Approaches on Mitigating Variation Orders in Road Construction Industry in Kenya: The Case of Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA)

  • J. N. Gatitu Sustainable Materials Research & Technology Centre, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
  • C. K. Kabubo Sustainable Materials Research & Technology Centre, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
  • P. Ajwang Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Volume: 10 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 6195-6199 | October 2020 |


Variation orders have been globally identified as a significant reason for poor performance of construction projects. Several variation orders have been identified in the Kenyan construction industry, however, there is a paucity of information on the approaches to minimize their occurrence. The aim of this study is to identify the practices for variation order mitigation in the public road construction sector in Kenya. This is a cross-sectional study that was carried out among the stakeholders (clients, consultants, and contractors) involved in road construction projects. The study used the purposive sampling technique whereby the data were collected with the use of distributed questionnaires among clients, consultants, and contractors’ staff with a technical background in civil engineering. The Relative Importance Index (RII) was used for data analysis. According to the findings of the study, the top five recommended approaches for minimizing variation orders include the provision of adequate planning before the initiation of road construction projects, understanding of the contract provisions by all the parties before project implementation, solving of land disputes before the project tender awards, provision of complete project designs, and provision of a brief project scope during the tendering process. This research, therefore, contributes to a pool of knowledge that will enable practitioners and researchers in the construction industry to develop effective models for minimizing variation orders.

Keywords: variation orders, relative importance index


Download data is not yet available.


R. Jedwab, E. Kerby, and A. Moradi, "History, Path Dependence and Development: Evidence from Colonial Railways, Settlers and Cities in Kenya," The Economic Journal, vol. 127, no. 603, pp. 1467-1494, 2017. DOI:

M. A. Seboru, "An Investigation into Factors Causing Delays in Road Construction Projects in Kenya," American Journal of Civil Engineering, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 51-63, Apr. 2015. DOI:

A. Jerome, Infrastructure for economic development and poverty reduction in Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: UN-HABITAT, 2011. DOI:

S.-K. Lee and E. Kim, "The effects of highway investments on production costs in the Korean manufacturing sector," International Journal of Urban Sciences, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 182-191, May 2015. DOI:

S. Chakrabarti, "Can highway development promote employment growth in India?," Transport Policy, vol. 69, pp. 1-9, Oct. 2018. DOI:

R. Asomani-Boateng, R. J. Fricano, and F. Adarkwa, "Assessing the socio-economic impacts of rural road improvements in Ghana: A case study of Transport Sector Program Support (II)," Case Studies on Transport Policy, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 355-366, Dec. 2015. DOI:

T. S. Maparu and T. N. Mazumder, "Transport infrastructure, economic development and urbanization in India (1990-2011): Is there any causal relationship?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, vol. 100, pp. 319-336, Jun. 2017. DOI:

A. K. Edriss and C. Chiunda, "Interfaces Between Road Infrastructure and Poverty in Africa: The Case of Malawi, 1994-2013," Journal of Social Economics Research, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 9-21, 2017. DOI:

A. A. G. A. Yana, Rusdhi H.A., and M. A. Wibowo, "Analysis of Factors Affecting Design Changes in Construction Project with Partial Least Square (PLS)," Procedia Engineering, vol. 125, pp. 40-45, Jan. 2015. DOI:

I. J. Suleiman and V. G. M. Luvara, "Factors Influencing Change of Design of Building Projects during Construction Stage in Dar-es- Salaam Tanzania," International Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 93-101, 2016.

R. F. Aziz and A. A. Abdel-Hakam, "Exploring delay causes of road construction projects in Egypt," Alexandria Engineering Journal, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 1515-1539, Jun. 2016. DOI:

A. E. Yadeta, "Causes of Variation orders on public Building projects in Addis Ababa," International Journal of Engineering Research and General Science, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 242-250, 2016.

L. Oyewobi, R. Jimoh, B. Ganiyu, and A. Shittu, "Analysis of causes and impact of variation order on educational building projects," Journal of Facilities Management, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 139-164, May 2016. DOI:

I. Mahamid, "Effect of change orders on rework in highway projects in Palestine," Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 62-76, Apr. 2017. DOI:

B. Mpofu, E. G. Ochieng, C. Moobela, and A. Pretorius, "Profiling causative factors leading to construction project delays in the United Arab Emirates," Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 346-376, Jan. 2017. DOI:

S. Ahmed, A. Memon, N. Memon, A. Laghari, M. A. Akhund, and U. Imad, "Common Factors of Cost Escalation in Construction Industry of Pakistan," Engineering, Technology & Applied Science Research, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 3508-3511, Dec. 2018. DOI:

W. M. A. Khalifa and I. Mahamid, "Causes of Change Orders in Construction Projects," Engineering, Technology & Applied Science Research, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 4956-4961, 2019. DOI:

F. A. Soomro, M. J. Memon, A. F. Chandio, S. Sohu, and R. Soomro, "Causes of Time Overrun in Construction of Building Projects in Pakistan," Engineering, Technology & Applied Science Research, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 3762-3764, Jan. 2019. DOI:

