The poor quality of design documentation has been identified as a significant contributor to delays, rework and cost overruns on construction projects in South Africa. Despite this, limited research has been undertaken to specifically investigate the quality of design documentation. This in turn hampers efforts aimed at improving the quality of the design documents. The aim of this study is to identify the key quality attributes of design documentation and determine the extent to which the design documents issued on South African construction projects are perceived to incorporate the quality attributes. A survey questionnaire was distributed among civil engineering design consultants and contractors in the South African construction industry. Responses to a total of 120 completed questionnaires were statistically analysed. The relative importance and extent of incorporation of the quality attributes was determined based on the mean scores. It emerged from the study that the two key quality attributes of design documentation were legibility and coordinated design documentation. Attributes with the least importance were relevancy and certainty. Regarding the incorporation of the quality attributes, the design documents were rated highly with respect to their legibility and clarity. The quality of the documentation was deemed inadequate in terms of accuracy and certainty. The findings provide valuable insight to stakeholders involved in developing initiatives aimed at improving the quality of design documentation and as a result construction project performance. The study provides empirical evidence and extends the literature on design documentation quality especially from the perspective of South Africa, a developing country.
Challenges to and opportunities for establishing a qualitative approach to Built Environment research in higher educatio...Published: 17 August 2018 by Emerald in Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
There are serious implications for adopting inappropriate research strategies and methods, and this is evident in the Built Environment (BE) given the under adoption of qualitative strategies in some countries. Therefore, based on empirical evidence from Nigeria, the purpose of this study is to examine the challenges to and opportunities for establishing Qualitative Approach (QA) to BE research in higher education institutions (HEIs) and to develop an improvement framework for QA. Academics and research students in the BE research of Nigerian HEIs were interviewed and the data analysed thematically. Based on the findings, including recommendations from the respondents, a framework for improving the use of QA in BE research was developed and academics evaluated it for workability. This study reveals that the challenges to QA in BE research include information constraints, socio-cultural issues and the negative attitudes of senior academics to QA. The opportunities include the realisation for a paradigm shift, the characteristics of the socio-cultural context and features of BE and the general potentials of QA. The proposed framework encompasses encouraging and providing a platform for international collaboration between academics in developing and developed countries, and preferential treatment for QA. It also enables regulatory and incentive mechanisms, which will act as drivers. This study provides stakeholders in academia with knowledge and a detailed guideline for establishing QA to research in the BE. This study provides a country context-based detailed guide for establishing QA in HEIs BE research towards ensuring that research strategies adopted in BE research are fit for purpose, in turn are aligned to addressing problems in the society. There is little or no study of this nature in BE.
A risk-based entry decision model is proposed to mitigate impact of risk and ease the entry of multinational construction companies (MNCCs) into African construction market (ACM). A review of extant literature helps identify risks in the international construction market (ICM) and entry modes used by MNCCs to enter into the ICM. A conceptual model is designed for a risk-based entry decision. Data for validating the proposed model are sourced from multiple sources – survey, interview and, financial and annual report of companies surveyed. Findings reveal significant risks in the ICM and different modes of MNCCs entry to foreign market. Experience of MNCCs show that the perceived impact of risk influence decisions made to enter into foreign markets, and interactive relationships between resources and entry decisions made mitigate the perceived impact of risks. Significant risks are expected in the ACM. However, adequate perception of risks based on resources levels of MNCCs, and strategic entry decisions would assist in mitigating the potential impacts of risk.
Understanding the Underrepresentation of Qualitative Research Approaches to Built Environment Research in NigeriaPublished: 08 May 2017 by Informa UK Limited in International Journal of Construction Education and Research
There is evidence that scholars in some countries, including Nigeria, primarily employ the quantitative approach to research, and that in some cases this approach is used inappropriately. This leaves research questions that should be tackled from a qualitative standpoint either unaddressed or incorrectly addressed. The aim of this study is to understand why the qualitative approach (QA) has failed to gain similar recognition in Nigeria and other countries, and by extension, the disposition of researchers towards its use. The impact of the disposition of researchers toward QA was also explored. Researchers in the various built environment (BE) disciplines in Nigeria were interviewed. The results revealed that there is a preference for quantitative research, while QAs are used if convenient. Furthermore, the study revealed that the educational background of academics and their poor understanding of the qualitative paradigm explain their disposition toward the adoption of the QA in research. This finding suggests that academic followers instead of leaders are being produced, and that research is done for ad hominem promotion. In advancing the understanding of QA in BE research in Nigeria, this study also draws the attention of stakeholders in the academia to the implications of a preference by researchers for quantitative research.
