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Analysis of change orders in geotechnical engineering work at INDOT.
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Analysis of change orders in geotechnical engineering work at INDOT.
  • Alternative Title:
    Joint Transportation Research Program : Civil Engineering
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  • Abstract:
    Change orders represent a cost to the State and to tax payers that is real and often extremely large because contractors tend to charge very large amounts to any additional work that deviates from the work that was originally planned. Therefore, efforts must be made to reduce significantly the occurrence of change orders in order to provide significant cost savings to the state of Indiana and save taxpayer dollars. The proposed research, in this context, developed a set of guidelines that will allow the geotechnical office of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to minimize the probabilities of having change orders in those projects where they are truly preventable. These guidelines include not only recommendations on how to manage the problem of change orders associated with the geotechnical construction projects when they are unavoidable but also general recommendations wherever possible for adequate site investigation, design procedures, and quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) processes that could help minimize change orders. Based on the analysis conducted on the data collected from 300 INDOT contracts, it was found that the average geotechnical change order amount per district per year was 1.34 percent of the total estimated construction cost per district per year. The average geotechnical change order amount per district per year was 10.25 percent of the average amount of total change orders per district per year. The average net overrun due to geotechnical change orders was $707,000 per district per year. About 28 percent (84 contracts) of the contracts that were considered in this study experienced geotechnical change orders. In total, 158 geotechnical change orders were recorded in all the contracts. About 41 % of the total road contracts (155 contracts) experienced geotechnical change orders. About 37% of the total bridge contracts (44 contracts) experienced geotechnical change orders. The other contract types of this study’s dataset were insignificant as far as geotechnical change orders were concerned. Reason code 206 – Constructability: Soils-Related – was assigned to 101 geotechnical change orders. Reason code 405 – Changed Field Conditions: Soils-Related – was assigned to 46 geotechnical change orders. Reason code 108 – Errors and Omissions: Soils-Related – was assigned to the 11 remaining geotechnical change orders. INDOT personnel who were interviewed acknowledged the fact that the variability of soil is so great that it would be literally impossible to eliminate geotechnical change orders. However, they did recognize the need to address the following issues that lead to geotechnical change orders (i) Failure to identify areas of poor subgrade soil (ii) Mismatch in piling quantities (iii) Omissions and constructability issues associated with erosion control work.
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