Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

State Transportation Agencies: A Quantitative Study on the Use of Construction Engineering and Inspection Consultants and Their Impact on Project Performance
by Al-Haddad, Sara, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2020, 217; 27960112
Abstract (Summary)

State Transportation Agencies (STAs) are performing more infrastructure projects than ever before. However, STAs are struggling to keep up with the increasing infrastructure demand of the U.S. Therefore, STAs are using Construction, Engineering, and Inspection (CEI) consultants to supplement in-house staff to perform these projects. A nation-wide survey was administered to understand STAs current hiring trends and the implications of using CEI consultants on project performance. This dissertation concluded STAs have a staffing deficit for utilities, drainage, roadway, grading, and structure works. The need for additional resources for projects with these work types indicates there is a staffing shortage and a lack of required skillsets in-house for successful implementation. The results indicate projects with structure and roadway/grading works generally need more staff and specific skillsets. However, projects with traffic control do not necessarily have a staffing shortage but still heavily rely on the use of CEI consultants due to the lack of required skills in-house. The finding for utilities/drainage works indicates that these work types are generally considered more urgent. The use of in-house staff or CEI consultants does not seem to influence project cost performance. Projects that use CEI consultants are more likely to be behind schedule than projects that only used in-house staff. Moreover, projects that use consultants are approximately three times more likely to be behind schedule, while large and complex projects are about five times more likely to be behind schedule. Additionally, in-house inspectors have better schedule performance in non-complex projects. Ultimately, this research finds that it is crucial for STAs to consider the long-term effects of hiring CEI consultants on institutional knowledge. STAs are recommended to keep working with CEI consultants and invest in recruiting, maintaining, and training talent to rebuild some of the lost institutional knowledge. Due to the persisting staff shortages in STAs, CEI consultants and STAs need to think about future collaborations, partnerships, and training programs that may benefit both parties.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goodrum, Paul M
Commitee: Littlejohn, Ray L, Molenaar, Keith R, Taylor, Tim R B, Torres-Machi, Cristina
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Civil engineering
Keywords: CEI Consultants, Cost and schedule performance, Department of Transportation, In-house staff, Quantitative analysis, State transportation agencies
Publication Number: 27960112
ISBN: 9798645450236
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