1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDYWhen asked to define "design error," not all disciplines in the construction process agree on a common definition. Depending on which discipline you address, the owner, the designer or the contractor there will be a common understanding surrounded by varied conclusions, "a mistake." From the basic definitions of "design" and "error" we conclude that a design error is a deviation from a drawing or specification, also including omissions and ambiguities. It is the seriousness of this error that must be considered to determine its consequences on the overall outcome of the project One of the most important challenges facing management today is controlling the all too frequent cost and schedule overruns that effect the construction industry (Diekmann and Thrush, 1986). One of the major issues to control growth in project costs and time is the reduction of design errors.The owner, designer and contractor all have different interests in, or uses for the design of a facility. But what they do share is the commitment to complete the project safely and within a given budget and completion time. There are many initiatives being conducted to control the growth of cost and schedule within the construction industry.The major issue is "accuracy of the drawings," or the number of design errors, omissions and ambiguities within the plans and specifications that affect the quality of the facility. Inadequacies in the plans and specifications are the major causes of changes to the contract So much emphasis is placed on the issue of time and cost that quality takes a back seat The quality of the project depends on the conformance of the objectives and requirements from the owner. An informative quality management technique will provide an agreement to procedures and definitions among the principle parties for the project. Since design errors have an impact on the outcome of the effectiveness of the contractor's effort on the project it is essential that all parties determine what the definition of a design error should be. When asked to define design error, not all disciplines in the construction process agree on a common definition. From the basic definition of design and error it can be determined that a design error is a deviation from a drawing or specification. It is the seriousness of this error that must be considered to determine its consequences on the overall outcome of the project
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMDesign errors indicate the total design in-effectiveness of a project. Major design quality problems occur during construction when errors, omissions and ambiguities in plans and specifications become evident (Davis and Ledbetter, 1987). This statement directs that the inadequacies in the plans and specifications are the major causes of changes to the contract. There have been extreme examples of design errors such as numerous building collapse in Nigeria - projects that have wrought disaster after the construction are completed. These are examples of design errors that escaped the close scrutiny of all parties. One or two major errors that can be corrected with only cost considerations and little effect on the schedule can impact projects. The projects that really suffer are those with many small errors (design, rework or change of scope) which when finally added up cause major impacts on the cost and schedule growth. Through Davis and Ledbetters research it was determined that "accuracy of the design documents" was the most critical of the criteria used in the initial evaluation of design effectiveness. This accuracy was further described as the concern for the frequency and impact of errors in the specifications and drawings. This is due to the fact that the drawings and specifications are the most "readily identifiable outputs of the design process." It is evermore important that the quality control of designs be addressed during the planning phase and closely monitored during the construction phase.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDYThe main aim of the study is to investigate how design errors can affect the initial cost of a project. The specific objectives are:
1.5 HYPOTHESIS FORMULATIONHi: There is no significant relationship between design error and initial project cost.Ho: There is significant relationship between design error and initial project cost.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDYThis study gives a clear insight into the various ways in which contractors in the construction companies in Nigeria can maximise profits and reduce initial cost through effective and efficient contract planning and management. The study also gives a clear insight into the various effects of design errors on the cost of a project. The findings and recommendations of the researcher will help in building a strong and better project management guideline for contractors in Nigeria.1.7 SCOPE OF STUDYThis research focuses mainly on the investigation of design errors on initial cost of a project. Results and recommendations may not be used to generalise other construction companies in Nigeria, as the researcher could not cover a wider scope due to financial and time constraints.Based on the findings of this study other possible researchable areas may include studies on the various effects of other aspects of contracts such as contract laws in Nigeria and contract management and control.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDYThe only limitation faced by the researcher in the course of carrying out this study was the delay in getting data from the various respondents. Most respondents were reluctant in filling questionnaires administered to them due to their busy schedules and nature of their work. The researcher found it difficult to collect responses from the various respondents, and this almost hampered the success of this study.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS