Knowledge management (KM) implementation strategies on construction projects can reap benefits such as improved performance and continuous improvement yet many projects are characterised by inefficiencies, repetition of mistakes and lack of lessons learnt. Poor skills, design changes, errors and omissions contribute to the internal failure cost element of the Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) while the resultant effect of client dissatisfaction contributes to the external failure cost. COPQ is prevalent regardless of project type and has been found to be over 10% of total project cost in certain cases. While the need to reduce COPQ is definite, it is uncertain what impact KM has in its reduction. The aims of the research therefore are twofold (i) to investigate the impact of KM in reducing COPQ on construction projects (ii) to develop a KM framework for reducing COPQ on construction projects. A mixed method approach was adopted for the research with an exploratory sequential research design utilising both qualitative and quantitative inquiries to address the research aims. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaire survey were selected as the method for qualitative and quantitative data collection respectively. The interviews were conducted with 25 industry experts involved in KM strategies for large construction organisations across UK to obtain data, based on their experiences and expertise on projects, which were then analysed using content analysis. The output from the analysis yielded variables and working hypotheses which were tested through the questionnaire survey. Further data were obtained from 114 survey respondents who have iii been mostly involved in KM initiatives for large construction organisations across UK. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics. From the interpretation of the entire qualitative and quantitative data, it was found that KM can be complex and difficult to manage within organisations and on projects. Although KM was perceived to have positive impact in reducing COPQ, organisations did not, and could not quantify COPQ neither could they measure the extent of the impact of KM on COPQ. Causal links were found between COPQ elements i.e. errors and omissions, design changes and poor skills, contrary to the theoretical suggestion of being mutually exclusive. It was found that KM currently has not been optimised to reduce COPQ due to a number of barriers. Optimising KM to reduce COPQ therefore involves overcoming the barriers as follows: develop performance metrics to assess the impact of KM on COPQ on projects; appoint knowledge champions to facilitate KM activities to reduce COPQ; adopt a positive organisational culture towards KM; allocate adequate time and budget for KM activities on projects; select procurement strategies that support and facilitate KM. A KM framework for reducing COPQ on construction projects was developed as an output of the research and evaluated by industry practitioners. It can be concluded that the optimisation of KM can significantly reduce COPQ. A key recommendation for industry practitioners therefore is to adopt a holistic approach to quantifying COPQ and assessing the impact of KM in reducing COPQ such as the one presented in this research. The research contributes to the body of knowledge in the area of cost reduction, quality improvements and knowledge management on projects.
Adiaba, Stanislaus Yaw (University of Wolverhampton, 2014-07)
Land information management in Ghana, as in many developing countries, remains a practice monopolised by public sector land administration agencies, which are known for being inefficient in delivering services that satisfy the needs of citizens. Under this monopolised regime, landed property related data gathering, processing through land registration, storage and dissemination of the information as final product for public use is entirely based on expert knowledge. Meanwhile, reliance on this kind of knowledge for land information management has continuously failed to promote smooth flow and a broad based access to reliable information for decision making by citizens. This failure has created a huge land information gap between market participants’ especially genuine and fraudulent landed property owners on one hand and potential buyers, lenders, and investors on the other hand. Thus, there is information asymmetry, which this study identifies as a major contributory factor to the challenges of uncertainties and high transaction costs that characterise dealings in urban real estate markets in Ghana. In order to verify how the information gap can be closed, this research adopts quantitative research methodology. The research mainly explores multinomial logistic regression model to test Economic Theory of Knowledge propounded by Hayek (1945) using Ghana as the context of study. Primary data was collected from potential land information suppliers within the private sector and existing users of land information as likely beneficiaries of an efficient land information management regime. Interrater agreement index and Pearson’s bivariate correlation analysis were used to analyse primary data gathered from users of land information in relation to land information needs and competition in land information harnessing. Following verification of the relationship between competition and economic knowledge, the key research finding is that there are two kinds of land information management knowledge and these are expert and entrepreneurial land information management knowledge. Thus, the research presents empirical evidence that out of four types of entrepreneurial knowledge verified, two types namely adaptive and cost-efficient knowledge are most likely to influence competition in land information supply. Also, competition is likely to deliver land information services that satisfy the needs of users of land information. Altogether, the research findings converge with the theory verified. The research outcome suggests that deregulation of state monopoly of land information harnessing for competition among private economic actors in Ghana is due. Removing this barrier is likely to promote dynamic competition in which licensed land information suppliers can use adaptive and cost efficient knowledge in gathering and disseminating land information at competitive prices. The study also provides evidence that all-in-one land information, which is broadly accessible at competitive prices is likely to be required to help address the problem of information asymmetry in the context of Ghana. For purposes of practice in the context of urban real estate markets in Ghana, a framework based on the research findings is developed and validated. The framework is proposed to inform policy decision on deregulation for competition in land information harnessing to enable the real estate sector function well. To kick start the process, deregulation in land data gathering and dissemination of land information is suggested.
