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International Journal of Project Management 30 (2012) 817 826 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman

Construction project change management in Singapore: Status, importance and impact


Bon-Gang Hwang a,, Lee Kian Low
a b

Dept. of Building, National University of Singapore, 117566, Singapore Keppel FMO Pte. Ltd., Golden Agri Plaza, 108 Pasir Panjang Road 118535, Singapore

Received 11 July 2011; received in revised form 5 October 2011; accepted 3 November 2011

Abstract Changes in construction projects are inevitable. In order to minimize the impact of changes on a project, it is imperative to implement change management. This study aims to assess the status, importance and impact of change management implementation in the Singapore construction industry. To achieve the objective, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to gain an in-depth understanding of change management, and a questionnaire survey was conducted. Analyzing the data collected from 384 projects submitted by 32 companies, the implementation status was investigated at both company and project levels, followed by identication of key factors that encourage and discourage companies to practice change management. Furthermore, the importance and impact of change management in terms of project performances such as cost, time, and quality were also examined. The analysis results establish that the implementation status in the Singapore construction industry is relatively low while improvement in project cost, time and quality performances achieved by the companies that implement change management tends to be greater than the companies that do not. Recognizing the implementation status, importance and impacts of change management will be a starting point to reduce changes that negatively affect project performances, ultimately allowing the Singapore construction industry to increase opportunities for project success. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Change; Change management; Cost; Schedule; Quality; Performance; Best practice; Construction project; Singapore

1. Introduction The construction industry is one of the sectors that provide significant contributions to Singapore's economy and thus, it is imperative to sustain successful deliveries of construction projects in Singapore. While construction projects vary in size, duration and complexity, several common features can be found. One of the most common concerns in construction projects is project changes (Ming et al., 2004). Changes usually occur at any stage of a project due to various causes from different sources, and have considerable impacts (Karim and Adeli, 1999; Motawa et al., 2007). Any additions, deletions or modifications to the scope of the project are considered as changes. According to Park (2002), construction changes refer to work state, processes, or methods that differ from the original
Corresponding author. 0263-7863/$36.00 2011 Elsevier Ltd. APM and IPMA. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2011.11.001

construction plan or specification and usually resulted from difference in work quality and conditions, scope changes, or uncertainties that make construction dynamic and yet unstable. Also, Zhao et al. (2009) emphasized that the complex and dynamic nature of construction projects poses uncertainties and risks. The earlier the changes are rectified, the lesser impact it will have on the project. Furthermore, conflicts over project changes can be minimized when the problem is found at the earlier phase of the project. Hence, it is very important to implement change management to construction projects and among many project management best practices, change management has become one of the most important practices (Motawa et al., 2007; Zou and Lee, 2008). The efficacy of overall change management practice in different types of projects can vary widely depending on project nature, industrial type, project complexity, project size, contract methods and the level of experience

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of project participants. Nevertheless, with appropriate change management, preventive measures can be planned for potential changes, and for changes that have already occurred, it can be resolved in a timely and systematic manner. This will ensure a successful execution and good management of a project, ultimately generating more revenues for the economy. Under this assertion, this study aims to encourage more practitioners to implement change management into their projects in an attempt to minimize cost and schedule overruns and quality problems. More specifically, the objectives of this study are: (1) to investigate the current implementation status of change management in the Singapore construction industry; (2) to explore benefits and barriers of change management implementation; and finally (3) to analyze the impact of change management on project performances. For this study, perspectives of contractors working mostly in small and mid-sized firms in Singapore were analyzed and changes that occurred in both design and execution phases were considered. 2. Background 2.1. Definitions of project change Ibbs et al. (2001) stated that any additions or deletions to project goals or scope are considered to be changes, whether they increase or decrease the project cost, schedule or quality. Similarly, Arain and Low (2005) defined that a change is any modification to the contractual agreement provided by the contractors or owners. When project changes occur, there are bound to be certain consequences. The impact of project changes can either be significant or trivial as it may affect the operation and progress of the project. In addition, Isaac and Navon (2008) claimed that the main causes of changes are such as project delays, cost overruns and quality difference from the agreed requirements. Therefore, impacts of changes should be examined and dealt with in a systematic manner as it may hinder the project performance. 2.2. Sources of project change It is also important to identify different sources of project changes before attempting to minimize it. Project changes can be originated from numerous factors that are related to the construction projects. Both internal and external elements can influence any project changes to occur (Love et al., 2002). Firstly, the internal factors include project, organizational and stakeholder related issues. Project related issues comprise of uncertainties of project, increasing project complexity, inaccurate cost estimating, shortage of resources availability, or change of financial status of any party involved in the project. Next, organizational related issues refer to change in management, lack of timely and effective communication, and lack of integration between departments (Ibbs et al., 2001). Stakeholder related issues are for instance, design errors, omissions, or modifications to the drawings leading to infective design, poor project definition by owners, inadequate pre project planning, inadequate project change management, poor communication among owners, designers and

