Planning in Construction: Longitudinal Study of Pre-Contract Planning Model Demonstrates Reduction in Project Cost and Schedule Growth

Brian C. Lines, Kenneth Sullivan, Kristen Hurtado, John Savicky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Planning is known to enhance construction project performance in terms of cost, schedule, and quality. Yet, project teams oftentimes do not incorporate effective planning methodologies, typically citing a lack of time or capability to conduct detailed planning. This article proposes a brief yet rigorous project planning method, known as the pre-contract planning model, which is uniquely implemented between the owner and selected contractor project teams prior to contract award with the intent of increasing project team alignment and facilitating greater risk transfer from owner to contractor. Results from a multi-case longitudinal study documented the impact of the pre-contract planning model in terms of three success criteria: cost growth, schedule growth, and owner satisfaction, where cost and schedule growth were measured as percent increase of initial contract values. Projects that implemented the pre-contract planning model were compared with a control group that operated via a traditional project delivery process where the selected contractor directly proceeded to contract award without a formal planning process. Analysis revealed that the pre-contract planning model reduced cost and schedule growth by as much as 54% and 70% percent, respectively, indicating that pre-contract planning may be a viable planning mechanism to be implemented in the construction industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Construction Education and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015



  • change order
  • construction
  • planning
  • project cost
  • schedule growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Education

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