Table of Contents
ISRN Construction Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 381670, 7 pages
Research Article

Causes of Variation Orders in Road Construction Projects in Sri Lanka

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, 10400 Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

Received 30 September 2013; Accepted 27 October 2013

Academic Editors: J. de Brito and S. P. Low

Copyright © 2013 R. U. Halwatura and N. P. N. P. Ranasinghe. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the most important problems in the construction industry is variations. They occur in every construction project and the magnitude of these variations varies considerably from project to project. Hence, the variations orders bear great importance right from the inception to completion in the construction industry. Most of the road construction projects in Sri Lanka have experienced a large number of variation orders. The client had to spend more than what was initially estimated in most cases. Sometimes, disputes and unnecessary delays occur due to variations. This study attempted to reveal the possible causes of variation orders in the road construction projects in Sri Lanka. The data were collected through a literature review, a case study analysis focused on 11 road construction projects, and a questionnaire administered to professionals in the road construction industry in Sri Lanka. The study found out that the causes in the local context differ from those in the international context. According to the questionnaire survey, poor estimation was the most significant cause of variation orders. Unforeseen site conditions, political pressure during construction stage, poor investigation, and client-initiated variations occupy the 2nd to 5th places, respectively, in the ranking. This ranking was further proven through the case study analysis.