Manu, Patrick Ackom (University of Wolverhampton, 2012-10-29)
The United Kingdom (UK) construction industry is one of the worst industries in the UK in terms of health and safety (H&S) performance. Numerous injuries, deaths, dangerous occurrences and work related illnesses are reported annually in the industry, and these are associated with huge economic and social costs which make the need for H&S improvement inevitable. The pursuit of improvement has triggered studies into construction accident causation which have emphasised the need to pay attention to underlying accident causal factors which emanate from the pre-construction stage in order to have sustained improvement in H&S. Construction project features (CPFs), such as nature of project, method of construction, site restriction, procurement method, project duration, level of construction, design complexity, and subcontracting, which are organisational, physical, and operational characteristics of projects emanating from pre-construction decisions fall in this category of underlying causal factors. However, despite the significance of underlying causal factors to H&S, not much attention by way of research has been given to CPFs. As a result, insight into how CPFs influence accident occurrence, the degree of their inherent potential to influence accident occurrence (i.e. their potential to cause accident) and their associated degree of H&S risk (i.e. the likelihood of accident occurrence due to CPFs) remain elusive in the extant construction H&S literature. This research was thus undertaken to empirically investigate the mechanism by which CPFs influence accident occurrence and assess their degree of potential to influence accident occurrence and their associated H&S risk. Adopting a mixed method approach, the accident causal influence of CPFs was investigated. Following a conceptualisation of how CPFs influence accident occurrence based on systems models of accident causation, a qualitative inquiry involving semi-structured interviews with experienced construction professionals was undertaken to provide empirical verification of the conceptualised view. Subsequent to the qualitative inquiry, a questionnaire survey was undertaken to elicit relevant data from experienced professionals in construction management roles to enable the assessment of the degree of potential of CPFs to influence accident occurrence and their associated H&S risk. From the analysis of data, it was found that CPFs, emanating from pre-construction decisions, influence accident occurrence by their inherent introduction of certain associated H&S issues (which can be termed as proximal accident factors) into the construction phase of projects to give rise to accidents. There are also causal interactions between CPFs and the proximal factors which can reduce or increase the presence of proximal factors. CPFs have varying degrees of potential to influence accident occurrence which can generally be high or moderate and is influenced by: the extent to which their proximal factor(s) is common (in other words prevalent) within them; and the degree of potential of the proximal factor(s) to influence accident occurrence. Where CPFs apply on a project, they are generally associated with medium risk or high risk. Whereas with medium-risk CPFs some risk control measures would suffice in mitigating risk, with high-risk CPFs substantial measures are required. As a consolidation of the research findings, a toolkit, called CRiMT, has been developed. CRiMT provides H&S risk information regarding CPFs and it has the potential of assisting pre-construction project participants in managing the accident causal influence of CPFs from the early stage of project procurement. In view of the findings, the accident causal influence of CPFs should thus not be ignored or underestimated in construction project delivery. Pre-construction project participants, especially those whose decisions determine CPFs, ought to take into consideration the H&S effects of CPFs when making decisions which determine CPFs. Also, pre-construction project participants ought to plan and implement commensurate risk control measures in the early stage of projects to eliminate or mitigate the H&S risk posed by CPFs.
