Simulation of delay factors in dam construction projects with a system dynamics approach

Document Type : Research Article


1 Assistant professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate of Engineering and Construction Management, Department of Civil Engineering, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran,


Delays are among the causes for financial loss in construction projects. Extensive research has thus been carried out on how to confront it, or reduce its consequences. The effect on dam construction projects is highly pronounced as a consequence of their high operation magnitude, and long initial execution duration. Numerous papers have thus far studied the causes of delay in projects from a dynamic systems’ approach, in such sectors as construction, railways and highways. However, a simple comprehensive exploration of literature on the study of construction delay through the dynamic systems method reveals a gap of research around dam construction. As this is the largest class of projects in the nation, numerous factors are involved in project delays. To investigate the causes of delay in these projects the Vensim software package has proven useful and imperative in carrying out dynamic system analyses. The present paper, involves a case study of the Marvak dam in Lorestan province. Based on previous studies and former practical experience in construction, a set of 10 common causes of delay was compiled into a questionnaire, for 20 dam construction experts who were asked to rate the causes from 1 to 10, depending on how much each factor actually causes delay in the project, with a rating of 1 and 10, signifying the highest, and lowest weight. Among the factors, the effect of four variables, namely human resources, machinery and equipment, financial resources of the contractor, and deficiency in technical blueprints, were selected as the most effective factors. The Vensim software package was then used to simulate the model based on project specifications. Results involved the project’s “overall predictable delay” with the share of each factor specified in a breakdown.


Main Subjects

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