Heavy Construction Other Than Building Construction Essay

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The construction industry is a unique sector that possesses an identity characteristic which is varied from the other sectors. The cyclical and seasonal instability of the industry makes this sector full with challenges. The instability of the industry such as fluctuation of the material prices, instability of the market condition as well as construction delay has left a huge impact to the industry players, particularly to the key personnel in the project such as the client and the contractor.

Needless to say, the financial involves in succeeding a project is huge, especially when the project involves is very complex, e.g. the MRT project. Therefore, it seems to suggest that the industry couldn't afford to have too much of mistakes such as construction delay, which eventually affected the project's completion and worst still overrun the client's budget.

On the other hand, others industries such as the manufacturer sector are quite different compared to the construction industry. The quality of the product can be assured under a strict supervision and controlled in the factory. Unlike the construction industry, the contractors may not be able to guarantees on the quality of the product e.g. building with zero defects. In addition, this sector does not affect much by the extreme climate. Therefore, it is unlikely the manufacturing sector often facing delay due to the extreme weather. Consequently, the targeted completion dates to produce the products is always guaranteed. However, delay always occurs in the construction industry. The extreme climate has left a huge impact, especially on the project completion in the construction industry (O'Brien, J.J., 1976).

Construction delay is one of the issues challenges the industry these days. The impact of the construction delay may be relatively huge toward the parties, e.g. the employer and the contractor. Therefore, it is important to determine the causes of delay hence identify the appropriate solution to mitigate the construction delay. Unfortunately, the phenomena of passing the liability from one party to another often occurred. Problem may occur if the dispute due to delay does not resolve carefully, worst still such dispute will be sent for arbitration or even litigation.

Problem Statement

Needless to say, in any construction project, the project commencement date as well as the completion date is clearly specified in the contract condition. Once the contractual parties e.g. the employer and the contractor have signed the contract, then such agreement will be enforced under the law. According to PAM 2006, it is the contractor's obligation to complete the work on or before the date of completion. Therefore, if the contractor failed to comply with such condition, then the employer has the right to sue against the contractor on the breach of contract. However, construction delay is still happened although the issue has gained the awareness of the contractual parties, e.g. the employer and the contractor on the seriousness of the impact of delay toward them. In addition, during the event of delay, who is the one shall liable for construction delay is remained unsure. This is because construction delay may neither cause by the contractor, employer nor others external factor such as force majeure. In order to mitigate the construction delay, it is vital importance to understand the root of delay. Therefore, this research is carry out to determine the major causes of construction delay hence figure out appropriated method in minimizing the construction delay.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to investigate the major causes and impact of construction delay in Malaysian Construction Industry in respect to construction project in Klang Valley. Therefore, the objectives of the study are comprises of:

To identify the major causes of construction delay.

To determine the major effects of construction delay.

To give out recommendation on how to mitigate the construction delay.

Background of Research

Construction industry is one of the larger sectors and also the key driving forces of the Malaysian economic. According to the economic report 2011/2012, construction industry is expected to growth in a stronger pace of GDP 7% in the year 2012 (Joseph, 2011). The positive growth of the Malaysian economic is believed influenced by the implementation of Malaysian Plan, especially on the delivery of the infrastructure project by the government. Whereby, one of the hottest topics and the typical example of the infrastructure project that has been carried out these days are the MRT project.

Needless to say, the delivery of MRT project has created a business's environment with a bunch of business opportunities. Thus, it seems to suggest that the delivery process for MRT project having a huge influence over the other sectors. However, during the construction period, there are many factors deem to be consider especially when the construction site was located in a busy city such as Bukit Bintang, KL. The traffic congestion is one of the important issues required careful consideration as the project is being delivered. Therefore, if any critical delay occurred in this MRT project, how huge will be the impacts to the public either in terms of monetary or public's convenient has still remained a good question.

The construction project can be categorized into three (3) main categories:

Building Construction

Construction project related either residential building or commercial building. For instance, school, shop lot, bungalow, semi-detached houses, condominium, etc.

Heavy Construction Other Than Building

The projects are involving of Civil Engineering works such as highway, tunnel, bridge, dam, sewer line, etc.

Construction in Regard Specialty Trade

Special trade contractor is engaged primarily for the specific activities. For example, electrical work, levelling, land clearing, acoustic installation, etc.