PurposeLiterature suggests that there are sets of common variables that are capable of explaining organisational performance differentials. These variables are used to examine performance variance and its contribution to organisation profitability. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the determinants of large construction organisations’ performance in South Africa using a partial least squares path analytic method.Design/methodology/approachThis study examines the interrelationship between a number of constructs, namely, organisational characteristics, resources/capabilities, competitive strategies, business environment and performance, using a questionnaire survey to obtain data from 72 large construction organisations in South Africa. Using a path analytic approach, the paper examines the relationship between the constructs discussed in the study.FindingsThe findings from the analysis of the data show that organisational characteristics do indeed influence the performance of organisations, and that the business environment is capable of moderating the relationship between competitive strategies and performance. The results, however, indicate that organisations that combine sustained organisational characteristics and strategy tend to experience high performance over those that do not.Originality/valueThe study findings have implications for management practice, as it could help managers of construction organisations to acknowledge the influence of organisational characteristics, unique resources/capabilities, competitive strategies and business environment as sources of competitive advantage. The study contributes to the current debate on the causes of performance differentials among large construction organisations.
Mitigating Risks in African Construction Markets through the Interactive Behavior of Resources and Capabilities in Multi...Published: 01 March 2017 by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in Journal of Management in Engineering
The presence of African-based construction companies in African markets is low compared with their foreign counterparts. Unlike local markets, overseas markets exhibit more types of risk. Perceptions of risk in overseas markets differ, and levels of resources and capabilities influence them. Adequate perception of risk also influences entry decisions. This paper examines whether interaction exists between the level of resources and capabilities in South African construction companies (SACCs) and their choice of entry mode in entry decisions, with a view toward mitigating the perceived impact of risks and enhancing ease of entry into African construction markets (ACMs). Research data were collected through a convergent mixed-methods research approach from SACCs graded 8 and 9 in the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) register of contractors in South Africa. It emerged that the significant risks in ACMs are payment risk, volatility in exchange rate and currency, threat of terrorism, legal instability, red tape/legislative bottleneck, and unstable government. Revenues, number of employees, and years of international experience significantly influence SACCs’ perception of administrative delays, red tape/legislative bottleneck, and difficulty in doing business in ACMs. Moreover, the perceived impacts of the difficulty of doing business, the threat of terrorism, and political uncertainty influence the choice of joint venture (JV) and contractual arrangement (CA) as ACM entry modes. The study established that an interactive relationship exists between the choice of JV and assets and JV and number of employees and between the choice of CA and number of employees that can mitigate the perceived impact of risks. The paper concludes that as SACCs accumulate financial, human, and experiential capital, their perception of risks in ACMs becomes more favorable. However, adequate perception of risks in markets enhances the strategic choice of entry mode, and the interactions between SACCs’ resources and capabilities and decisions on entry into ACMs mitigate the perceived impact of risks. This enables SACCs to compete favorably for business opportunities in ACMs and international space.
PurposeThis paper aims to examine briefing practices and whether these are related to the quality of brief documents and client satisfaction in constructed health-care facilities in South Africa. The rational for the examination stems from the view held by scholars that the briefing process is critical to the success of projects, as well as client/user satisfaction in the constructed facility, and also because of undocumented reports of client/end-user dissatisfaction in constructed health-care facilities in South Africa.Design/methodology/approachThe research process consisted of a literature review to identify existing briefing framework and practices in use applicable to facilities. This was supported by an exploratory case study of a recently completed public hospital in East London, South Africa. Data collection for the study was undertaken by means of conducting semi-structured interviews with two groups consisting of client representatives and the technical design team on the project.FindingsThe research established that in the context of this case study, inadequate client consultation took place, not all design consultants were adequately involved in the development of the project brief, limited use was made of a specific briefing framework in developing the project brief and that despite these shortcomings in the briefing process followed, a comprehensive good quality briefing document was produced and the client was satisfied with the health-care facility constructed.Research limitations/implicationsThe results of this study are generalizable with health-care facilities only. As such, research inferences and projections can only be made within this set and may not necessarily be applicable to the wider construction sector or to all projects within this sector.Practical implicationsThe implications of this research are applicable to constructed health-care facilities. Practical inferences include the need to acknowledge that there is a need for a briefing framework, which should outline the involvement of all design consultants and client representatives when developing the project briefs for health-care facilities. The briefing framework is proposed for use in addressing the shortcomings in the briefing processes and practices and will also help the client in the choice of a brief process and practice which will comprehensively capture their requirements, give clear directives/information to the design consultants and will result in higher levels of end-user/patient satisfaction in the constructed health-care facility.Social implicationsClients and allied professionals in charge of health-care facilities’ construction are encouraged to consider the implementation of a standard framework for use in the briefing process. This reflection should encourage engagement through formative legislative provision and transparent awareness campaigns.Originality/valueThis work is original insofar, as it directly addresses the alignment of briefing practices to quality of brief documents and client satisfaction in constructed health-care facilities within the context of the South African construction industry. However, similar exercises have been undertaken on briefing practices in the wider construction sector.
