Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays

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Transcript of Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays

Quest Journals
Journal of Architecture and Civil Engineering Volume 6 ~ Issue 3 (2021) pp: 01-19
Research Paper
1,2,3 Department of Civil Engineering, Cross River University of Technology, P. M. B. 1123, Calabar, Nigeria
ABSTRACT The efficient management and delivery of construction projects in a constantly changing and fast developing
construction industry have become the prime focus of most construction companies, estate developers and project
managers globally. The factors that impede the successful and timely delivery of infrastructure projects differ
from country to country, therefore this research investigates the causes of delays in delivering construction
projects in a rapidly developing third world countries, like Nigeria. The objective of this paper is to identify the
causes of delays, severity, appraise the effect in the Nigerian construction industry and evaluate their relevance
to timely construction project delivery. A Bristol Online Survey (BOS) tool was used to collect the data sample of construction practitioners which includes 7 construction practitioner namely: Nigeria Institute of Civil Engineers
(NICE),Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Council for Regulation of Engineering in
Nigeria(COREN),Nigerian Association of Project Management(NAPM), Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA),
Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) . A comprehensive
literature review identified Eighteen (18) causes of construction project delays, five (5) consequences and Seven
(7) mitigating factors. The projected survey aimed at 350 professionals but only 144 responded within the given
timeframe. SPSS was used to analyze the data with Relative Importance Index (RII) used to rank the variables.
The Results showed that poor project planning was the leading cause of delays, followed by cash-related causes
such as diversion of funds, corruption and misappropriation of funds, whereas, time and budget overruns were
established as core issues resulting from project delays. The research also revealed that lack of design
knowledge and stakeholder’s interference are the most crucial cause of delay. The findings of this study
can be used to serve as a benchmark, it implementation into Civil engineering construction will help engineers adequately handle various project management methodologies in the delivery of construction projects
and its recommendations for timely delivery of construction projects in Nigeria. Additionally, these
findings seek to bridge the knowledge gap on the relevance in implementation of project management
methodologies and delivery systems with a focus on Nigeria.
KEYWORDS: Stakeholder Interference, Construction Industry, Construction Project Management,
Construction Delays, Nigeria, Niger-Delta region.
Received 16 Feb, 2021; Revised: 28 Feb, 2021; Accepted 02 Mar, 2021 © The author(s) 2021. Published with open access at
I. INTRODUCTION The dilemma of construction projects delays in Nigeria deserves a holistic overview. Several projects
have encountered prolonged and unnecessary delays which often exceed the set scheduled time and cost of
completion dues to risk (Ramanathan et al. 2012). Risk is generally known to be an integral part of cosntrcution
projects. Practical experience has revealed that risk can be managed, minimized, shared, transferred or accepted,
but cannot be ignored. (Fan and Stevenson 2018.). delay is a prevalent risk in project construction and most time
a severe one. Delay is frequently the outcome of an event which must be managed by a suitable method in order
to lessen its effect. Efficient management of delay during project construction certify that the cause of delay is
known and documented at the initiation of the project. Delay is detrimental for the client and engineer. For the
client, delay results to loss of expected incomes from the use of the project milestones, and an increased
overhead expense connected to project management and project supervision. For the contractor, delay results
similarly to increased costs due to prolonged work schedules, inflation on materials, labour and overheads
expenses. Delays is experienced in project construction due to several factors and variables ensuing from many causes. These causes include the stakeholder interference and management, dissemination of information and
the project environment Ninan, Mahalingam and Clegg, 2019). Even though the construction industry has been
Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays and Consequences
*Corresponding autor : Ofem Patrick E 2 | Page
confronted with persistent problem of project delays and cost increase. Such development has unfavorably
affected infrastructure provision in Sub-Saharan African countries with a specific indication to Nigeria
(Omoregie and Radford 2006). The relatively large funds committed to construction makes the industry a principal source of demand generation. The effect of rendering employment, income and expenditure in other
sectors of the economy adds peculiarly to the general economy (Mansfield et al. 1994). Construction often
delays accountability for turning profitable projects into losing endeavors (Sweis et al. 2008). This has given
rise to new project initiation such as dams, building of houses, highways, irrigation and public utility centers.
Unfortunately, one of the crucial setbacks encountered in these projects is the recurrent, extensive and
abandonment for which will not help the construction industry of Nigeria to achieve its social economic and
infrastructural development of which he pledged.
