CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractPipe material and labor costs constitute about 70% of pipeline construction costs. Pipe and labor costs are subject to considerable fluctuations over time. These fluctuations are problematic for cost estimation and bid preparation in pipeline projects, which are mostly large and long-term projects. The accurate prediction of pipe and labor costs is invaluable for cost estimators to prepare accurate bids and manage the cost contingencies. However, the existing literature does not take advantage of the leading indicators of pipeline construction cost time series to accurately forecast cost fluctuations in pipeline projects. The objective of this research is to identify the leading indicators of pipeline construction costs and develop multivariate time series models for forecasting cost fluctuations in pipeline projects. Nineteen potential leading indicators of pipe and labor costs were initially selected based on a comprehensive review of construction cost forecasting literature. The leading indicators were identified from this pool of potential leading indicators based on unit root tests and Granger causality tests. Multivariate time series models were developed based on the results of cointegration tests. Vector error correction (VEC) models were developed for the cointegrated variables, while vector autoregressive (VAR) models were developed for the non-cointegrated variables. Since multivariate time series models include information from the identified leading indicators, multivariate time series models are often expected to deliver more accurate forecasts than univariate time series models. The forecasting accuracies of multivariate time series models were compared with those of univariate time series models based on three common error measures: mean absolute prediction error (MAPE), root-mean-squared error (RMSE), and mean average error (MAE). The results show that multivariate time series models outperform univariate models for forecasting cost fluctuations in pipeline projects. The findings of this research contribute to the state of knowledge by identifying leading indicators of pipe and labor costs and developing multivariate time series models to forecast them. The multivariate time series models with leading indicators are more accurate than univariate models for forecasting cost fluctuations in pipeline projects. It is expected that the proposed multivariate time series forecasting models contribute to the enhancement of the theory and practice of pipeline construction cost forecasting and help cost engineers and investment planners to prepare more accurate bids, cost estimates, and budgets for pipeline projects.



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