constructors, or constructability ignored in the design process (Hwang et al., 2009). Secondly, the external factors consist of natural unforeseeable circumstances, government intervention, economy, or legal issues. Due to natural unforeseeable circumstances such as inclement weather, project duration is often delayed as it is unpredictable. During inclement weather especially rainy or stormy seasons, it will not be possible for workers to perform any work at the construction site. As safety is also one of the main concerns in construction industry, the well-being of the workers should not be risked. Government related issues are for example, statutory requirements or strict rules and regulations that must be complied with. Changes in tax and interest rates are some of the economy related issues. It affects the project in terms of the financial viability. Uncertain inflation rate can affect the cash flow and material availability of the project. As for legal issues, the implementation of new law or regulations may impose project scope to change and incur more project cost. As a consequence of all these factors that surfaced, it will lead to project changes and eventually having an impact on the project. The degree which project will be affected will be elaborated further. 2.3. Effect of project change Considering that changes can have both positive and negative effect on project cost, schedule and quality, changes can be categorized into two main types, namely beneficial changes and detrimental changes (Ibbs et al., 2001). Beneficial changes can be resulted from exercising value management. Although value management may incur more cost to the project, it is useful and helpful to the project in the long run. Since beneficial changes are of advantage to a project, these changes are encouraged in a project by the management team. In contrast, detrimental changes are discouraged and result in negative impacts to the project, reducing values going to the owner. Ibbs (1997) concluded that because changes are common in projects, it is critical for project management team to confront, embrace, adapt and use variations to impact positively on the situations they face and to recognize changes at the early phase of the construction. Also, in order to contribute to a successful project, it is very important for the timely identification of impacts of project changes. Some of the major negative impacts of changes are as follows: 2.3.1. Increase in project cost This is the most common effect of project changes which may occur (Arain and Low, 2005; Assaf et al., 1995; CII, 1990; Clough and Sears, 1994). Any major additions to the original work scope will lead to a significant increase in project cost. Therefore, there is always the contingency sum in the contract to counter for this purpose. 2.3.2. Recruiting New Professionals According to the research conducted by CII (1995) changes are frequent in complex technological projects. Considering

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that specialized manpower is one of the integral resources required for complex technological projects (Fisk, 1997), when there are new changes to a project, engagement of specialized professionals may be essential to facilitate the changes (Arain and Low, 2005). Furthermore, if the professionals are not readily available to deal with the new changes, there will be accumulated problems. 2.3.3. Increase in overhead expenses As stated earlier on, project changes indicate some minor or major differences to the contractual scope agreed between owner and contractor. In order to make the changes validated and agreed upon mutually by both parties, proper documentation is vital (O'Brien, 1998). This is to ensure that the proposed changes are properly communicated and documented to all the parties involved. Hence, it implies that more expenses will be necessary for the legal documentation and paper procedures pertaining to the agreed changes (Arain and Low, 2005). 2.3.4. Quality degradation This is also one of the main concerns for owners. Contractors may tend to compensate for the losses by cutting corners due to the frequent changes of the owners. Thus, this will affect the quality of the work negatively (Arain and Low, 2005). 2.3.5. Decrease in labor productivity Lee et al. (2005) highlighted that working overtime could demoralize the morale of workers and deteriorate the productivity of workers. Consequently, the productivity degradation will affect the delaying of the project too. In relation with that, Ming et al. (2004) also mentioned that in cases whereby workers were expected to work for overtime over a prolonged period to compensate for the project schedule delays, productivity will be greatly affected. 2.3.6. Delay in procurement process Procurement delays can be frequent in a construction project as a result of project changes (Hester et al., 1991; O'Brien, 1998). New specialized materials or equipment may be needed to be the resources of the project (Arain and Low, 2005). 2.3.7. Rework and Demolition Rework and demolition are considered the most potential effect of project changes that can occur (Clough and Sears, 1994; ). This is especially in the event whereby the construction has either just commenced work or already in the midst of the construction process (Arain and Low, 2005; CII, 1990). Minor or major rework may be needed depending on the timing when the changes occurred. Hwang et al. (2009) adds on that project cost performance can be improved by recognizing the impacts of reworks. 2.3.8. Safety conditions Safety conditions in construction projects may be affected by changes (Arain and Low, 2005; Arain et al., 2004; O'Brien, 1998). Employers should always ensure a safe workplace condition for workers. Health and safety of the workers

should be carefully taken care of. When there is new equipment or other construction methods used, proper and additional safety measures must be prepared for the workers.

2.3.9. Delay in completion schedule Completion schedule delay is the most frequent effect that can occur. A survey finding in Kumaraswamy et al. (1998) showed that 50 percent of the projects surveyed were delayed because of the frequent changes.

2.4. Change management processes and systems Change management is one of the project management practices that resolve problems when changes occurred in a project or minimize changes that may occur and disrupt the progress of the project (Zhao et al., 2009). It seeks to forecast possible changes, identify changes that have already occurred, plan for preventive measures, and coordinate changes across the entire project among all stakeholders. Besides addressing the impact of changes, an effective change management should also look into the cost, time and quality considerations for the project. Inconsistent management of the change process can result in many disruptive effects (Motawa et al., 2007). Additionally, if changes are not resolved through a formalized change management process, it may become the major source of contract disputes and leading to a project failure. The process of change management comprised of four basic principles: (1) to identify changes; (2) to evaluate changes; (3) to implement changes; and (4) to learn from past experiences. These four principles work together to achieve the objective of an effective change management system. Motawa et al. (2007) outlined that development of change management systems should include various factors such as project processes and all the internal and external factors that influence project changes. Sun et al. (2006) designed a change management toolkit for construction projects which include the change dependency framework, and change prediction and workflow tools. The research done by Lee and Pea-Mora (2005), and Motawa et al. (2007) also established integrated change management systems, based on a system dynamics, leading to the Dynamic Planning and Controlling Methodology that can evaluate negative impacts of errors and changes on construction performance. Also, Charoenngam et al. (2003) suggested a Change Order Management System which was developed to manage problems of changes in construction projects. This system comprised of a change order procedure which involved workflows, documents, records keeping, and a centralized database. Similarly, Isaac and Navon (2008) presented a model that identifies and emphasizes on the possible impact of proposed changes in building projects. Lastly, Zhao et al. (2009) proposed a simulation method using Dependency Structure Matrix (DSM) to predict changes in the process of the construction. This method includes identifying the sources of changes and verifying the effectiveness of the DSM model.

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B.-G. Hwang, L.K. Low / International Journal of Project Management 30 (2012) 817826 Table 1 Profile of companies, respondents, and projects. Characteristics Company (N + 32) Registry Grade* A (A1&A2) B (B1 & B2) C (C1, C2 & C3) Less than 10 10-19 20-29 30-39 40 or more Director Management Engineer Administrator Less than 10 10-19 20-29 30-39 40 or more Building Infrastructure Heavy Industrial Light Industrial Addition Grass roots Modernization $0$10 million $11$20 million $21$30 million $31$40 million $41$50 million $51$60 million $61$70 million $71$80 million $81$90 million $91$100 million >$100 million N 6 12 14 3 6 20 2 1 5 15 9 3 2 18 9 2 1 256 14 29 85 146 137 101 238 96 18 13 8 1 1 6 0 0 3 % 19% 38% 43% 9% 19% 63% 6% 3% 47% 47% 28% 9% 6% 57% 28% 6% 3% 66% 4% 8% 22% 38% 36% 26% 62% 25% 5% 3% 2% 0% 0% 2% 0% 0% 1%

3. Methodology and data presentation Looking into aspects of change management and its significant impact on project performances will assist in achieving the objective of this study. The literature review conducted aided in having better understanding of change management in the construction industry and gathering information to develop the survey questionnaire used for this study. The first section of the questionnaire captured the basic profile of companies and respondents that participated in this study. The next section was designed to identify how many companies and projects practiced change management, followed by the section capturing factors that encourage and discourage companies to implement change management. The last section involves questions that capture the importance of change management in a five-point likert scale, and that explore the impact of change management on project cost, time and quality performances in terms of the percentage of improvement obtained. Having these sections including a total of 27 questions, the questionnaire was sent out to contractor companies registered under the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) registry, and 32 complete sets were returned. Upon obtaining the data, analyses were performed and the results are discussed in the next section. Table 1 presents the profile of the data collected from the questionnaire. The registry grade, as shown in Table 1, indicates different tendering limits for different contractors, which is regulated and managed by the BCA in Singapore. In general, companies with the registry grade of A1 have unlimited tendering limits while A2 indicates its limit at S$85 million. Grades B1 (up to S$40 million), B2 (up to S$13 million), C1 (up to S $4 million), C2 (up to S$1.3 million), and C3 (up to S $0.65 million) have lower tendering limits than Grades A1 and A2. 63% of the companies have an average of 20 to 29 years of experience in the construction industry. Similarly, the surveyed respondents who are directors (16%), managers (47%), and engineers (37%) have an average of 10 to 19 years of experience in the construction industry. Table 1 also summarizes the number of projects surveyed by the project type, nature, and cost. Building projects made up the majority of 66% while there was an almost even distribution of addition, grass roots, and modernization projects in terms of the project nature. Due to having more responses obtained from Grades B and C contractor companies, 87% of the projects involved the project cost less than $20 million.

