Cost management forms a major discipline in delivering construction projects of different sizes and complexity. Traditional cost management systems are mostly based on principles enacted several decades ago. A notable feature of these traditional cost management systems is that key information required for critical decisions is usually produced too late, and is often too aggregated and configured in a form that is not amenable to the requirements for current project management practice. Other problems associated with traditional cost systems relate to inadequacies in estimating and cost control processes and particularly the lack of integration of cost management across the whole project. The lack of integration means measurements provided by traditional cost systems do not sufficiently align with the goals and objectives set for the project. To address these inherent weaknesses in the current practice of cost management, a number of studies have argued for an integrated alternative that better responds to the information demand and decision making need to be developed. The thesis presents the development of a solution to such an integrated cost management system. The developed solution addresses the gaps of the traditional option by integrating the stages making up the whole life cycle of the project to enable professionals gain an appreciation of the ramifications of any early decisions made. The investigation conducted to support the development of the integrated cost management system and the applied model addresses user requirements and determination of the system boundary conditions for efficacious use by key decision makers.
The new cost management system developed achieves a linkage of the planning and control stages into one, with a continuous stream of cost management information in both stages. The integration ensures that cost information is more relevant to the circumstances of the modern project manager.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.