K. V. Prasad, V. Vasugi, R. Venkatesan, and N. Bhat, "Analysis of causes of delay in Indian construction projects and mitigation measures," Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 58-78, Jan. 2019. DOI:

M. Gunduz, Y. Nielsen, and M. Ozdemir, "Fuzzy Assessment Model to Estimate the Probability of Delay in Turkish Construction Projects," Journal of Management in Engineering, vol. 31, no. 4, Jul. 2015, Art. no. 04014055. DOI:

J. Liu, X. Zhao, and P. Yan, "Risk Paths in International Construction Projects: Case Study from Chinese Contractors," Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 142, no. 6, Jun. 2016, Art. no. 05016002. DOI:

M. A. Albhaisi, "Factors Causing Variation Orders in Construction Projects in Gaza Strip (Case Study: Qatar Projects)," M.S. thesis, The Islamic University-Gaza, Gaza, Palestine, 2016.

M. A. Akhund, A. R. Khoso, A. A. Pathan, H. U. Imad, and F. Siddiqui, "Risk Attributes, Influencing the Time and Cost Overrun in Joint Venture Construction Projects of Pakistan," Engineering, Technology & Applied Science Research, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 3260-3264, Aug. 2018. DOI:

N. A. Bakhary, H. Adnan, and A. Ibrahim, "A Study of Construction Claim Management Problems in Malaysia," Procedia Economics and Finance, vol. 23, pp. 63-70, Jan. 2015. DOI:

F. M. Arain and L. S. Pheng, "Modeling for management of variations in building projects," Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 420-433, Jan. 2007. DOI:

M. Mukuka, C. Aigbavboa, and W. Thwala, "Effects of Construction Projects Schedule Overruns: A Case of the Gauteng Province, South Africa," Procedia Manufacturing, vol. 3, pp. 1690-1695, Jan. 2015. DOI:

N. Udawatta, J. Zuo, K. Chiveralls, and G. Zillante, "Improving waste management in construction projects: An Australian study," Resources, Conservation and Recycling, vol. 101, pp. 73-83, Aug. 2015. DOI:

A. R. Rumane, Quality management in construction projects. Florida, USA: CRC Press, 2011.

L. S. Chin and A. R. A. Hamid, "The Practice of Time Management on Construction Project," Procedia Engineering, vol. 125, pp. 32-39, Jan. 2015. DOI:

O. D. Dickson and M. Gerryshom, "Variations in Civil Engineering Construction Projects in Kenya: Causes and Effects," International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 1124-1129, 2015.

J. Alsuliman, G. Bowles, Z. Chen, and S. D. Smith, "Current practice of variation order management in the Saudi construction industry," in 28th Annual ARCOM Conference, Edinburgh, UK, Sep. 2012, pp. 1003-1012.

P. Levin, Construction contract claims, changes, and dispute resolution. Virginia, USA: ASCE Press, 2016. DOI:

S. Hussain, F. Zhu, Z. Ali, H. D. Aslam, and A. Hussain, "Critical Delaying Factors: Public Sector Building Projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan," Buildings, vol. 8, no. 1, Jan. 2018, Art. no. 6. DOI:

J. Hayes, The theory and practice of change management. London, UK: Palgrave, 2018. DOI:

A. M. Jarkas and T. C. Haupt, "Major construction risk factors considered by general contractors in Qatar," Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 165-194, Jan. 2015. DOI:

R. Choudhry, H. Gabriel, M. Khan, and S. Azhar, "Causes of Discrepancies between Design and Construction in Pakistan Construction Industry," Journal of Construction in Developing Countries, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 1-20, Jan. 2017. DOI:

S. Famiyeh, C. T. Amoatey, E. Adaku, and C. S. Agbenohevi, "Major causes of construction time and cost overruns: A case of selected educational sector projects in Ghana," Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 181-198, Jan. 2017. DOI:

N. T. K. Le, "Identification of Risk Factors, Success Practices, and Feasibility of the Best Value Approach Application to Improve Construction Performance in Vietnam and Other Developing Countries," Ph.D. dissertation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA, 2019.

S. R. Nassar, "Management of Variation Orders in Gaza Strip : Impacts and Minimization," M.S. thesis, The Islamic University-Gaza, Gaza, Palestine, 2017.

M. I. Mohamad, M. A. Nekooie, and A. B. S. Al-Harthy, "Design changes in residential reinforced concrete buildings: The causes, sources, impacts and preventive measures," Journal of Construction in Developing Countries, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 23-44, 2012.

H. A. Rahman, W. Chen, and J. Y. B. Hui, "Impacts of design changes on construction project performance: insights from literature," Journal of Quantity Surveying and Construction Business, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 31-54, 2016.


Abstract Views: 88
PDF Downloads: 56

Metrics Information
Bookmark and Share

Most read articles by the same author(s)