Years of Experience

Respondent (N = 32)

Job Title

Years of Experience

Project Type

Project Nature

Project (N = 284)

Project Cost

*A1 - unlimited tendering limit; A2 up to S$85 million; B1 - up to S $40 million; B2 - up to S$13 million; C1 - up to S$4 million; C2 - up to S $1.3 million; and C3 - up to S$0.65 million.

4.1. Change management implementation status company level This analysis provides an understanding of the extent to which contractor companies in Singapore practice change management. As shown in Table 2, 66% of the companies indicated that they did not implement change management at all whereas 34% of the companies indicated that they practice it. It is, however, of interest that none of the companies has implemented change management for more than 50% of their projects. It
Table 2 Implementation status company level (I). Extent of Change Management Implementation Not at all b 50% of Projects 50% of Projects >50% of Projects All of Projects No. of Companies (Total = 32) 21 8 3 0 0 % of Companies 66% 25% 9% 0% 0%

4. Data analysis and discussions Having analyzed the data from the survey, this section discusses: (1) the implementation status of change management at the company level; (2) the implementation status of change management at the project level; (3) factors that affect organizations decision on whether or not to implement change management; (4) perceptions on barriers and benefits of change management; and lastly, and (5) the impact on project performances.

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can be inferred that the current implementation status of change management in the Singapore construction industry is relatively low based on the results. The reason for this low implementation status may be due to unfamiliarly to the process of change management or companies are unaware of potential benefits from implementing it. Hence, barriers and benefits of change management implementation are further investigated and discussed later. Based on the company grades, Table 3 presents the number and percentage of companies which implemented change management. The companies of higher grades (A1 & A2 67%; B1 & B2 42%) tend to implement change management more than those lower grades (C1, C2 and C3 14%). One possible reason for this result is that bigger companies might be better equipped with readily available resources, more experience in the industry, more professionals with expertise, and advanced technology and implementation processes. This also tends to cause bigger companies to more appreciate benefits from change management. 4.2. Change management implementation status project level Following the analysis at the company level, the implementation status at the project level was also analyzed to provide a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of the implementation status. In general, out of a total of 384 projects, only 121 projects (32%) implemented change management, indicating that the implementation status of change management is also moderately low. Furthermore, in order to attain in-depth understanding of the implementation status at the project level, factors such as project type, nature, and cost were considered for further analyses, and the results are summarized in Table 4. First, the projects were categorized into the categories of building, infrastructure, heavy industrial and light industrial according to project types. For this study, building projects are those that include offices, institutions, residential, and retails. Infrastructure projects refer to highways, airport, tunneling, and bridges. Next, heavy industrial projects focus on chemical, electrical, mining, and refining. Lastly, light industrial consist of consumer products manufacturing, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, and electronics manufacturing. As shown in Table 4, 38% of building projects implemented change management. Isaac and Navon (2008) underlined that
Table 3 Implementation status company level (II). Registry Grade* No. of Companies No. of Companies Implementing Change Management 4 5 2 11 % of Companies Implementing Change Management 67% 42% 14% 34%

Table 4 Implementation status project level. Project Characteristics No. of Projects No. of Projects Implementing Change Management 96 2 3 20 22 87 12 89 15 2 9 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 121 % of Projects Implementing Change Management 38% 14% 10% 24% 15% 64% 12% 37% 16% 11% 69% 63% 0% 0% 17% 0% 0% 0% 32%

Project Type Building Infrastructure Heavy Industrial Light Industrial Project Addition Nature Grass roots Modernization Project Cost $0$10 million $11 $20 million $21 $30 million $31 $40 million $41 $50 million $51 $60 million $61 $70 million $71 $80 million $81 $90 million $91 $100 million >$100 million Total

256 14 29 85 146 137 101 238 96 18 13 8 1 1 6 0 0 3 384

A (A1, A2) B (B1, B2) C (C1, C2, C3) Total

6 12 14 32

*A1 - unlimited tendering limit; A2 up to S$85 million; B1 - up to S $40 million; B2 - up to S$13 million; C1 - up to S$4 million; C2 - up to S $1.3 million; and C3 - up to S$0.65 million.

