Claims are considered to be one of the most serious disruptive forces to successful project delivery in the construction industry. In a small developing economy like Botswana, it is germane to identify the sources and the frequency of occurrence of claims so that the burden of project cost overrun, a hallmark of the country’s construction industry is substantially reduced. Detailed literature review and preliminary field investigations were used to identify causes of claims related to road construction projects. The study identified six major types of claim and twenty seven causes of claims. Using questionnaire as research instrument, respondents (construction industry major stakeholders i.e. clients, consultants and contractors) were asked to rank the frequency of occurrence of the types and causes of claims in road construction projects on a Likert-type scale. Relative importance index (RII) method was used to analyze the data collected from the questionnaire survey. The analysis was carried out for each group of respondents and on the overall results (all the parties combined). A total of 27 useful responses made up of nine clients, ten consultants and eight contractors) were analyzed. Findings indicated that the clients and consultants specified delay claims followed by extra work claims were the most frequent type of claims in the construction of roads in Botswana. Contractors perceived differing site conditions followed by delay claims as the most frequent type of claims. From the overall response, delay claims were ranked first followed by extra work claims. Acceleration claims were ranked least. The top five most frequent causes of claims based on overall ranking were: variation in quantities, design errors, poor site management and supervision by contractor, ineffective planning and scheduling of project by contractor, and low price of contract due to high competition. Construction industry research in Botswana has never looked into the issue of claims and yet it is one of the hidden sources of construction project failure in the country. It is perceived that hedging against the most adverse causes of claims will stem the tide of incessant cost overrun, litigation and project abandonment on road projects in Botswana.
Keywords: Claims, road, construction projects, Botswana.