Relationship between decision-making style, competitive strategies and organisational performance among construction org...Published: 03 October 2016 by Emerald in Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
PurposeThe decision-making styles and strategies of organisations play significant roles in their competitive advantage and the achievement of superior performance. The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of decision-making styles on the strength of the relationship between competitive strategy and organisational performance among large construction organisations based in South Africa.Design/methodology/approachThe study focuses on large construction organisations in South Africa using a questionnaire survey to elicit information. The sample consists of 72 large construction organisations, and the measures of decision-making styles, competitive strategies and organisational performance used for the instrument utilised to elicit information were derived from the literature. Descriptive, parametric and multiple regression analyses were used to determine the effect of decision-making styles and competitive strategies on the organisations’ performance.FindingsThe results of the study show that organisations utilize all types of decision-making styles, but the most significantly adopted styles are analytical and directive. The study found that decision-making styles influence organisational performance through competitive strategies.Research limitations/implicationsThe research considered large construction organisations based in South Africa and operating in three provinces, where almost 75 per cent of all public projects are being implemented. The findings can be generalised to other large construction organisations functioning within the South African industry, because most of the organisations surveyed operate nationally. However, the findings may not be generalizable to the entire industry. Small and medium-sized organisations vary in terms of structure in relation to large organisations; hence, their decision-making styles may be different.Practical implicationsThe study makes explicit the need to consider the role of different decision-making styles being practiced within organisations and how their moderating effect influences organisational performance beyond rational processes. A better understanding of this will enable organisations to achieve the total commitment of their staff to achieve superior performance.Originality/valueThe study contributes to the existing literature and body of knowledge on the strategic management of organisations. It underpins the assertion that decision-making styles and competitive strategies can influence organisational performance, and this is validated within the construction industry. Knowledge of the relationships between the variables measured in this paper will be beneficial to both owners and managers of construction organisations, because they provide the necessary information on how strategic decision-making styles influence the strategy adopted and, in turn, the organisational performance.
Environment, competitive strategy, and organizational characteristics: A path analytic model of construction organizatio...Published: 24 May 2016 by Wiley in Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences / Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l'Administration
While mainstream strategic management researchers have paid attention to the causes of performance differential among organizations, there is a dearth of empirical research within the construction industry on the subject. We examine the relationship between environment, organizational characteristics, competitive strategies, and performance of construction organizations in the South African construction industry. In order to develop a model for improving organizations’ performance, partial least squares was employed using quantitative data collected from a sample of 72 large construction firms listed on the Construction Industry Development Board contractors’ register in South Africa. The results reveal that organizational characteristics have a direct influence on organizational performance, while the relationship between the business environment and organizational performance is mediated by competitive strategies. Copyright © 2016 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.RésuméL'intérêt des chercheurs en gestion stratégique classique pour les causes de la différence des performances entre les organisations contraste avec la pénurie des recherches empiriques sur ce sujet à l'intérieur de l'industrie de construction. Dans cet article, nous examinons la relation entre l'environnement, les caractéristiques organisationnelles, les stratégies concurrentielles et la performance des entreprises de construction appartenant à l'industrie sud-africaine de la construction. Le modèle élaboré pour l'amélioration de la performance organisationnelle s'appuie sur l'analyse partielle par les moindres carrés effectuée à partir de données qualitatives recueillies auprès d'un échantillon de 72 grandes firmes de construction inscrites dans le registre des entrepreneurs du Construction Industry Development Board en Afrique du Sud. Les résultats montrent que si les caractéristiques organisationnelles ont un impact direct sur la performance organisationnelle, en revanche, la relation entre l'environnement des affaires et la performance organisationnelle est subordonnée aux stratégies concurrentielles.
