Delays In The Construction Projects Construction Essay

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Many problems may arise during construction project implementation; one main concern is delay. Delay is the time overrun either beyond completion date specified in a contract, or beyond the date that the parties agreed upon for delivery of a project (Assaf and Al-Hejji, 2006). There are many reasons that cause delays. According to Ogunlana (2008), although the principle reasons for delays are comparable across developing countries, several factors pertaining to local industry, social-economic, cultural issues and project characteristics also contribute to delays. Delays may occur as a result of the actions or inaction on the part of owner, contractor, subcontractors, consultants or the government. In addition, delays are always interrelated which led to the more complicated situation.

Delays in construction projects are considered one of the most common problems causing a multitude of negative effects on the project and its participating parties. Along with delay, the frequently faced consequences are project failure, reduction of profit margin, and loss of belief of citizen in government funded projects, etc. When delays do occur, they are either accelerated or have their duration extended beyond the scheduled completion date. These are not without some cost consequences. Delays also give rise to disruption of work and loss of productivity, late completion of project increased time related costs, third party claims, abandonment and termination of contract (Abdul-Rahman H., 2006). In conventional approach, this extra cost is included a percentage of the project cost as contingency in the pre-contract budget (Aibinu and Jagboro, 2002). Akinsola (1996) cited common practice allow a percentage of project cost as a contingency allowance in the contract price and this allowance is generally based on judgment.

There is a room for improvement in present practices for keeping track of delays. This research is carried out to study the causes and the severity effects on the delay causes arising during construction phase of projects. In addition, the result of this research would lead to recommendations aimed at reducing the impact of delay. If construction delays can be avoided or mitigated, there could be substantial financial savings on projects.

1.2 Problem Statement

Malaysia construction sector forms a high percentage of the economy contract (Abdul-Rahman H. et al, 2006). In year 2008, the construction sector grew 2.1% from the total of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), emanated mainly from the civil engineering sub-sector (BNM, 2009). GDP by state showed that the state economic structure was varied and unique.

Sabah is the second largest of the 14 states in Malaysia with population of 3.2 million peoples (Sabah Tourism Board, 2008). It is strategically located in the center of BIMP, stands of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, largest regional grouping and spanning territories of four ASEAN Countries. Sabah economics is open and is subject to the vagaries of exogenous factor, with an increasingly globalize and rapidly changing world economy. The buoyant economic activities at manufacturing services have been identified as the main growth sectors in the state. Sabah was also known as the major contributor in agriculture sector with 21.0% of GDP (Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2009). Other main driver of its economy was the construction sector particularly in both commercial and residential properties (Sabah Budget Speech, 2009). In year 2008, Malaysian Federal Government have allocated about RM2.37 billion to the state for Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) projects. SDC is believed as a commitment from the government to boost up the development and economy of Sabah to a renowned level (Utusan Malaysia, Aug 2008).

Despite of their developments, delay becomes a problem that associates in the construction project. The need to control the factors of delays during the construction process comes out when the number of delays project have been increase from time to time. Malaysian Treasury Secretary-general, Dr Wan Abdul Aziz stated that projects with 30% or three months’ behind schedule are categorized as ‘sick project’ (The Star, 2007). When a delay can no longer be absorbed by the client, it will lead in the project being abandoned. According to numbers released by Ministry of Housing and Local Government, about 115 abandoned housing projects are recorded since 1990 until June 2008 (Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 2008).

In Sabah, the most notable delay projects include the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) expansion project, road project from Kalabakan to Sapulut, Kinarut PGA project and Karamunsing flyover (Daily Express, 2007).

Regarding these problems, Malaysia government has acknowledged the construction delays and cost overruns problems as the big headache, especially with government-related funded projects. Minister of Public Work Department, Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor, cited about RM200 million have been provide for the construction industry to revive most of abandoned government projects under Economic Stimulus Package (Utusan Malaysia, May 2009). This showed that the Government always takes a cognizance of the important role of the construction sector to stimulate domestic economic activities and in enhancing economic growth in view of its linkages to construction-related industries.

Chang (2002) suggested that identifying factors is usually the first step when addressing a problem and then corrective actions can be taken. Hence, it is essential to identify the causes of this problem in early stages of construction project. This research will diagnose the main causes and effects of delays. The researcher will make a comparison between two regions according to the scope. This is because the principle reasons for delays may diverse at different places (Ogunlana and Prokuntong 2008).

Subsequently, researcher will determine the ways to minimize project delays from the perspective of construction industry players. Based on the findings, researcher can generate the appropriate recommendations aimed at reducing the impact of delays. It also believed that the study would clarify and thus create an awareness of the extent to which delays can adversely affect project delivery.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research are to study and evaluate issues related to the major causes of construction project delays in Sabah through a survey. In achieving this aim, it is necessary to thoroughly review the existing literature and research’s findings. Therefore, the objectives of this study are as follows:

To identify the causes of the construction project delays

To identify the effects of the construction project delays

To suggest the methods of minimizing project delays.

1.4 Scope of the Research

The scope of the research is mainly focus in Sabah. The group of respondents for this research involves client, consultant and contractor companies that registered with Construction Industrial Development Board (CIDB).

1.5 Significant of the Research

There are several valuable benefits expected by implementing this study. The significance of establishing the issues related to the construction project delays was to provide a greater insight and understanding on the causes of delays particularly among the main project players: contractors, client and consultants. This can be achieved by applying theoretical concepts discussed in many literatures into practice in real projects. It is hoped that these findings will guide efforts to improve the performance of the construction industry and will be useful to the construction players. Therefore, these findings might encourage the practitioner to focus on delay problem that might have existed in their present or future projects. Other than that, this study is expected to provide a better ways and methods in delivering construction projects by minimize the major causes of delays.

1.6 Research Methodology

In achieving these objectives, a research methodology is required. Figure 1.1 highlights the critical stages of conducting this study. This figure comprises four essential stages of conducting the study which includes the following:

Literature review

Main survey

Analysis Data


This research will be adopted field survey methodology to uncover factors influencing on delay arising during construction stage. To identify the delay factors in construction market, a comprehensive literature review was conducted as to identify the essential information such as the main causes and effects of delay to the projects. This useful information will be included in the preparation of the main survey questionnaire. The technical materials researched include: technical papers, articles, conference proceedings, the internet, and leading construction management and engineering Journals.

After that, main survey questionnaires are prepared. The designed questionnaire will be distributed to three principal construction parties namely; owner, consultant and contractor. Upon the completion of the data analysis, discussion of these findings, conclusions and recommendations will be presented.