Impacts of project controls on rework induced tipping point dynamics in large, complex construction projects Conference Paper uri icon


  • Large, complex construction projects such as nuclear power plants are subject to unique types of construction risks. One such unique risk is the combination of rework and increased project scope that can push a project from a period of project progress past a tipping point into a period of declining project progress. Previous research has demonstrated the potential of rework induced tipping point dynamics to cause poor cost and schedule performance on large, complex construction projects (Taylor and Ford 2006) and the effectiveness of project design strategies in mitigating tipping point risk (Taylor and Ford 2008). Previous research has also examined three project labor control policies (overtime, workforce, and work intensity) and their impact on project performance (Lyneis and Ford 2007, Ford, Lyneis, and Taylor 2007). However, the impacts of project labor controls on tipping point dynamics have not been fully investigated. The current work uses a simulation model of a construction project to investigate the ability of project labor control actions to respond to tipping point dynamics. The model demonstrates that some well intended and reasonable project labor control actions, such as the extended use of overtime, can push a project over the tipping point to failure. Project robustness to tipping point-induced failure is analyzed with sensitivity analysis. Analysis results are used to design effective project labor control responses to rework induced tipping point dynamics. Implications for practice and future research opportunities are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Proceedings, Annual Conference - Canadian Society for Civil Engineering

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, J., Taylor, T., & Ford, D. N.

complete list of authors

  • Li, J||Taylor, TRB||Ford, DN

publication date

  • December 2011