Effective Risk Management In The Construction Industry Construction Essay

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Amidst globalization, construction projects have become a vital part of the world's economy. Risk management has become a very important part of a project management process to achieve success in a project by coping with risks and controlling them. With the help of risk management, many projects have been executed and delivered successfully.

Nevertheless, being in charge of a construction project is a demanding job because of the varied and conflicting goals and plans. Many projects fail to accomplish the anticipated goals and objectives that were set initially. However, accomplishing the anticipated goals and objectives in a project relies upon successful risk management. For this, a relevant risk management tool should be developed to bring about a complete appraisal of the various risks to lessen the probability of failure and maximise project success.

This recession has had an antagonistic influence in the construction industry all over the world. It has made the construction industry face its most demanding challenge which has accelerated the longing for gung ho risk management to guarantee that the projects are capable of adapting to the present market scenario.

By considering these hypotheses, this dissertation aims to look into the management of risks in a project and bring to light, how risk management is accomplished in construction projects. The idea is to arrive at a picture of the risk process; so that the issues in a construction project can be better understood. It would be easy for the organisation to concentrate on the appropriate method to increase the value of the project.

Search Strategy

Having selected the topic Risks in Construction Projects after having taken "risk management" as an optional module in my second semester, I prepared myself by reading Flanagan and Norman's Risk Management and Construction. Because of the module, basic understanding of what risks are and their impact on a construction project were known. To further increase my understanding on the subject, library catalogues and databases from "the University of Manchester and the Salford University" were searched and then the web-based search engines like Google, Wikipedia, etc.

Foremost, the whole name of the topic was used in the search process. Then, the title was broken into important keywords such as Risk, Uncertainty, Risk and Uncertainty, Risk construction, Risk Management process, Risk Management, etc. Using these keywords a search was made on the internet and the library database. The material found was analysed by using the abstract and the data found to be relevant to the topic was saved for further review. Most of the data was in the form of journals, articles, which had to be downloaded using the University ID from Science direct and Emerald insight.

After reviewing the papers, they were classified based upon their relevance to the topic using a proximity chart. Furthermore, the papers were analysed and a search pattern was developed for continual reference throughout the dissertation lifecycle.

Project Risk Management in the Queensland construction Industry

This paper by Lyons and Skitmore (2004), uses four different surveys on various risk management systems (Akintoye and MacLeod, 1997; Baker et al., 1999; Raz and Michael, 2001; Uher and Toakley, 1999) as a foundation. They conduct their own survey and compare it with the four earlier conducted surveys (terry lyons, martin skitmore, 2003).

This paper attempts to make clear the understanding of an anticipated risk by a number of individuals and their organisations. Lyons and Skitmore (2004), initiated the survey with a questionnaire having sixty two questions. After receiving the responses from the intended audience, they compared it with the other surveys and deduced that:

The management of risks takes place more during the planning and execution stage of the project than in the conceptual or termination stage. This differs with the belief that the need for management of risks is of great importance during the conceptual stage; risks are identified and assessed before response and documentation; the most accepted technique for identifying risks is brainstorming. As with the previous surveys, it was found out that the most common techniques used for assessment are intuition, judgement and experience. As no particular risk assessment technique is best for every project, the subjects questioned have chosen the simplest technique; The risk assessment technique most used is qualitative in nature rather than being measurable and partly measurable techniques; It was also found that the standard of training in management of risk methods is low or moderate and also that risks are first analysed by the project team before being forwarded to the in-house specialists and consultants.

The factors that were chosen for this survey turned out to be low to moderately applicable. Many issues which hinder the application of risk management methods are found in this study. What can be understood from this paper is that risks should be managed from the concept level, before the implementation of the project. Also, more emphasis needs to be placed on managing risks using technology rather than using it just for scheduling and financing. The organisations should be willing to make changes in their framework. And further research needs to be carried out in the construction industry with regard to risk and uncertainty management.

Article Link:

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Risk management for Overseas Construction Projects

The journal by He Zhi (1995), aims at establishing a technique through which different risks in an overseas construction project can be managed and also brings out on how in an overseas construction project risks can be identified. (He Zhi, 1995). It is fundamentally a summary or a precise interpretation of the hierarchical framework for grouping the different sources of risk in an overseas project. It caters to a productive risk appraisal method which brings together risk probability analysis and risk impact assessment (He Zhi, 1995).

He Zhi considers the significance of risk categorization and determines the many types of risks in an overseas construction project. Certain risk factors which are common for an overseas construction project are identified.

He Zhi's intuitiveness and concepts for work are suitable however; there is a necessity of more insight primarily in the area of Risk response methods (He Zhi, 1995). It is a properly referenced and reasonably framed journal, which deals with the management of risks that arise in an overseas construction project. The author has concentrated on the principal outer Risk factors that influence a project. This paper was authored in 1995 and needs to be updated with the present scenario. Most aspects are similar, but a few specific aspects have greatly modernised in the last decade. However, overseas construction projects need strict devotion to Risk management policies and methods. Risk classification, risk identification, risk assessment and risk response, are all essential for a project to succeed.

