Many projects in Uganda and the world over have suffered from cost and time overruns due to factors stemming from poor cost control during the design and project implementation stages. Research aimed at studying the cost control techniques being used in Uganda was done on a selection of 130 contractors involved in the construction of buildings in Nakawa division, Kampala City. It specifically studied the cost control techniques currently being used by individual developers; the problems faced and proposed solutions. The research was able to identify seven commonly used cost control techniques which include schedules, budget, inspection, meetings, reports, records, monitoring & evaluations. It was noted that most project managers and contractors in Uganda find difficulty in controlling project costs due to problems which include delays by clients to release money, delay to make a decision, lack of materials and equipment, bad weather, overlapping of activities, unclear and incomplete drawings, making good defective works, and generally failure to control the productivity of resources. Others of paucity were due to theft and vandalism, interference by clients, high labour turnover, and insufficient knowledge on cost control techniques. The study was able to establish that the problem was actually not the techniques to use but rather the lack of knowledge of the techniques, the poor management of the cost control methodology, and the general poor site organisation and inadequate supervision.
KEY WORDS: Buildings, Control, Cost, Techniques, Uganda
In construction almost all clients are interested in obtaining fully functional facilities completed in time, cost, quality and scope. A builder who is able to construct within the estimated time and budget, to the right standards and scope is an excellent builder. Cost control is a process where the construction cost of the project is managed through the best methods and techniques so that the contractor does not suffer losses when carrying out the activities of the project. One of the aims of cost control is to construct at the cheapest possible costs consistent with the project objectives. Ultimately the decision of the manager that something should be done differently and the translation of that decision into practice are the actions to achieve control (Harris and McCaffer 2002). Raina (1999) observes that it is of little use after a process has been completed to discover that its cost was actually too much. Most project managers and contractors in Uganda find difficulty in controlling costs on their construction sites due to a number of problems which include poor project preparation, lapse in management and control, over budgeting, poor materials, labour shortages, increased cost of materials, delays in deliveries, wastage of materials, unexpected weather changes, loss of materials, insecurity and poor communication. This results into cost and time overruns, conflicts, and sometimes abandoning projects. This study was therefore carried out to identify the cost control techniques used in Uganda and propose effective ones to the building construction parties. It specifically looked at problems faced by the contractors in controlling the costs on site, studied the cost control techniques commonly used by the contractors during the construction stage and proposed remedies to be used by contractors on sites to control their costs.
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