Oops Simulation: Cost-Benefits Trade-Off Analysis of Reliable Planning for Construction Activities

Kiarash Hajifathalian, Gregory Howell, Brad W. Wambeke, Simon M. Hsiang, Min Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


"The Oops Game" explores the question, how much should be invested in planning? The simulation offers the opportunity to reduce the risk of an Oops by collecting more information or to go ahead and make the choice with the information at hand. There are two extreme strategies. Nothing is invested in planning in the so-called Guts-ball approach, but this increases the likelihood that an Oops will occur and thus increases the cost to complete the project. The second strategy is to invest in planning before attempting to build. This will increase the cost of planning upfront, but may reduce the risk and cost of an Oops in building. In reality, the cost and value of planning depends on the complexity level of the project, the amount of uncertainty that we need to deal with it, and the cost of an Oops We used computer simulation to show how the value of planning is sensitive to those factors. The results showed that the project with the reliable planning strategy had a 35% higher productivity and a cost-benefit ratio of 13-1. The contribution to the body of knowledge of The Oops Game lies in providing a simple and effective means to show the value of planning to construction practitioners and students. The findings from this research fill in the gap of knowledge in quantifying the value of plan under different circumstance for construction projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4016030
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer aided simulation
  • Cost of project
  • Labor and personnel issues
  • Performance reliability
  • Planning
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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