2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference
Dr. Kasey Faust, The University of Texas at Austin
Mr. Nabeel Khwaja, Center for Transportation Research at The University of Texas at Austin
Mr. William Hale
Mrs. Lauryn Spearing, The University of Texas at Austin
Construction engineering and inspection (CE&I) costs constitute a large portion of a projects’ engineering and procurements costs and a fraction of its construction costs for State Transportation Agencies (STAs) in the United States. Specifically in Texas, CE&I costs comprised between 3.2% and 4.4% of total construction costs every year between 2005 and 2015. Discussions with subject matter experts from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) indicate that spending too little on CE&I can lead to quality issues whereas too much could lead to inefficient use of limited public resources. Therefore, the management’s desire to identify optimal resource assignment to CE&I functions. This study seeks to provide an overview of CE&I costs spent by TxDOT between 2001 and 2017 to identify optimal allocation of resources and consequently costs for CE&I functions at the contract level. This study is based on analysis of project-level cost data for 6,577 construction projects conducted during the studied period. Projects were aggregated at the contract level to reduce noise in the dataset, and trends based on project characteristics were identified using Excel. Results indicate that CE&I costs (when expressed as a percentage of construction costs) have an inverse relationship with construction costs, i.e. as the construction contract size increases, the percentage CE&I costs decrease. For instance, the percentage of construction costs used for CE&I on smaller projects with construction costs between $0 and $0.5 million (7.6%) are more than twice as high as this for projects whose construction costs are larger than $10 million (3.1%). In addition, CE&I costs vary based on the project type and comparatively do not vary based on the let date. Noticeably, project types with the highest percentage of construction costs used for CE&I are traffic signals (8.3%), landscape and scenic enhancement (7.8%), and bridge replacement (6.0%). The outcomes of this study can help transportation agencies plan CE&I budgets based on the mix of contract size and project type in their portfolio and identify ways to optimize CE&I resource allocation.