Department of Engineering / Profiles / Dr Judith Plummer

Department of Engineering

Dr Judith Plummer


Judith Plummer

Affiliated Lecturer

Academic Division: Civil Engineering



Research interests

Judith Plummer’s on-going research with Professor Peter Guthrie, considers the effects of pre-construction delay in large hydropower projects in developing countries, commencing from an analysis of the stakeholders for such a project and how they are affected by delay.  Pre-construction delay could adversely affect the government, the local people affected by the project, the environment and the project beneficiaries (e.g. consumers of power or water or those benefiting from flood protection).  The project developer is adversely affected by pre-construction delay, but generally not to the same extent as by construction delay.  Thus the developer focuses on minimising construction cost and time overruns and appears less concerned with pre-construction delay as the responsibility and accountability is less clear in the pre-construction phase.  For a wide range of political economy reasons, governments are found rarely to use their influence to minimise delay. 

The research continued by setting out a typology of the effects of delay and analysing whether this was typical in a wider range of cases by carrying out a survey of hydropower projects.  Data showed that the construction costs increased during pre-construction delay by more than would be expected given the prevailing rate of inflation.  This increase in cost during a delay can cause difficulties in financing the project, which in turn leads to further delays.  The data collected also showed that the effects of delay owe little in their nature to the cause of that delay. 

Other positions

  • Senior Financial Analyst, The World Bank
  • Director, Coopers and Lybrand