Horizontal stacked bar chart showing large over-budget construction projects with data columns for percentage over budget and years late.

Over-Budget Construction Projects

Olympics account for 3 of the top 6 over-budget projects. The Channel Tunnel, China’s Three Gorges Dam and Boston’s Big Dig round out the top 6.  The data provided by Podio are summarized in this horizontal stacked bar chart.

The Sochi Olympics had a total cost of $51B and ran 325% over-budget.  This was the most expensive over-budget construction project identified by Podio.  Other sporting venues made the list of large over-budget projects.  They were the London and Athens Olympics, Brazil's World Cup Stadiums, Montreal's Olympic Stadium and London's Wembley Stadium.

Many of the other over-budget projects were transportation-related.  These included tunnels and bridges, roads, rail lines airports and trams.  A few iconic buildings rounded out the list, including the Empire State and the Sydney Opera House.

Over-Budget Construction Project Horizontal Stacked Bar Chart with Data Columns

Horizontal stacked bar chart showing large over-budget construction projects with data columns for percentage over budget and years late.

How I Created This Horizontal Stacked Bar Chart

Podio put together a list of 24 over-budget projects.  They included data on original budget, final cost, year of scheduled and actual completion.  I first eliminated the projects that they included that I felt were not construction projects (e.g., International Space Station and Healthcare.gov).  I decided to show the rest in a horizontal stacked bar chart with two added data columns.  The horizontal orientation allowed me to include 21 projects and show all their full names horizontally for easy reading.  The key data was the project total cost, which I showed in the bars, split into original budget and over-budget amount.  The supporting data of percentage over-budget and years late rounded out the key elements of these projects' stories.

Here are the steps to make this chart:

  • create an Excel spreadsheet with rows for each project and columns for the key data to be entered from Podio site
  • use Excel formulas for needed calculations (e.g., % over budget)
  • build a horizontal stacked bar chart in PowerPoint from the Excel data
  • display % over budget and years late as data columns in the chart
  • add a legend for the bar segments and place it at bottom of chart
  • color the series to contrast the original budget and over-budget amounts
  • remove segment borders
  • adjust internal chart margins and font sizes to increase readability

Take This Chart and Make it Your Own

Download this horizontal stacked bar chart and edit it using Mekko Graphics. See more bar charts in our chart gallery. Here are some other charts that may be of interest to you: