Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cost overrun

Cost overrun is defined as excess of actual cost over budget. Cost overrun is also sometimes called "cost escalation," "cost increase," or "budget overrun." However, cost escalation and increases do not necessarily result in cost overruns if cost escalation is included in the budget.

Cost overrun is common in infrastructure, building, and technology projects. One of the most comprehensive studies of cost overrun that exists found that 9 out of 10 projects had overrun, overruns of 50 to 100 percent were common, overrun was found in each of 20 nations and five continents covered by the study, and overrun had been constant for the 70 years for which data were available. For IT projects, an industry study by the Standish Group (2004) found that average cost overrun was 43 percent, 71 percent of projects were over budget, over time, and under scope, and total waste was estimated at US$55 billion per year in the US alone.