managing changes in building projects can be difficult because the changes often generate unanticipated side effects. As building projects may require careful planning to meet and cater to the requirements of the users, there should be minimal errors and changes especially at the initial stage where emphasis is placed on planning. Therefore, building projects might implement change management more than other projects, ensuring that changes occurred are timely tackled in the shortest time and thus their impact on project performance can be minimized. Next, the projects were classified into addition, grass roots, and modernization categories according to their nature. Addition refers to adding on to current existing facilities which may often result in the expansion of the capacity while grass roots refer to completion of a new construction projects or demolition of existing facilities before the commencement of a new construction. Lastly, modernization refers to modification or improvements to existing facilities which may often involved certain equipment or structure of components to be removed, replaced or improved. From Table 4, it can be seen that 87 out of 137 grass roots projects (64%) implemented change management, which takes the highest percentage among the three categories. As mentioned above, grass roots refer to new construction projects. Therefore, careful and proper planning for the entire project is essential. If there is any delay in any of planned activities, it will eventually have an impact on project cost as well. To avoid this, the project

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management team has to consider various factors that can cause changes in any phrase of the project. This may further encourage adoption of change management as its proper implementation can result in early identification of project changes (Ibbs et al., 2001). Lastly, the projects were categorized based on their total costs as seen in Table 4. 69% and 63% of the projects costing between $31 million to $40 million and $41 million to $50 million implemented change management respectively. As these projects involved a relatively large sum of project cost, the implementation percentage tends to be higher than the others. For bigger projects, the project management team is more careful with the issues that can affect the project, especially cost. Although project cost ranging from $0 to $10 million constitutes to the majority of the total number of projects, the implementation percentage for these projects is only 37%. This could be due to the small scale of the projects that may afford to have neither full time staff nor effective processes and systems for change management. In addition, it is of interest that the higher project cost may not eventually lead to more implementation of change management as seen in Table 4 - only one out of 11 projects costing over $51 million implemented change management. However, having only 11 companies for this range of project cost is too small to determine conclusive results for the entire population. 4.3. Decision factors determining implementation of change management As presented above, the analysis revealed that the extent of change management implementation in the Singapore construction industry is relatively low. Therefore, in order to increase its usage, it would be meaningful to identify decision determinants of change management implementation. For this analysis, five most plausible factors (Project Cost, Project Size, Project Type, Project Nature, and Statutory Requirement) were listed in the survey questionnaire and the respondents were asked to assign their ranks to the five factors with 1 as the least influential factor and 5 as the most influential factor. Table 5 summarizes the result. As seen in Table 5, there are two main factors that encourage companies to implement change management into their projects (Mean Score > 3): (1) project cost; and (2) statutory requirement. According to Zou and Lee (2008) project cost is the most sensitive and important aspect in construction projects. As a result, when decision on whether or not to practice certain management approaches is made, the additional cost for implementation may be considered seriously even if the practices
Table 5 Decision Factors Determining Implementation of Change Management. Factors Scale 1 Project Cost Statutory Requirement Project Nature Project Size Project Type 2 3 9 7 11 2 0 3 7 10 12 3 0 5 6 13 8 4 16 12 1 2 1 5 14 9 9 0 0 Total Score 136 117 90 74 63 Mean Rank

have been already proven in terms of their benefits. This may be one possible reason that the project cost is recognized as the most important decision determinant. Next, statutory requirement was the second most influential factor, indicating that it would act as enforcement for companies to undertake change management. In other words, if any statutory were to enforce this as a Must, companies will comply with it in order not to violate the regulation and thus to be penalized. It is of interest that the project size (Rank = 4) and type (Rank = 5) may not be seriously considered when the decision is made. 4.4. Barriers and benefits of change management Among the companies that do not implement change management, a subsequent question on their barriers against its implementation was asked. 7 factors were listed in the questionnaire and the responses are summarized in Table 6. 81% of the respondents indicated that being comfortable with current operations is the greatest barrier hindering them from implementing change management, followed by the small scale of projects (48%). Companies may be reluctant to be adapted to a new management style and prefer to maintain with their current operations. Furthermore, practicing new management approaches require additional resources and technical requirements to support them. This also incurs additional cost and thus becomes the main issue when companies consider the implementation of change management. It is of interest that there were respondents who even consider change management time consuming (38%). While the result might be due partly to concerns about time taken for its implementation, it draws attention as the result may imply that benefits from change management have not been well recognized in the Singapore construction industry. As a result, in order to encourage more implementation, perceptions of the respondents on benefits of change management were investigated and highlighted in Table 6 as well. In general, the respondents agreed that their companies have benefited from the implementation. More specifically, 82% of the respondents indicated that they can respond faster and
Table 6 Barriers and benefits. Category Barriers Comfortable with current operations Project scale is too small Time consuming Implementation cost Lack of management Lack of specialised professionals Lack of resources Fast responses to changes Time saving Cost saving Project risk reduction Productivity improvement Quality improvement Communication & teamwork improvement No. of Respondents 17 10 8 6 2 1 1 9 6 6 4 4 3 3 % 81% 48% 38% 29% 10% 5% 5% 82% 55% 55% 36% 36% 27% 27%