Furthermore, several research has been carried out on constriction delays in developing countries like
Ghana, Malaysia, South Africa, such as the works of Zidane and Anderson (2018); Hussain et al. (2018), and
Panova and Hilletofth (2018) but the studies failed to compare the reasons in various project types namely:
infrastructure or mega project. It also did not consider the interdependencies between the several project factors to gain more profound insights on the design change dynamic in construction. According to Fan and Stevenson
(2018), the literatures used to draw a conclusion on delays was subjective instead of objective this could have
validated the data and results used in construction project implementation and adoption. This studies also failed
to identify the essence of benchmarking, simulation of construction delays to a real-life project and integrating
stakeholders from the inception of the project to the closing stage. This study will focus on proposing strategies
for timely construction project delivery in Nigeria, will enhance the delivery of future construction projects in
Nigeria this will bridge the knowledge gap on the relevance in implementation of project management
methodologies and delivery systems with a focus on Nigeria Additionally, as a civil engineer, I strongly believe
that the knowledge detailed in this work will enable fellow engineers to adequately adopt various project
management methodologies in the delivery of construction projects and its professional practice in Nigeria.
Benchmarking is also another important aspect this research proposed as precedence for construction companies
who see these tools as not applicable to their organization, most times due to the size of their project. When adopted in delivery projects the percentage of the project performance will increase reasonably. However, using
this will help those who may read this paper will be able to apply its practical enumerated recommendations
from diverse cosntrcution practitioners in their respective construction projects for an effective benchmarking
and projects outcome, especially when dealing with project delivery. It is vital to comprehend the fundamental sources of such delays to aid formulate suitable response strategy. The
core objective of this research is:
To Critically review literature on the causes of delays in timely delivery of construction project in
To evaluate the severity of delays of construction projects as a result of construction delivery risks;
To Appraise the effects of delays on various construction projects in Nigeria
To Provide recommendation for improving timely construction projects delivery in Nigeria
II. LITERATURE REVIEW According to Ahmed et al (2002), Trauner (2009), and Ochoa (2013) categorize delays as excusable (i.e.
compensable and non-compensable), non-excusable and concurrent delays. For a nation to accomplish its social
and economic sustainable developmental objectives, it needs to construct infrastructural, industrial, educational,
medical and residential projects that meet society’s needs and requirements (Othman, 2012; Khan, 2008). The
construction industry is not only there to give infrastructure and solutions to problems of shelter, but likewise as
a potentially leading sector in the change process which stimulates the economy and alleviates unemployment.
To be precise, construction is both contributory and responsive to development pressures, and government policy should be framed in line with it (Field and Ofori 1988). Sadly, many projects are faced with extensive
delays and exceeding the initially scheduled completion times, resulting in cost overrun and extensions of time
(Ramanathan et al. 2012). It is pertinent to identify the reasons for delays which are colossal in nature because
of stakeholder interference, engineering problems, human development issues, managerial problems and
sustainability challenges.
In South Africa, Mthalene et al., (2008) identified the causes of delays to be the frequent occurrence of
site accidents, which are also like the ones that occur in Nigeria’s construction industry due to lack of
implementation of health and safety regulations. Furthermore, the causes of site accidents have had economic
impacts and delays on construction companies, which are a loss of productivity, disruption of current work,
damages to plants, equipment, completed work, costs of workman’s compensation insurance and downtimes in
operations while accident causes are determined. Evaluation of past construction projects implemented in the Niger Delta region shows that externally
related origins typically influence the causes of delays as a result of stakeholder’s interference, communal
Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays and Consequences
*Corresponding autor : Ofem Patrick E 3 | Page
clashes, poor weather, topography issue, lack of infrastructure, lack of project delivery systems, continuity
problems, new selection of contractors and consultants (Jia et al. 2011). Furthermore poor material selection,
financial and delay in payments, bureaucracy, lack of skilled manpower, sustainability challenges, lack of proper project management planning techniques, poor material selection, site-related factors, scheduling and
control related cause, unwillingness to compensate communities and indigenes of lands demolished along
proposed construction area have also been known to cause delays in construction projects namely, leading
to time and cost overrun (Sunkja and Jacob, 2013; Othman 2012, Khan 2008, Mthalene et al. 2007, Field and
Ofori 1988; Hussin and Omran, 2011).