An all-encompassing look is necessary to reinforce the risks; it is not advisable to concentrate exclusively on the risks at the project level in an overseas project, this is the principal dissimilarity amidst an overseas project and an indigenous project. New risk management methods are required; a project can be managed all the while considering Risk factors too. The important risk factors in an overseas construction project have to be painstakingly analysed, and not just the possibility of risk happening, but even the effect it will have on the project need to be considered. The risk response methods need to differ with every project and be very responsive when it comes to operation.

Article Link:

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Perception of Human risk factors in construction projects

This paper by Thevendran and Mawdesley (2003), focuses on how practitioners perceive risk management and especially risks associated with humans and also stresses on the need to incorporate human risk factors into project risk management (Thevendran and Mawdesley, 2003).

Its aim is to explain in detail the general idea on human risk factors by the construction practitioners in the construction industry. This article makes use of five steps, which are; to define human risk factors, review current literature and case studies in the field of risk management and human factors, investigate the participant's understanding of risk management and human factors, reveal current managerial practices or techniques and proposals to assess human factors, illustrate proposals recommended to alleviate human risk factors and draw conclusions from this study (Thevendran and Mawdesley, 2003).

Thevendran and Mawdesley (2003) group human risk factors into: individual factors, project team factors, organizational factors. The above risk factors encompass most human factors that affect a construction project. They say that controlling human risk factors is important for a project to succeed. Human factors comprise all the productive and destructive traits of human nature including contest, ability, inspiration, trustworthiness and revenge. Sabaa (2001), points out that human management, organisational and methodological skills are necessary for a project manager.

A study carried out to examine how the practitioners perceive human risk factors, points out that practitioners understand the significance of human risk management. Though important; minimal awareness and consideration is placed towards managing it.

The risk analysis methods described in this paper are applicable only when dealing with obvious risk factors and are inadequate when it comes to human risk factors, which are generally identified as major contributors to a construction project's failure. It is risky to concentrate entirely on the economic risks or force majeure, but also on the human risk factors. In the future, new risk assessment techniques should be developed and these methods should take into account human risk factors. These new techniques should help increase the efficiency through which human risk factors are managed.

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Construction Planning of Uncertain Environments

This paper by Laufer (1991), uses data collected from a survey to determine the impact, uncertain events have on planning. If an uncertainty arises, different techniques which can be applied to mitigate it are also discussed in this paper. Though aware of the impact of uncertainty, managers don't really place emphasis on it, notably in the planning stage. Here the lack of an effective planning process is described; the perception of uncertainty by managers is understood with the survey as its foundation.

Project planning has a major role in a project's success or failure. A number of planning techniques exist, and still projects fail to accomplish the desired outcome. In the industry, uncertainty is correlated with a construction project, for this reason, we need to create a best possible plan for that project. The plan must be reliable and react immediately to any uncertainty with minimum effort.

A planning technique has been suggested by Laufer (1991) to manage uncertainties within the project environment; it demands an orderly analysis of the circumstances. It also talks about reducing uncertainty, adapting to uncertainty, etc. Application of different experiences using changeable traits. These traits are intricacy, uncertainty and planning response.

The technique suggested by Laufer (1991), however falls short, as planning is the method in which mutually dependent choices are made on mutually dependent conditions. It places emphasis on the technical issues related to planning and does not answer how to overcome the non technical planning issues related to scarcity of workers, weather, etc. These factors are the most influential in a planning process. If the aforementioned issues are addressed in this technique, then it has the capacity to execute the construction project in a clear, quick, straight and systematic manner.

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Summary

The journals chosen to be reviewed can be classified under the subject risk and uncertainty. The papers cover almost all the factors related to risk management in the construction industry. The first paper (management of risks in overseas construction projects) focuses on the sources of risk in an overseas construction project and the response methods employed. The second paper (project risk management in the Queensland engineering construction industry) talks about the state of risk management in the Queensland construction industry and does so by initiating a survey and compares it with other survey results from around the world. The third paper (perception of human risk factors in construction projects) focuses on how human risk factors are perceived in the construction industry and stresses the importance of incorporating human risk factors into the risk management process. The fourth paper (construction planning for uncertain events) focuses on the planning process for uncertain events which may occur and hinder the progress of the project.

These articles focus on various areas of Project Risk Management, the different areas of focus help us understand the main issues which exist in risk management, and this will aid in the start of the dissertation later. In spite of the various focus areas, all these articles share a few standard concepts on Risk management. The most vital point raised by one of these journals is the development of a new Risk assessment technique for overseas construction project. And also the importance of human risk factors which though are known to be important are not handled the way they should be. Despite it's importance, minimal awareness and consideration is placed towards managing the Human risk factors. The need to understand the effects or influence of human factors ranges from a minimum right up to a maximum, and this influence can easily result in a project becoming a total failure. On the other hand, the survey by Terry Lyons and Martin Skitmore puts into place the way senior management consider the various risks in terms of importance and how the use of risk management is evaluated.

This coursework aids in getting a vague picture of risk management and its role in the construction industry. These articles focus either on risk or uncertainty. A study of these articles has provided the author with a diverse range of risk management issues and the way they are managed in construction projects, which will aid in aiming the dissertation in a specific direction.

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