Project risk management: a combined analytic hierarchy process and decision tree approach

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Time, cost and quality achievements on large-scale construction projects are uncertain because of technological constraints, involvement of many stakeholders, long durations, large capital requirements and improper scope definitions. Projects that are exposed to such an uncertain environment can effectively be managed with the application of risk management throughout the project life cycle. Risk is by nature subjective. However, managing risk subjectively poses the danger of non-achievement of project goals. Moreover, risk analysis of the overall project also poses the danger of developing inappropriate responses. This article demonstrates a quantitative approach to construction risk management through an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and decision tree analysis. The entire project is classified to form a few work packages. With the involvement of project stakeholders, risky work packages are identified. As all the risk factors are identified, their effects are quantified by determining probability (using AHP) and severity (guess estimate). Various alternative responses are generated, listing the cost implications of mitigating the quantified risks. The expected monetary values are derived for each alternative in a decision tree framework and subsequent probability analysis helps to make the right decision in managing risks. In this article, the entire methodology is explained by using a case application of a cross-country petroleum pipeline project in India. The case study demonstrates the project management effectiveness of using AHP and DTA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalCost Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • time
  • cost
  • quality
  • large-scale construction projects
  • technological constraints
  • stakeholders
  • long durations
  • large capital requirements
  • improper scope definitions
  • risk management
  • managing risk
  • analytic hierarchy process
  • AHP
  • decision tree analysis
  • work packages
  • project stakeholders
  • risky work packages
  • risk factors
  • probability
  • severity
  • cross-country petroleum pipeline project
  • India


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