the study. An ex-post facto research design was also adopted for the data collection. Analysis of data was done using descriptive and inferential statistics employing mainly features of the SPSS. The research results show that clients and consultants are the most frequently involved origin agents or sources of variations as a result of unclear briefs, and errors and omissions in designs. The study findings also reveal that variations have significant impact on project performance; contributing about 9% and 11% to cost overruns and time slippage respectively. The study recommends that variations should be taken into consideration during project planning by way of contingencies allowance provision for variations in projects budget. The empirical or model estimate proposed by the study provides a useful guide to determining a realistic contingencies sum allowance for variations. The study advocates for the involvement of the client at the planning and design phases of project procurement by the engagement of a ‘schedule project planning officer’ in the relevant client department. The schedule project planning officer is to be responsible for the formulation of project briefs, and liaison with consultants during design development in order to reduce variations and minimize their effects on project delivery.

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