AN INVESTIGATION OF STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF BUILDING PROJECTS

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AN INVESTIGATION OF STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF BUILDING PROJECTS

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

Nigeria has seen a significant rise in infrastructure developments in the recent past, especially in the fields of real estate development with several building project having failed to achieve project success. This is due to increase in risk, complexity and uncertainty. The general purpose of the study was to establish the influence of management strategies on success of building project by construction companies in Kano, Nigeria. The research objectives included; to determine the extent to which top management support influences success of, to establish the extent to which the training of employees influences the success of building project Kano State, Nigeria and to establish the extent to which project risk planning influences the success of building project in Kano State, Nigeria. To achieve the objectives, descriptive survey design was adopted. This research design involves gathering data that describes events and then organizes, tabulates, depicts, and describes the data. The population of the study included the employees of Bamusa construction Ltd. The primary data for this study was collected using both closed and open ended structured questionnaires. The data was summarized, coded and tabulated. Descriptive statistics like means, standard deviation and frequency distribution was used to analyze the data. Data presentation was done by frequency tables for ease of understanding and interpretations. Inferential statistics such as correlation analysis were used to determine the relationship between management strategies and project success in the construction industry. The study established level of top management support including holding of regular meetings, support in risk identification and involvement in solving conflicts and mediating between groups were the greatest roles of the top level management. It also established that 40% of project officials understand the project requirements to a very little extent. Therefore training of the employees is very important for project success. A majority of the employees reported that lack of planning affects project success. The study recommends that a project risk manager should be appointed for the building project and that training programs be put in place for both new and existing employees.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

            Background of the study

 

It is inevitable for unexpected events to occur during a project (Pinto, 2007). Risk often varies in the likelihood of its occurrence and its impacts on the success of one project to another and it also changes its nature during the project life cycle (Smith et al, 2006). Risks in the building project are a combination of activities that affect the project objectives of time, scope, cost and quality leading to the projects being unsuccessful. These risks are related to technical, management, logistical aspects or natural disasters. Some risks in the building project can easily be predicted while others are completely unforeseen. Project risks include changes in design and scope and also changes in the timelines for project completion, (Ewelina et al, 2006),

The construction industry is heterogeneous and enormously complex. There are several major classifications of construction that differ markedly from one another: housing, nonresidential building, heavy, highway, utility, and industrial (Keoki et al, 2008). Construction projects include new construction, renovation, and demolition for both residential and nonresidential projects, as well as public works projects, such as streets, roads, highways, utility plants, bridges, tunnels, and overpasses. The success parameters for any project are in time completion, within specific budget and requisite performance (technical requirement). The main barriers for their achievement are the change in the project environment. The problem multiplies with the size of the project as uncertainties in project outcome increase with size, (Dey, 2011).

Project management is applied in all industries, from IT related projects, pharmaceutical industry, to the construction sector. Each industry has developed their own management strategies, though the foundational ideas of the concept usually

 

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remain the same regardless of the sector. No construction project is risk free and hence risk should be managed, minimized, shared, transferred or accepted but should never be ignored, (Jardine, 2007), in order to realize project success. Many problems encountered in the later phases of the building project lifecycle arise from unmanaged risks at the early stages (Chapman & Ward, 2003).The turmoil of the construction industry emphasizes the importance of effective project management strategies.

Management strategies help the key project participants – client, contractor or developer, consultant, and supplier – to meet their commitments and minimize negative impacts on construction project performance in relation to cost, time and quality objectives. The construction industry operates in a very uncertain environment where conditions can change due to the complexity of each project (Sanvido et al., 1992). The management strategies are beneficial to the project itself and the stakeholders since they provide a clear understanding and awareness of potential risks in the project. They also enable control over the whole project, provide more efficient problem solving processes, and effective use of resources. This is as a result of the analysis of project conditions already in the beginning of the project, (Perry, 1986).

Different countries report different challenges in successful completion of building project. In the case of the UK, the top three causes of failure in the housing building project are commercial risk, contractual risk and operational risk (Amos & Dents, 1997). In China project time overruns are caused by factors are that are related to the contractor, the design team, the project, labour, client, material, equipment, (Zhang et al, 2003). In Vietnam infrastructure development and urbanization is at its highest level. However, cost and time overruns top the list of problems of project implementation in the country. Five major factors were identified

 

as the causes of poor project management. These included poor site management and supervision, poor project management assistance, financial difficulties of owner, financial difficulties of contractor, and design changes, (Le-Hoai et al, 2008).

In developing countries, 80% of the unsuccessful projects fail as a result of poor scope management (Nganga, 2013). In Botswana, most building project encounter cost overruns due to four related factors: variations, re-measurement of provisional works, fluctuation in the cost of labour and materials and contractual claims for extension of time with cost, (Chimwaso, 2000) .Project management in the construction industry in Nigeria is not effectively applied, (Gwaya et al, 2013). Out of one hundred of the public building projects in Nigeria, seventy three experienced time overruns while thirty eight out of one hundred suffered cost overruns, (Mbatha, 1986). The resources in public and private building projects are not properly managed (Talukhaba, 1989). Project risks are also not adequately examined prior to the award of contracts in the projects and therefore, the major causes of cost and time risks in building projects in Nigeria during the construction period is the variations that occurs in 73.50% of the building projects, (Gichunge, 2000).

