Change Management Systems in Construction Projects

Ensuring an Efficient Delivery System



By Edozie Victor Chukwuma

SKEMA Business School

Lille, France



With the high level of uncertainties associated with construction projects, it is natural to seek out underlying factors, all of which point in the same direction – project change. However, projects are executed by people, likewise systems are created by people. Change is a widely used operational and project-based term in the construction industry that spells scope increment or reduction, organizational restructure, a thin line between agreement and disagreement or a phrase – change order. All project and scope changes have systems designed to facilitate such orders. The term ‘order’ is used as change is due to a succession of events. But, more important are the people making decisions. In this paper I developed three alternative that could help solve the problem of how to ensure efficient delivery of project change using change management system by people in construction projects. These alternatives are to help owners, contractors and/or stakeholders within any construction project to better respect, communicate and make decisions towards project changes. Using a Multi-Attribute Decision Making analysis, I compared the various outcomes of these alternative and selected the better of the three alternatives. This paper recommends two of three proposed alternatives, with one better and both viable. The best alternative is that Owners. Contractors and/or stakeholders must unanimously establish and agree on an appropriate change management system, process and procedures to be adopted throughout the project duration. To conclude, the result of this analysis is only theoretical and needs to be tested in the real field to be really approved. In this way, this result could represent a good advice to follow in delivering project changes. Also, the least desirable alternative is viable and would greatly support in effectively managing project changes

Key words: Change management system, Communication, Contract Agreement, change management process people management and project change.


It’s important to state that change management systems do not implement change, people make and manage changes. Considering the above statement, it is safe to say that change management systems are used to facilitate changes in projects, organisation or any endeavour with high risk and uncertainties such as the construction industry. This can be put into proper context when preparing an international or local contract involving bring people of different cultural background to work on a new construction project.

By embracing differences on such project, people from various cultural background and ideologies are made to come together. This could/is the typical case of most international constructions project hence a need for proper people management is interwoven in contract statement between owners, contractors, architect/ engineer and any third party involved in project. Managing diversity on projects could pose a challenge but this can be reduced using a properly crafted contract document.

The construction industry is known to be project-based, and this helps manage various phases (such as planning, cost estimation, contract bidding) in construction projects. Decision-making is an integral part of construction projects, inclusive of change management decisions. Ensuring proper link and communication amongst all project participants when a change order is raised is most expedient as well as proper statement of condition/ situation surrounding a change directive. In construction projects, producing desired outcomes or solving design issues could give rise to change usually in form of a proposal. Indeed, change is considered as a modification to an agreement between project participant. Likewise change management is a systematic management practice that resolves or minimizes incumbent occurrences that disrupt project processes. It is safe to that these systematic management practices would include proper, clear and documented agreements between participants involved in construction projects

Ensuring proper, clear and documented agreements is people management in the form of a signed and documented contract documents. This agreement should contain certain agreed conditions that help management communication issues, decision making, addresses diversity and fosters oneness for the duration of the project. This helps efficient delivery of established change management systems and effectiveness of all project participants.


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Chukwuma, E. V. (2018). Change Management Systems in Construction Projects: Ensuring an Efficient Delivery System, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VI – June. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pmwj71-Jun2018-Chukwuma-change-management-systems-in-construction-projects-student-paper.pdf

About the Author

Edozie Chukwuma

Lille, France




Edozie Chukwuma is an MSc Student of SKEMA Business School, major in Project and Programme Management and Business Development (PPMBD). He’s aspires to make project management strides in IT, Health Care and Business Development. He graduated from Covenant University, Nigeria and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Chemistry. He lives in Lille, France now, and can be contacted at [email protected]