Purpose – The essence of strategy formulation is to assist an organisation obtain a strategic fit with its environment and help enhance organisational continuous improvement in achieving performance excellence. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the type of competitive strategies used by construction organisations in attaining their strategic goals in South Africa. Design/methodology/approach – The study employs an inductive research approach using a well-structured questionnaire to elicit information from large construction organisations based in South Africa. Findings – The research identifies five strategic attributes that could assist organisations to grow their businesses and enhance their returns. It reveals that all Porters’ generic competitive strategies are significantly related to organisational financial performance measures except focus strategy. The research found that three generic competitive strategies are positively related to non-financial performance and that differentiation and cost-leadership strategies are capable of assisting organisations’ achieve their financial performance goals. Practical implications – The study results will be of immense benefit to chief executive officers as well as managers of construction organisations in growing their businesses and enhancing their corporate performance. Originality/value – The paper contributes both theoretically and empirically to the current discussion and findings on competitive strategy and its relationship with organisational performance. The results presented in the paper have important implications for the implementation of competitive strategies in construction companies and future studies in the area of strategic management.
RIBA Plan of Work Model and Classification of Constraints to Cost Performance of Construction ProjectsPublished: 26 November 2014 by Association of Engineering, Project, and Production Management in Proceedings of the 2014 (5th) International Conference on Engineering, Project, and Production Management
Examination of Green Building Drivers in the South African Construction Industry: Economics versus EcologyPublished: 09 September 2014 by MDPI in Sustainability
There is a large body of literature on green buildings, but few studies have focused on the motivation behind the construction of green buildings globally, and in South Africa in particular. This paper investigates the key drivers of green building in the Western Cape Construction Industry of South Africa and examines whether these drivers have changed over time. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken to provide an overview of green building issues globally and in South Africa, followed by an empirical investigation into the drivers of green building in South Africa using a multi-case study approach. The findings reveal that the key drivers of green building include rising energy costs, the industry’s Green Star rating system, competitive advantages and legislation. The study also indicates that these key drivers have not changed significantly over time. Taken together, these results suggest that the increase in green building has little to do with ecological factors and more to do with economic factors—operational costs and stakeholder demands. The paper concludes that as long as the cost of energy continues to increase and there are recognised industry rating systems in place, the need for green buildings is likely to remain.
The government patronizes and awards public sector construction projects to large construction companies in South Africa based on the premise that they are technically and financially capable of executing the projects. In spite of this assumption and important contributions made by the construction organizations in delivering high-profile construction projects, many clients report poor performance of contactors on public projects. This paper, therefore, investigates the competitive strategies being used by large construction companies, their financial performance, and whether their knowledge of the business environment help in obtaining beneficial strategic fit and fiscal performance. This study intends to use the synthesis of industrial organization, contingency, and resource-based theories in developing measures of environmental factors and competitive strategies used by construction companies. Parametric and nonparametric statistics are used in analyzing quantitative and qualitative data obtained from the questionnaire survey. It emerged that corruption and lack of transparency was perceived as the key exogenous environmental factors influencing the strategies adopted by construction companies, while manpower problems associated with trade unions was perceived as the key endogenous environmental factor. The results also indicate that the differenting competitive strategies of achieving high quality and time (which are correlated negatively to financial performance) were viewed by the respondents as the best strategies to adopt. This research contributes to the discourse on competitive strategies in the construction industry and best practices.
This paper examines contemporary issues in building collapse and its implications for sustainable development in Nigeria. It explores whether the approach to construction by industry stakeholders is in line with the principles of sustainable development following the spate of building collapses in Nigeria. The rationale for the investigation stems from the view by scholars that construction industry stakeholders’ do not seem to consider the future in their current activities. The study establishes that the approach to construction by industry stakeholders do not match sustainable principles, and contributes to general under perforxmance of buildings. The paper recommends an overhaul of planning and implementation policies for building development regulations (e.g., building codes). The Nigerian government, as a major construction stakeholder should initiate sustainable construction measures and enforce this as best practice for the construction industry.
Abimbola Windapo participated at conference The 5th World Sustainability Forum.