Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Islam H. El-adaway

Committee Members

Shuai Li, Charles B. Sims, Timothy J. Truster


The complexity of today’s construction projects deems conflicts and disputes unavoidable. The mere presence of disputes leads to productivity losses, schedule overruns, cost overruns, and quality decline. Moreover, failure to resolve disputes in a quick manner ripples these impacts and prevents successful completion of projects. Accordingly, preventing disputes prior to taking place is always better than resolving them after the fact. There are several factors that cause disputes. However, this dissertation focuses on those related to bidding, out-of-sequence (OOS) work, and contract administration of owner’s obligations, due to the significant knowledge gaps that were identified in their research streams.The goal of this research is to cover the identified knowledge gaps by providing various effective quantitative and qualitative means of dispute mitigation at the different stages of the project’s lifecycle. To this end, the research has four main objectives; each corresponding to one of the identified major knowledge gaps. The objectives are: (1) develop an advanced model for construction bid price estimation that is able to draw sound statistical inferences even in cases of data incompleteness and dynamic behaviors of competitors; (2) present contract administration guidelines for utilizing employer’s obligations clauses under the most widely used national and international standard forms of design-build contracts; (3) identify the causes and early warning signs of OOS work and their characteristics, as well as the best practices to avoid and mitigate its impacts, and (4) develop an advanced systematic model for analyzing the dynamics of OOS.The objectives were achieved through multiple analytical quantitative and qualitative methods; utilizing Bayesian statistics, decision theory, contractual examinations, surveys and meetings, statistical analysis, decision support systems, and system dynamics simulation. The research has various intellectual merits as it tackles important research areas that have not been explored before and improves areas which needed improvement. The research also has practical merits as it provides project stakeholders with models and tools that are used in multiple stages of the project cycle to mitigate disputes. The intellectual and practical outcomes of this research will partake in further understanding construction projects, minimizing disputes at different stages, and promoting healthier contracting environments.


The work included in Chapter 3 of this thesis is part of a collaborative research - which was funded by the Construction Industry Institute housed in the University of Texas - Austin - between the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and the University of Wisconsin - Madison, The author included in Chapter 3 the work that he and the University of Tennessee - Knoxville took the lead on during this project including literature review, methodology development, recording and analysis of results, and deriving of conclusions. While the author supported and contributed to other activities in this project that he was not the lead author on, none of these activities are included in this PhD dissertation.

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