Zuofa and Ochieng (2014) added that qualitative research was a most favorable approach for
identifying project failures in the Nigerian construction industry. However, Nigeria has numerous construction
industry players within the varied regions where construction activities occur, thus, accepting the information
from a focus group might not be a true representation of the entire construction sector. Thus, the factors identified
by Zuofa and Ochieng (2014) agree with Odeh and Battaineh (2002), thus making it a genuine point of
comparison and adoption. Furthermore, the present condition and performance of the Nigerian construction industry may not be commendable. Still, it needs to be stress that this is not an exceptional case.
Ofori (1993) revealed that the underlying challenges of the construction sector in other developing
nations are more fundamental, severe, complicated, and much more critical than those been faced by developed
countries. The study also recognized common issues affecting the construction sector in many developing
nations, which are the lack of management skills, shortage of skilled labour, low productivity, unavailability of
supplies, bad quality of supplies and lack of equipment. In addition to the problems listed above, Kasimu et al.
(2013) indicated that lack of Knowledge Management in construction setting has cause project delays. Although,
Knowledge Management (KM) activities are still in the developmental phase in the Nigerian construction sector.
Nevertheless, KM is vital for enhanced construction project delivery and facilitate delays, since lessons learned
from one project can be transferred onto future projects, leading to continuous improvement (Carrillo et al.,
The problem of delays in the construction industry does not only occur in developing countries but is a global phenomenon (Sambasivan and Soon, 2007; Majid, 2006). In Nigerian construction industry, Arjanlekoko
(1987) noted that the performance of the construction sector as regards to time was poor. On the other hand,
Odeyinka and Yusif (1997) discovered that seven out of ten projects surveyed in Nigeria encountered delays in
their execution. In broader reference to the Saudi Arabia construction industry, Assaf and Al-Hejji (2006) found
that only 30% of construction projects were completed and delivered within the scheduled completion dates and
that the average time overrun was between 10% and 30%. Hence, from the foregoing, it can be argued that
delays in construction projects is one of the reoccurring problem stalling the development of construction sector
globally (Faridi and El-Sayegh 2006). Also, it is now a universal problem (Enshassi et al. 2009; Majid, 2006)
having a pivotal role to play in the socio- economic activities of any country. The causes of delays were also
identified by the researcher as owner base, client base, economic base, engineers based and stakeholder’s
interference and management based. Additionally, despite the significance growth experience in the construction industry, stakeholders’
interference has become one of the contributing factors which influences the way contractors, sponsors, and
consultants embarked on project execution without adherence to engineering laid down principles. According to
Gambo, Said and Ismali (2016), the appropriate implementation and project management tools and technique
could produce good result leading to reduced delays caused due to stakeholders’ interference and other related
factors which differs from various management expectations among stakeholders. To measure the gravity of
stakeholder’s interference, results from past researchers has analyzed issues related to consultant, clients and
contractor’s role played which culminated in delays in the construction sectors as paramount reason for delays.
In other words, political entities have greater influence in these projects since some of them are a loyalist to the
men in authority, this has over time affected construction project delivery (Verdon 2014 et al.). However,
transition in government leadership and policies has resulted to variation (Sunkja and Jacob 2013). Furthermore,
Sunjka and Jacob (2013), study in the Niger Delta of Nigeria identified several causes and effects of project delays. It is important to state that some of the problems being faced in the Niger Delta region would not be the
same with the ones encountered in the northern, Southern and Western part of Nigeria.
Though, some causes and effects of construction project delays could be unique to a country.
According to Sambasivan and Soon (2007), main causes of delays were identified and categorised as client-
related, contractor-related, consultant-related, material-related, labor-related, contractor-related, contract
relationship-related and external factors. Likewise, major effects of delay have been identified as: cost overrun,
dispute, arbitration, litigation, time overrun, and total abandonment (Sambasivan and Soon 2007).
However, according to Mahdavinejad, Hussin and Omran (2011), opined that failure to complete a
project either by the original planned time or budget, or both, ultimately result in project delays. Furthermore,
Lo, Fung and Tung (2006), construction delays lessen the speed of work without completely halting construction
Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays and Consequences
*Corresponding autor : Ofem Patrick E 4 | Page
activities, which may result to time overrun exceeding scheduled period for project completion or exceeding the
projected project delivery date agreed by the parties involved.
