Design science research as an approach to develop conceptual solutions for improving cost management in construction
Despite the progress that has been made with regard to construction cost management, many drawbacks including the unpredictability of construction costs continue to raise concerns. This research study aimed to contribute to improving construction cost management by identifying the key issues which contribute to such drawbacks, and developing conceptual solutions to mitigate them. The design science approach has been selected as the overall research method. Design science approach has been augmented through an analysis to the root cause of each identified key issue, an inference of countermeasure to the each root cause (conceptual solution), and synthesis of the (practical) solutions. This research has identified failure to forecast, failure to support improvement opportunities, costs being considered as resulting from action, neglect of value consideration, poor support for inter-organizational cost management, negative influence on behaviour, and constraints created by budgeting, as key issues contributing to the current drawback of construction cost management. This study proposes the recognition of waste through flow theory, integrating costs to design, value generation theory, seeing construction as production, incentives aligned to improvement, separating the different functions of budgeting and the dynamic approach to managing costs as solutions to the identified drawbacks. The outcomes of this study contribute to developing practical solutions for constriction cost management, and also represent conceptual gains in the field.