            Statement of the problem

 

Construction is an important player in the economy of developing countries, (Choge & Muturi, 2014). Construction projects are usually more risky as compared to other projects due to the complexity and uniqueness of the construction process like long period, complicated process, financial intensity and dynamic organization structures (Flanagan & Norman, 1993) and coordinating several activities. Each new project is unique and is often incorporated with new techniques and procedures. Hence management strategies must be integrated as a part of the project management in building project.

 

Construction is an important sector in Nigeria which has seen a significant rise in infrastructure developments in the recent past, specifically in the areas of real estate development, energy and transport infrastructure. (Aleem et al, 2012). This rise has been accelerated by the rising population growth and the governments Vision 2030. Achieving project completion on time, within budget and meeting the specified quality standards are the criteria for project success.

However the building project in Nigeria succumb to risks in cost overruns, delays in completing the projects and building defects, (Choge & Muturi, 2013). The failures are due to ineffective management practices and cost controls, inappropriate building regulations and codes as well as a lack of basic project planning and provisions, (Zwikael & Ahn, 2011). The function of the management strategies is to predict as many of the risks and problems as possible and to plan, organize and control activities so that the project is completed successfully. In order to assure the achievement of the project objectives, effective management strategies should be emphasized in construction project regardless of the project size (Hwang et al, 2013). The current economic downturn and challenges in a highly competitive construction sector require contractors to manage risks by themselves. This study investigated the influence of the support of top management, employee training and project risk planning as some of the management strategies employed in the construction industry.

            Purpose of the study

 

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of management strategies on the success of building project in Kano State, Nigeria.

            Research objective

 

The study was guided by the following research objectives:

 

  • To establish the extent to which the support from top management influences success of building project in Kano State,
  • To establish the extent to which the training of employees influences the success of building project Kano State,
  • To establish the extent to which project risk planning influences the success of building project in Kano State, Nigeria.

            Research questions

 

The study was guided by three questions

 

  • How does commitment and support from top management affect the success of building project in Kano State, Nigeria?
  • How does the training of employees affect the success of building project in Kano State, Nigeria?
  • How does project risk planning affect the success of building project in Kano State, Nigeria?

            Significance of the study

 

Since management is part of every project, the overall objective of this study was to establish the influence that certain management strategies have on the success of building project. This study will be of great value to project managers and other professionals in the construction industry by providing information on the influence management strategies on project success. The findings of this research will inform decision making for the management in future building project. The policy makers in the construction industry will gain from the study since it will highlight the aspects of management strategies which if incorporated in the regulations of building project success can be achieved.

 

            Limitations of the study

 

The researcher encountered some limitations that challenged the access to information sought in the study. The information that was sought after was subject to feelings, believes attitudes and perceptions of the respondents. The respondents were reluctant to volunteer information fearing that the information required would expose their company and hence have a negative impact. The researcher countered this by having an introduction letter from the company and assuring them that confidentially will be observed and the findings will be strictly used for academic purposes. The study was also limited in achieving its objectives by lack of sufficient funds and time to access all the construction companies in Kano State.

            Delimitations of the study

 

The aim of this study was to determine the influence of management strategies on project success in Kano State. The study focused on the case of one Construction Company in Kano State namely, Bamusa Construction Company even though there are several construction companies in Kano State.

            Assumptions of the study

 

The study assumed that the respondents would give objective and honest responses. Another assumption of the study was that the questionnaire would be an adequate instrument in gathering sufficient information on support of top level management, employee training and project risk planning in construction companies.

                Definition of significant terms

 

Project risk: This is an unforeseen event or activity that can impact on the progress or outcome in a negative way.

 

Project Risk Management: This is a process that involves identification of risk, implementing strategies to manage it and mitigation of those risks which can cause project not achieving its set objectives.

Project success: This is the achievement of all the project objectives which include cost effectiveness, quality, scope, timeliness and satisfaction of the users of the product.

Top Management Support: This is the executive management commitment towards project management decisions.

Training of employees: This is enabling the employees working on the project to access and gain competency in the relevant knowledge area.

Project risk planning: This refers to the process that involves setting the roadmap towards all activities necessary to achieve structured and systematic proper risk management

                Organization of the study

 

The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one covered the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research question, significance of the study, limitations of the study, delimitation of the study, definition of significant terms and the organization of the study. Chapter two is the literature review which captures the theoretical background and the management strategies in building project. Chapter three covered the research methodology under the sub- topics; Research design, Target population, Sample and sampling procedures, Research instrument, Validity of the instrument, Reliability of the instruments, data collection and data analysis. Chapter four was a representative of research data presentation, analysis and interpretation. Chapter five focused on the summary of the study findings, discussions, conclusions and recommendations.

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