Project risk assessment is an effective tool for planning and controlling cost, time and achieving the technical performance of a building construction project. Construction projects often face a lot of uncertainties, which places building construction projects at the risk of cost, time overruns as well as poor quality delivery. Considering the limited resources of developing countries, there is need to complete building projects on-time, on-budget, and to meet optimal quality hence, risk management is an important part of the decision making process in construction industry as it determines the success or failure of construction projects. In line with this need, this research aims to establish a system to improve the time, cost and quality performance of building construction projects in developing countries, through a comprehensive risk management model that ensures the expectations of clients are met.
To achieve the aim of this research, a mixed methodological approach was adopted. Through the review of literature, a conceptual risk management framework suitable to elaborate risk assessment of building construction projects especially for developing countries was developed. A questionnaire survey using a nonprobability sampling technique was conducted to elicit information from construction professionals in Nigeria to assess their perception of 79 risk factors identified from literature review based on the likelihood of occurrence and impact on projects using a five point scale. Responses from 343 construction professionals were drawn from 305 contractors and subcontractors and 38 clients (private and public) within the Nigerian construction sector. Response data was subjected to descriptive statistics to depict the frequency distribution and central tendency of responses. Subsequently, the risk acceptability matrix (RAM) was adopted to categorise and prioritise risk factors. 27 critical risks that affect building construction projects were identified. A Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) model was developed by structural learning and used to examine the cause and effect relationship amongst the 27 critical risk factors. The developed BBN model was subjected to validation using a multiple case study of two building construction projects in Nigeria. The result showed the interrelation between the 27 risk factors and how they contributed to cost and time overruns as well as quality problems. The critical risks directly affecting the cost of building construction project were: fluctuation of material prices; health and safety issues; bribery and corruption; material wastage; poor site management and supervision; and time overruns. The critical factors identified to directly affect quality were: supply of defective materials; working under harsh conditions; improper construction methods; lack of protective equipment; ineffective time allocation; poor communication between involved stakeholders; and unsuitable leadership style. Time overruns on building construction projects was directly caused by: quality problems; low productivity; improper construction methods; poor communication between involved parties; delayed payments in contracts; and poor site management and supervision.
As a consolidation of the findings of this research, a BBN model for identifying risk factors that directly affect time, cost and quality on building construction projects has been developed which has the potential for assisting construction stake holders to manage risks on their projects. In view of the findings, a best practice system for risk management in building construction projects in Nigeria has been developed with an implementation guide to help building construction practitioners to successfully implement risk management on their building construction projects. Suitable risk responses, also in the form of recommendations have been identified. The strategies include actions to be taken to respond to risks based on their perceived significance or acceptability as well as some positive risk responses, such as exploiting, sharing, enhancing and accepting, and other negative risk responses, such as avoidance, mitigation transfer and acceptance
Compensation is the remuneration which workers receive for their services or contributions to the organisation. The literature reviewed showed that compensation packages have relationship with workers’ motivation, job satisfaction, attraction and retention. On this basis, this study established a conceptual framework based on equity theory and used it to examine how compensation might be influencing workers’ motivation, job satisfaction, attraction and retention in the Ministry of Works and Transport of Jigawa State of Nigeria. The dependent variables considered in this study are limited to salary, allowance, gratuity, and pension as independent variables while the corresponding motivation, job satisfaction, attraction and retention are the dependent variables. The Positivist paradigm guided this empirical research; which holds the principle that knowledge is arrived at through the gathering of facts that provide the basis of laws. Thus, a quantitative research design was employed. A questionnaire was developed, pilot-tested and administered to gather data on workers’ motivation, job