It is observed by Odeyinka and Yusuf (1997), that a ratio of 7 out of every 10 projects executed in Nigeria are faced with delays or complete neglect. Hence, the results of this delays are: dispute, arbitration,
litigation, cost overrun and total abandonment. This often result to stress on stakeholders’ vision for the project,
therefore, they employ strategies for minimizing the effects of delays by considering a contingency plan or
extending the project duration (Aibinu and Jagboro 2002; Shubham 2013; Salunkhe and Patil (2014). Moreover,
according to Mohammed and Isah (2012) studies on delays of construction project, the study shows that delays
are always dependent on the early phase of the construction project (i.e. initiation stage). However, this might be
a regular occurrence, since even after initiation stage there may be risk that may flag up which will need to be
addressed appropriately.
Gambo et al. (2016), opined that appropriate implementation and project management tools and
techniques could produce good results leading to reduced delays caused due to stakeholder interference and other
related factors which differ from various management expectations among stakeholders. To measure the gravity of stakeholder interference, results from past researchers have analyzed issues related to consultants’, clients’
and contractors’ roles played which culminated in delays in the construction sector as paramount reason for
delays. In other words, political entities have greater influence in these projects since some of them are loyalists
to the men in authority, this has over time affected construction project delivery (Verdon et al. 2014).
However, transition in government leadership and policies has also resulted in variations and project
delays (Sunkja and Jacob 2013). The study of Sunjka and Jacob (2013) in the Southern part of Nigeria identified
several causes and effects of project delays. The study’s results revealed 10 main causes of delay such as; youth conflict, communal clashes, contractor inadequate planning, neglect or refusal of payment for compensation of affected persons, wrong selection of contractors and consultants by owner, poor weather issues, poor contract management by the consultants, delays in producing drawings, correction of issues, specification errors, omissions by the consultant, lack community engagement, poor coordination of subcontractors by the contractor. Furthermore, according to Sunjka (2013) classification of the causes for delays which are: Clients’ related issues, Contractor-related issues, Labour and equipment related issues, material-related issues, Consultant-related issues, community related issues, Contractual relationship related issues, External issues. Thus, to an extent, the factors identified in this study
are only peculiar to Nigeria. According to Sambasivan and Soon (2007), major causes of delay were identified
and categorized as client- related, contractor-related, consultant-related, material-related, labour-related, contract relationship-related and external factors. Likewise, major effects of delays were identified as cost overruns,
disputes, arbitration, litigation, time overruns, and total abandonment (Sambasivan and Soon, 2007). On the
other hand, Locatelli and Giorgio (2017), observed in Italy, that crime is most likely to be experienced in large
construction projects, which result in delays of construction project delivery. Hence, the result would be increase
in corruption for both quality, cost, time performance and the benefits delivered. Furthermore, Kaliba and
Chabota (2009), studies in Zambia discovered the prevalence of cost escalation, inclement weather due to
torrential rains and floods, scope changes, strikes, inflation as primary causes of delays in road construction
project which affects timely project delivery.
2019) Time overruns: All construction projects have stipulated completion time. Hence, when the completion
time is extended then the project is said to have faced time overrun. Sadly, it is rare to see projects that are finish
promptly, this is a result of time extension accompanied by several factors. Budget Overrun: Every project has a
specified budget (cost). There is exceptional situation that could warrant projects going beyond their stipulated
budget. Thus, when project is finish at a sum higher than the actual project cost, then it is believed to have
experienced budget overrun. Quality of completed work: Sub-standard or low-quality materials and low-grade
workmanship, can result to problems of project poor quality which often emanate from dishonest contractor who
uses cheap construction materials for project execution. Structural failures: Structural failures could occur due
to the use of sub-standard materials and not adhering to structural design drawings and incompetent engineers
handling the construction project. Inability to interpret structural drawings can causes failures giving rise to
delays and rework, which could affect time, cost of the project work. Total Abandonment: If problems such as failure to purchase construction materials or payment of workers’ wages, arise which are not address promptly,
it could lead to abandonment of project which will result in project delays. Bad Public Relations: When project
is delayed the contractors, consultants and client’s reputation may be affected. Thus, they may not be able to be
awarded contract again in the future, since client will view them as not been reliable.
Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays and Consequences
*Corresponding autor : Ofem Patrick E 5 | Page