Benefits

4.25 3.66 2.81 2.31 1.97

1 2 3 4 5

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more readily to project changes, practicing change management. This is supported by Motawa et al. (2007) who argued that change management can aid in the planning and controlling of actions to be taken in an event of potential project changes. Next, cost and time savings were found to be the second most benefits identified. Hence, this further supports the importance of implementing change management in projects. Cost and time have been the two major objectives of construction projects and as change management may reduce cost and time, more companies will implement it. Another important aspect of projects is quality. However, it was reported that only 27% of the respondents recognize improvement in quality by implementing change management. In fact, change management may not directly improve quality while it would remove potential risks that are caused by changes, which affect quality of the project. 4.5. Importance and impact of change management This analysis was first focused on identifying the importance of change management in improving project performances. The respondents were asked to rate the scale of the importance with 1 as not important and 5 as extremely important. In addition, percentage of cost and time savings, and quality improvement were analyzed based on the inputs from the respondents. The respondents provided data showing how much of project cost and schedule could be reduced by implementing change management. Similarly, quality improvement by implementing the practice was also investigated. For the 21 respondents who indicated that change management was not implemented in their projects, the responses were based on perceptions of the respondents while the 11 respondents who practiced change management for their projects responded based on their project data. The analysis results of the importance of change management to project overall, cost, time and quality performances are summarized in Table 7and Fig. 1 while Table 8 and Fig. 2 are provided for the results of its impact on project cost saving, time saving, and quality improvement. For overall project performance improvement, only 15% of the companies that have not implement change management perceived its importance at the level of 4 and 5 while 73% of the companies that implemented the practice selected either 4 or 5. The mean difference between the two groups was statistically significant as shown in Table 7 (p-value = 0.008). This tendency was

also reported in the analysis for cost (p-value = 0.000), time (pvalue = 0.006), and quality (p-value = 0.003) performances. As a result, it can be concluded that those who have implemented change management to their projects are aware of its importance in improving project performances more than those who have not. More specifically, as shown it Table 7, 14 out of 21 companies (66%) that have not implement change management indicated a neutral view (Mean = 2.9) towards the importance of change management in improving cost performance. This result is also along with the result of the analysis on cost savings from change management, as shown in Table 8. 66% of the respondents in the same group as above indicated that their perception of the impact of change management on project cost saving is only 1% to 3%, and even 24% of the respondents reported that no cost savings could be obtained from change management. In contrast, the 11 companies implementing change management argued that change management plays an important role for improving cost performance (Mean = 4.1- See Table 7) and can result in cost savings by an average of 5.7% (See Table 8), which is much greater than the average cost savings of the other group that does not practice change management(1.8%). The difference in cost savings between the two groups is statistically significant (p-value = 0.000) as shown in Table 8. In addition, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the distributions of the group implementing change management tend to be placed in the higher scores for the importance and the greater cost savings for the impact respectively. This may infer that those who have ever implemented change management recognize its importance and appreciate benefits (cost savings) more than those who have not. Therefore, it may be deduced that companies with change management are more likely to achieve better cost performance. This result could be expected as project changes identified at the earlier phrase can be resolved with less impact on cost performance (Zou and Lee, 2008). As seen in Table 7 and Fig. 1, the importance of change management in improving time performance is also prominent from the perspectives of the companies practicing it (Mean = 3.8) while a majority of the respondents in the other group (80%) took a neutral stand (Mean = 3.0). Also, as shown in Table 8, 47% of the 21 respondents mentioned that change management cannot produce time savings. This might infer that these

Implement Change Management Do Not Implement Change Management

Fig. 1. Importance of change management.

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Implement Change Management Do Not Implement Change Management

Fig. 2. Impact of change management.

respondents rarely perceive change management as an approach to improving time performance. These respondents may deem implementation of change management as time consuming rather than time saving in a project. They may not be willing to invest extra time in implementing change management due to their hectic schedule. Nonetheless, as shown in Table 8, the respondents that have implemented change management still report its benefit of schedule reduction by an average of 7%, which is statistically significantly different (p- value = 0.000) from the average time saving of the other group (1.6%). In addition, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, there is a tendency that the group with greater recognition to the importance produces more time savings in their projects. In order to implement change management, a considerable amount of time may be required due to, for example, decision making processes, documentation and tracking of changes, development of mitigation plans, and execution of the plans. However, it can also result in time saving when the term refers to fewer delays to projects or less rework to be done (Roundtable, 2004). With concise evaluation on project changes, rework can be reduced, mitigating the risk of delaying projects. Therefore, despite a considerable amount of time spent in implementing change management, the time savings obtained can offset it. In case of quality, although 64% of the companies that implemented change management reported that it has an impact on quality improvement by 1 to 3% (Mean = 4%), as shown in Table 8, 71% of the respondents in the other group felt that change management does not have any impact (Mean = 0.9), resulting in the statistically significant mean difference between the two groups (p-value = 0.010). Figs. 1 and 2 also confirm the
Table 7 Importance of change management in improving project performances.
Importance (1 - Not important; 5- Extremely important) 1 2 3 4 5 Overall Performance Cost Performance

result, showing the extreme contrast of the distributions of the two groups. It is of interest that the quality improvement by change management is not as high as cost and time savings. This might be because improvement in quality would not be measured as explicit as cost and schedule savings. 4.6. Limitations Although the findings from the analyses provide better understanding of the status, importance and impact of change management in the context of the Singapore construction industry, there are a couple of limitations. The survey questionnaires were sent out to developers, quantity surveyors, project management consultants, facilities management consultants, and contractors. However, due to the low response rate of the other designations, only responses from contractors were analyzed. As a result, the findings should be interpreted from the perspective of contractors. Also, it should be noted that the respondents were mostly from small and mid-sized companies and thus, the analysis results presented in this study may not be readily generalized, especially for relatively large construction firms and projects. Finally, as the statistical tests were performed with small samples, cautions should be warranted when the test results are generalized. 5. Conclusions and recommendations The main objective of this study was: (1) to investigate the implementation status of change management in the Singapore construction industry; (2) to explore benefits and barriers of

Time Performance

Quality Performance

Change No Change Change Management Management T-Test Management (N = 11) (N = 21) (P-Value) (N = 11) N % Mean N % Mean 0 0% 0 0% 1 9% 7 33% 2 18% 3.7 11 52% 2.9 7 64% 2 10% 1 9% 1 5%

No Change Change Management T-Test Management (N = 21) (P-Value) (N = 11)

No Change Change No Change Management T-Test Management Management T-Test (N = 21) (P-Value) (N = 11) (N = 21) (P-Value) N % Mean N % Mean 0 0% 2 10% 1 9% 14 66% 8 73% 3.2 3 14% 2.2 1 9% 2 10% 1 9% 0 0%

0.008*

N % Mean N % Mean 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 5 24% 1 9% 4.1 14 66% 2.9 8 73% 1 5% 2 18% 1 5%

0.000*

N % Mean N % Mean 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 2 10% 4 36% 3.8 17 80% 3.0 5 46% 2 10% 2 18% 0 0%

0.006*

0.003*

*Indicates statistically significant results at the 0.05 level;

indicates the highest frequency in the group; Bold indicates the higher mean in the comparison groups.

B.-G. Hwang, L.K. Low / International Journal of Project Management 30 (2012) 817826 Table 8 Impact of Change Management on Project Performances.
Cost Saving Change Scale Management (N = 11) N 0% 1-3% 4-6% 7-9% 10% 0 0 1 1 % 0% 0% 5.6% 9% 9% Mean N No Change Management (N = 21) % Mean 5 24% 14 66% 2 10% 0 0 0% 0% 1.8% 0.000* T-Test (P-Value) N 0 Change Management (N = 11) % 0% 7.0% Mean N Time Saving No Change Management (N = 21) % Mean 10 47% 8 38% 2 10% 1 0 5% 0% 1.6% 0.000* T-Test (P-Value) N 0 Quality Improvement Change Management (N = 11) % 0% 4.0% Mean N No Change Management (N = 21) % Mean 15 71% 4 19% 2 10% 0 0 0% 0% 0.9% 0.010* T-Test (P-Value)

825

1 10% 5 45% 0 0% 5 45%

7 64% 2 18% 0 0% 2 18%

9 82%

*Indicates statistically significant results at the 0.05 level;

