Factors Influencing Cost Management of Public Sector Construction Projects: A Case of Government Departmental Offices in Naivasha Sub-County


By Cleopas Gathara Wahome

School of Human Resource Development

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Nakuru, Kenya


To my wife, Nduta and my lovely children Wahome, Waruguru, Waruiru, and Pendo, for their great encouragement and to all my friends and colleagues who have always been there for me when I needed them.


I do acknowledge the support that I have been accorded in the due course of my project. First, I do express my heartfelt gratitude to the Almighty God for seeing me through the entire course.  A great debt is owed to my supervisor, Dr Cecilia Ritho, who carefully read, guided, advised and gave me support throughout in course of writing this project. I do also specially thank my colleagues from the MSC (Project Management, 2011) class, friends and lectures who have a share of contribution during development of my research project.


There have been widespread incidences of cost escalation in departmental office construction projects. Lack of proven construction project management system and ability to prevent construction project cost escalations or to control these costs is alleged to occasion construction contractors to fail, change in project design and specifications, incomplete or abandoned projects and loss of taxpayers’ money. The primary objective of the study was to establish the key factors responsible for effective cost management in public sector construction projects. The study also sought to analyze the influence of budgeting process, procurement and tendering process, contractor performance, and public funds disbursement on effective cost management of public sector’s construction projects.

The study was carried out at in Naivasha sub-County. The researcher employed descriptive research design and survey research method. The target population of the study comprised the heads of departments, project contractors, project consultants and Sub-County supply chain managers involved in undertaking of the 16 office block construction projects in Naivasha Sub-County, totaling to 39 prospective respondents. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data. Data was processed and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS – Version 21.0).  Data was analyzed both descriptively (frequencies, percentages, mean, and standard deviation) and inferentially (Pearson’s correlation).

The research findings were presented in form of tables for descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The response rate was 84.6%. Under-budgeting of construction projects was found to greatly affect cost management. It was established that procurement and tendering process largely affect the cost management of public construction projects. Inexperience of the contractor was likely to expose the project to mismanagement of the allocated funds. It was established and concluded that the budgeting process, tendering and procurement process, and contractor’s performance strongly affect cost management of public sector’s construction projects. However, public funds disbursement was inferred to be inconsequential to cost management.

It was recommended that the relevant project financiers should allocate adequate funds to public construction projects. There also should be a systematic procurement and tendering procedures touching on public construction projects. The contractor and his or her personnel should possess the requisite technical skills. It is highly recommended that the government should minimize or totally remove bottlenecks that would otherwise increase the cost of the construction projects. It is suggested that it would be essential to undertake studies on the role of government in public construction projects in Kenya; assessment of challenges facing public construction projects; and an analysis of factors determining the success of public construction projects in Kenya.


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Editor’s note: This paper was a research project report submitted to the School of Human Resource Development in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Masters of Science in Project Management degree at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

About the author 

pmwj22-may2014-Wahome-AUTHOR IMAGECleopas Gathara Wahome flag-kenya

Nakuru, Kenya

Cleopas Gathara Wahome works with the State Department of livestock under the Public Service Commission of Kenya. He is a 1993 graduate of Egerton University –Njoro Campus, in Animal Production. He taught Agriculture at Kapmaso Secondary School in Kericho County for two years as a Teachers Service Commission of Kenya untrained graduate teacher up to October 1993.

Cleopas Gathara Wahome joined Naivasha Sheep and Goats Station in November, 1993 as a livestock production officer in charge of breeding and production programmes. In September, 2005 he was appointed head of this department as the officer in charge overseeing all technical programmes and administrative activities of the station. Naivasha Sheep and Goats Station is a national station mandated to conserve and improve specific genetic resource of small ruminants.

In May, 2011, he enrolled for a MSc. in Project Management Course at Nakuru -CBD Campus of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. This course empowered him with skills and competencies to prudently manage resources allocated Naivasha Sheep and Goats Station to achieve its desired national mandates. Cleopas can be contacted at [email protected].