Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

James Koch


Front End Specifications represent the administrative, organizational, performance and payment requirements for construction projects. The vast majority of construction contracts use Front End Specifications, either from an independent source or prepared in-house. In spite of the crucial role of Front End Specifications, little is known regarding whether Front End Specifications increase or decrease claims in construction. Further, no published reports to date have investigated whether construction claims are systematically related to Front End Specification complexity, partnering, business size or document authorship. In the present quantitative study, participants: n = 150) from the construction industry, including contractors, subcontractors, designers and owners, completed an on-line survey of sixteen multi-part questions detailing common Front End Specifications and the impact of those specifications on claims. Results indicate that disputes and claims from Front End Specifications impose significant costs on construction projects, with scheduling specifications/requirements, summary: scope) of the work and coordination being the most common causes of claims. Perceptions of claims were not related to business size or document authorship. Partnering participants trended towards perceiving Front End Specifications as decreasing claims. Regulatory Requirements were generally perceived as too complex and participants who perceived Front End Specifications Regulatory Requirements as too complex were significantly more likely to believe that Front End Specifications would cause more claims. Results are discussed in the context of ConsensusDOCS® library of construction forms, practical implications for construction project management, limitations of the present study and areas for future research.


Formerly, Division of Mechanical, Aerospace and Structural Engineering

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