indicates the highest frequency in the group; Bold indicates the higher mean in the comparison groups. Arain, F.M., Low, S.P., 2005. The potential effects of variation orders on institutional building projects. Facilities 23 (11/12), 496510. Assaf, S.A., Al-Khalil, M., Al-Hazmi, M., 1995. Causes of Delays in Large Building Construction Projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 11 (2), 4550. Charoenngam, C., Coquinco, S., Hadikusumo, B., 2003. Web-based application for managing change orders in construction projects. Construction Innovation 3, 197215. CII, 1990. The Impact of Changes on Construction Cost and Schedule. Construction Industry Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. CII, 1995. Qualitative Effects of Project Changes. Construction Industry Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. Clough, R.H., Sears, G.A., 1994. Construction Contracting, 6th ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, NY. Fisk, E.R., 1997. Construction Project Administration, 5th ed. Prentice-Hall, upeer Saddle River, NJ. Hester, W., Kuprenas, J.A., Chang, T.C., 1991. Construction Changes and Change Orders: Their Magnitude and Impact. University of California, Berkeley, CA. Hwang, B.G., Thomas, S.R., Haas, C.T., Caldas, C.H., 2009. Measuring the Impact of Rework on Construction Cost Performance. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 135 (3), 187198. Ibbs, C., 1997. Change's impact on construction productivity. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 123 (1), 8997. Ibbs, C.W., Wong, C.K., Kwak, Y.H., 2001. Project Change Management System. Journal of Management in Engineering 17 (3), 159165. Isaac, S., Navon, R., 2008. Feasibility study of an automated tool for identifying the implications of changes in construction projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 134 (2), 139145. Karim, A., Adeli, H., 1999. CONSCOM: An OO Construction Scheduling and Change Management System. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 125 (5), 368377. Kumaraswamy, M., Miller, D., Yogeswaran, K., 1998. Claims for extension of time in civil engineering projects. Construction Management and Economics 16 (3), 283294. Lee, S.H., Pea-Mora, F., 2005. System dynamics approach for error and change management in concurrent design and construction. Proc. of the 2005 Winter Simulation Conf., Orlando, FL, pp. 15081514. Lee, S.H., Pea-Mora, F., Park, M., 2005. Quality and Change Management Model for Large Scale Concurrent Design and Construction Projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 131 (8), 890902. Love, P.E., Holt, G.D., Shen, L.Y., Li, H., Irani, Z., 2002. Using systems dynamics to better understand change and rework in construction project management systems. International Journal of Project Management 20 (6), 425436. Ming, S., Sexton, M., Aouad, G., Fleming, A., Senaratne, S., Anumba, C., 2004. Industrial Report: Managing Changes in Construction ProjectsRetrieved May 10, 2010, from Bristol UWE: School of the Built and Natural Environment: http://www.bne.uwe.ac.uk/cprc/publications/mcd.pdf. Motawa, I., Anumba, C., Lee, S., Pea-Mora, F., 2007. An integrated system for change management in construction. Automation in Construction 16 (3), 368377.

change management implementation; and (3) to assess the importance and impact of change management in terms of project performances. Based on the analysis results, it can be concluded that the implementation status of change management in Singapore is relatively low as majority of the companies and projects do not implement change management. In an attempt to investigate the reasons for the low implementation status, deterrence factors were determined, and being comfortable with the current operations and constraint from project cost and time were the prominent barriers that the industry must get through to appreciate more benefits from implementation of change management. As for the importance of change management to project performances, in general, the companies that do not implement change management perceived it at a neutral stand while the other group is fully aware of the importance. Furthermore, more cost and time savings, and quality improvement could be achieved by the group practicing change management, and when compared to the outcomes of the other group, the difference was statistically significant. Considering that perceptions of those who do not implement change management on benefits of change management are always lower than actual improvement and savings that can be achieved by its implementation, construction contractors in Singapore seem to be unaware of or unfamiliar with change management and its benefits. In an attempt to increase the usage, training sessions should be provided and further emphasis should be placed on barriers that deter its implementation so as to address concerns of those who do not implement change management. For future studies, it is recommended to quantify level of change implementation at project and company levels since degree of performance improvement can be affected by the extent to which change management is implemented. Also, the impact of change management on other performances such as productivity, safety or customer satisfaction can be analyzed. Lastly, a similar study can be done based on input from project owners, developers, and architecture, considering that the project participants may have more control on the issues arising from changes. References
Arain, F.M., Assaf, S., Low, S.P., 2004. Causes of Discrepancies between Design and Construction. Architectural Science Review 47 (3), 237249.

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B.-G. Hwang, L.K. Low / International Journal of Project Management 30 (2012) 817826 Sun, M., Senaratne, S., Fleming, A., Motowa, I., Yeoh, M., 2006. A change management toolkit for construction projects. Architectural Engineering and Design Management 2 (4), 261271. Zhao, Z.Y., Lv, Q.L., Zuo, J., Zillante, G., 2009. A Prediction System for Change Management in Construction Project. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 136 (6), 659669. Zou, Y., Lee, S.-H., 2008. The impacts of change management practices on project change cost performance. Construction Management and Economics 26 (4), 387393.

O'Brien, J.J., 1998. Construction Change Orders. McGraw Hill, New York, NY. Park, M., 2002. Dynamic Change Management for Fast-tracking Construction ProjectsRetrieved June 22, 2010, from Building and Fire Research Laboratory: Fire on the Web: http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build02/art129.html. Roundtable, T.C., 2004. Construction Project Controls: Cost, Schedule, and Change ManagementRetrieved May 10, 2010, from NW Ohio Great Lakes Construction Alliance: http://www.nwoglca.org/PDF_Files/Construction% 20Project%20Controls_%20Cost,%20Schedule%20and%20Change%20 Management.pdf (September).