satisfaction, attraction and retention regarding four job compensable aspects, namely: salary, allowances, gratuity and pension. A total of 265 questionnaires were administered and 260 were collected through the early and late response technique. This represents a response rate of 98%. The respondents were selected using the stratified random sampling technique. The data collected was analysed using both descriptive statistics and structural equation modelling. The findings revealed that gratuity and allowance do positively and significantly influence workers’ motivation whereas salary and pension have no impact on workers’ motivation. Likewise, gratuity and pension do positively and significantly influence workers’ job satisfaction while salary and allowance have no impact on the job satisfaction of workers. Further, gratuity and pension do positively and significantly influence workers’ retention while salary and allowance have no impact on the retention of workers. Moreover, salary, gratuity and pension do positively and significantly influence workers’ attraction while allowance has no influence on the attraction of public construction workers in Jigawa state of Nigeria. Consequently, a framework was developed to reflect the factors that emerged for improving the motivation, job satisfaction, attraction and retention of the and equally address the pay disparity in Jigawa state. 67 respondents who participated in the main study were administered a second questionnaire to validate the framework. The subsequent findings revealed that the framework was relevant and could serve as a guide towards enhancing compensation practices and policies in the Ministry of Works and Transport. Thus, this study and its framework offer important policy recommendation to the Jigawa state government such as introducing new or improving the existing compensation packages of their workers.
Satisfaction has consistently been a source of concern to clients, stakeholders and customers in the construction industry globally. In Nigeria, despite the huge financial investments in construction and its associated economic benefits, construction projects are characterized by poor quality in aesthetics, high costs in maintenance and failure to meet or exceed the customers’ quality expectations. An even greater challenge is faced when considering government construction projects as re- occurring issues like on time delivery, operational and aesthetic excellence and even project abandonment continue to resurface. Although previous studies have developed models and frameworks to improve customer satisfaction in product and service organisations, researchers have not treated in detail issues involving customer satisfaction within projects which do not have profits and financial gains as the driving force such as government construction projects. The aim of this research was to develop a framework that would identify particular areas associated with project quality where adequate resources could be channelled in order to enhance customer satisfaction in government road construction projects in Rivers State, Nigeria. Sequel to an extensive literature review, a conceptual framework was developed to establish the relationship between three attributes of project quality namely performance, reliability and aesthetics and two attributes of customer satisfaction measured through contractor re-patronage and referral. 503 road construction practitioners within the Port Harcourt metropolis of Rivers State, Nigeria participated in a quantitative survey and data obtained was subjected to stepwise multiple regression analysis. The results showed that a strong, positive and significant relationship existed between the attributes of project quality and customer satisfaction with project quality explaining 54.8% of the variance in contractor re-patronage and 61.8% of the variance in contractor referral. Performance was however found to have the greatest effect on contractor re-patronage (R2=.550, adjusted R2=.548) while aesthetics had the highest effect on contractor referral (R2=.572, adjusted R2= .571). Reliability was found to have the weakest effect on customer satisfaction and could be attributed to its civil and structural Engineering links which are either unknown or invisible to the customer. 10 structured interviews with construction professionals were used to validate the developed framework and justify the research design. The findings support the framework and suggest that the knowledge and analysis of the construction costs, the use of competent professional experts, the provision of a revised legal framework for road construction, delegation of responsibility for road maintenance, avoidance of project abandonment, identifying and mitigating construction risks, adopting a strategy for project monitoring, enforcing health and safety considerations, provision of innovative excitement factors as well as post project evaluations were essential for enhancing project quality and customer satisfaction from government road construction projects. The study advocates for an adoption of the framework and concludes by making recommendations including the incorporation of government and private construction practitioners and further identifies areas for future study.
This thesis describes a research investigation into the implementation of the Last Planner System (LPS) in Nigeria, to improve construction processes within the Nigerian construction industry. LPS is known to be the most developed practical use of Lean Construction. It focuses on minimising the negative impacts of variability, uncertainties, buffers, making projects more predictable, creating reliable work plans and convalescing collaborative planning. However, the Nigerian construction industry is associated with a number of challenges which impair its performance. These challenges were grouped and classified into six major barriers: these include: supervision and quality control, fluctuation and variations, subcontractor involvement, resistance to change, cultural issues, and lengthy approvals. Consequently, a Design Science Research (DSR) approach is adopted to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing LPS in construction projects in Nigeria. In order to achieve this aim, an Action Research strategy is adopted and three case studies are reported; two of these cases describe how LPS was successfully implemented in construction projects within Nigeria. While the third case involved an investigation into the state of production plan reliability, of a successful project in Nigeria. These projects were selected based on non-probabilistic sampling from different geographical locations in Nigeria to represent different kinds of construction projects within the country. The first and second cases involved the implementation of LPS within the construction of a prototype student’s hostel and the construction a 4 Kilometre single carriageway road respectively. The third on the other hand involved the construction of a multipurpose hydro-power dam project; where comparisons were made between typical LPS projects and the project management techniques applied within the project. Data was collected through observation site activities, interviews, documentary analysis and questionnaire survey. The data generated was subsequently analysed by means of content analysis and evaluated in terms of its reliability, validity, representativeness, flexibility, rigour and reflexivity. In view of the LPS implementation within the two case studies, six barriers were identified and classified together with the six barriers associated with the Nigerian Construction industry. These barriers were linked, measured and ranked in averages of their degrees of occurrences. It was revealed that the major barriers were cultural issues and resistance to change, while the others include; lengthy approval, subcontractor’s involvement, poor supervision and quality, fluctuations and variations. Hence, a framework was developed to mitigate these barriers, when implementing LPS in construction projects in Nigeria. The main steps of the framework include: the need to identify purpose; the need to identify stakeholders impact; the need to obtain Sponsorship; the need to build a cross functional team; the need to create measurement indices; the need for training on Lean techniques and LPS; and finally the need to create a right working climate. Furthermore a focus group between construction practitioners was organised to test and evaluate the framework developed. It was revealed from the focus group that the framework has the potential to facilitate the implementation process as proposed.
Fear of global, social and environmental catastrophes has led to most developed and developing economies to embrace sustainability as a desirable public policy goal. Therefore, the Abu Dhabi government has made public commitments to transform along a more sustainable trajectory and assigned the public sector the collective responsibility of leading this transformation. Henceforth, public sector organisations have to embrace sustainable practices, re-orient their activities to achieve wider societal sustainable outcomes and govern others to act more sustainably. However, little is known about how public sector organisations are responding to this encouragement in the Abu Dhabi. The aim of this research is to explore how Abu Dhabi public sector organisation is embedding sustainability strategies for improved competitiveness. Given the relatively new and unexplored nature of the research problem, qualitative research method was adopted to collect and analyse data. Semi-structured interviews with 60 professionals were used to collect data which was then analysed using content analysis for inference and conclusion. The study concluded that the concept of sustainability is perceived as a distinct concept. It is suggests that an organisation wide awareness-raising training programme on the concept of sustainability needs to be to developed and deployed. Also, there is a need for cross-sector collaboration to capture and share best and worst practices related to transformative change towards sustainability. The lack of leadership skills for successful deployment of sustainability initiatives is one of the most important challenges for organisation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop and deliver a bespoke training framework to address, improve and measure the effectiveness of leadership skills for driving change towards sustainability. Green technology has enormous potential to enable Abu Dhabi public sector organisation to meet its sustainability goals. It is recommended that future research on mobile applications for sustainability should focus on user readiness aspects, as well as organisation readiness for adoption and usage patterns of mobile devices. Overall, it is evident from the empirical findings that the outlook of improved sustainability initiatives efforts from the Abu Dhabi public sector organisation is quite promising at present. A strategic framework for transformative change towards sustainability was developed and validated. It is recommended to explore the level of embeddedness of sustainability initiatives in the public sector between developed and developing countries. This should lead to a generation of benchmark data and best practices in addressing global sustainability issues.
For over 30 years, authors have documented continuous improvement techniques that can help to improve the performance of the manufacturing sector. However, recent research has found that the uptake of these available techniques for the purpose of improving business performance is comparatively low as a result of barriers preventing their adoption by manufacturing SMEs. The aim and focus of this research is to develop a user-friendly framework which would guide both industry practitioners and other researchers to achieve business process improvements in an SME manufacturing environment. The framework developed in this study consists of four stages: 1) review of the current process to be improved; 2) identification of possible improvement in terms of prompts; 3) knowledge know-how to support transfer of proven continuous improvement techniques; and 4) continual review of the process to quantify the improvements. The framework uses a combination of three continuous improvement techniques: histograms, brainstorming and Five Whys to identify actions for management implementation. Such techniques have been merged to speed up and simplify the process of root cause analysis, thus encouraging SMEs to document their successes. This will enable other SMEs to learn from their experiences as well as from the knowledge gained by being part of the communities of practice. The methodology used in this research is mixed methodology and involves a combination of literature review, pilot study, a postal questionnaire with 50 respondents and two case studies. These case studies were then used to validate the framework, based on five structured interviews. Case studies involving two manufacturing SMEs include manufacturers of high-volume, low-cost components and low-volume, high-cost components. It was concluded that the root cause of a problem can be found by using: brainstorming, histograms and Five Whys. Sometimes, it was also possible to merge these techniques as one, thus reducing the analysis time. The case studies generated substantial savings, £27,500 and £1,366,055 for SME 1 and 2 respectively. Overall the benefits of the framework to SMEs include: using the developed user-friendly framework for improved business performance, knowledge transfer of learning continuous improvement techniques, learning about other SME successes and potential cost savings that could accrue for SMEs when they apply it. The framework developed in this research, therefore, has reduced some of the barriers which have prevented uptake of innovative techniques over the last 30 years.
Bashir, Abubakar Muhammad (University of Wolverhampton, 2013-06)
The poor safety situation in the United Kingdom (UK) construction industry and its adverse socio-economic record are well documented in the existing literature. The application of Lean Construction techniques has been proposed as an effective strategy to address accidents on construction sites, a major safety concern in the construction industry. However, examination of the relationship between Lean Construction techniques and safety issues has been marginal. This study explores this relationship with the aim of developing a framework for using Lean Construction techniques to promote safety on UK construction sites. A framework was initially devised based on a synthesis of the literature and further refined based on findings from interviews held with 10 Lean Construction practitioners on antecedents of Lean Construction techniques and safety issues. In order to develop and confirm the framework, data was collected from practicing Lean Construction organisations using a questionnaire survey and analysed using descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and inter-rater agreement statistical test to examine the pattern and extent of the relationships. The study found a total of thirty-eight (38) relationships between Lean Construction techniques and safety issues. These relationships are mainly positive in nature in that they demonstrate path to improvement in safety on construction sites. They show which techniques could be used to address the relevant safety issue. Furthermore, it was established that the application of Lean Construction techniques on construction sites can be impeded by challenges such as: lack of Lean Construction knowledge, complexity, misconception about Lean and difficulties in changing employees’ working culture. The study identified strategies that could be used to address these challenges. These include enlightenment on benefits of Lean practice, publication of improvements realised from Lean practice, training, workers’ involvement and empowerment, persistence, robust planning and gradual step-by-step implementation. The study, therefore, concludes that Lean Construction techniques have positive relationships with safety issues on construction sites in the UK and on the basis of the relationships develops an integrated framework to guide application of the techniques by contracting organisations in promoting safety. The study makes a number of recommendations including the incorporation of Lean Construction practice into government health and safety initiatives, regulations and policies, and identifies areas for further research.
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