(Wisconsin Workplace Safety Institute, 2012)

However, construction delay is not limit to building construction. It can happen in any construction project, for instance delay occurred in the infrastructure project such as highway construction. One of the landmark case of delay occurred in infrastructure project is the West Cost Expressway (WCE). WCE is the highway connected to the North-South Expressway, start from the Taiping in the north and connecting to Banting in the south and leading to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). This project has been delayed over ten (10) years due to the financing problems in funding the project (Lim, 2012). The Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) set up by the government has encouraged the foreigners to invest in our country. The phenomenon of construction delay is believed has created a negative notion to the foreign investor toward the degree of stability of economics of the country. As a result, it might reduce the interest of foreign investors to invest in our country.

In addition, it was not surprising that private projects have encountered delays. According to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the latest report which has updated until 31 March 2012 shown that the numbers of private projects have encountered delays is about fifty-four (54) numbers of projects all over the Malaysia. The perceptions of the public toward private projects often link with the monetary factor. They believed that, the priority factor to be considered in succeeding a private construction project is the availability of the money. In fact, the factors that induce delay are not limited to monetary factor. Sometime, it can cause by the contractor's negligence or even other external factors, e.g. several weather. Furthermore, the construction delay has induced additional cost and time required to complete the projects. The employer e.g. developer may encounter critical cost overrun and worst still abandon the project.

The relationship between extension of time (EoT), loss and expense and liquidated damages will never escape to link with the delay occur in the projects. According to PAM 2006, the contractor has the right to grant for EoT, if the work has or will be delayed beyond the completion date as a state in the contract.  Provided that, such delay is not caused by the contractor's default.   For example, the employer delays in giving site possession to the contractor due to the delay in receiving approval from the local authority. Such delay can be few months or worst even up to a year. As what we know, time is money. This is very sensitive, especially in the construction industry because it may cause the parties, e.g. developer and contractor suffers huge loss due to the delay. 

In practices, if the delay cause by the employer himself, the contractor is entitled grant for the extension of time as well as the loss and expense. As a result, the employer is required to pay more than the initial contract sum. However, there is the risk that the employer may over their budget hence facing financial difficulty to fund the projects.

On the other hand, liquidated damages will be imposed by the employer, if the contractor failed to complete the work on or before the date of completion as stated in the contract. Time at large by the contractor has indicated that the contractor no longer bound by the contract provision to complete the works by a certain date or extended date (Oon, 2003). In short, the contractor has breached the contract. As according to PAM 2006, it allowed the employer to claim his losses and such losses is named as liquidated damages. A liquated damage is a genuine pre-estimate of the loss and damage which the employer is suffered in the event contractor failed to complete the work on time (PAM, 2006). Therefore, it can be concluded that the entitlement of extensions of time, loss and expense and liquidated damages by the contractor or employer is always linked with the construction delay that either cause by contractor, employer or some other factors.

Construction delay has left a very huge impact, particularly toward the stakeholders.  A balanced relationship between time, cost and quality always become the motto for the employer in succeeding a project. Unfortunately, the extension of time induced by construction delay has increased the cost required to be bear by the employer or contractor and affected the quality of works that resulting by the compaction of time allowable to complete such delay works by the contractor. Therefore, it is vital important to figure out the roots of delay, understand the impacts hence identify the way to mitigate the delay. In addition, this research are not solely focusing on the contractual parties e.g. employer and contractor who contributes to construction delays but readers are able to understand some other external factor such as economic condition which causing a delay. In conclusion, the construction delay

Scope of Study and Limitation

The scope of study is concentrated on the construction project in Klang Valley. The construction projects to be investigate for this research is solely focused on the building construction, e.g. high-rise buildings. Besides, the study is based on the literature review and the result obtains from the survey questionnaires. Questionnaire was design based on the review of literature from secondary resources, e.g. Articles, Journals, etc. on the causes, impacts and mitigation of delay to identify the ideology of the respondents toward the delay. The target respondents in this research are the contractor, Architect, Quantity Surveyor and developer.

Methodology of Research

Methodology of research can be described as an approach used to carry out the research. Therefore, a systematic planning on the research methodology will smoothen the whole process in carrying out the research. It involves of data collection via various channels such as case studies, survey and interview. Based on the data which has been collected, the researcher has to analyze the data hence make the conclusion and some recommendation. The entire flow chart of the research methodology will show in Figure 1. The collected data can be categorized into two (2) categories as shown below:

Primary Data

Primary data is the data collected through surveys, case studies or problem-solving in which the data is obtained first hand (Dr. S.G. Naoum, 1998). In this research, the researcher will carry out the survey questionnaire thus it becomes the primary data used in this research.

Secondary Data

According to Dr. S.G. Naoum (1998), secondary data are the data that obtained from other sources. This mean the data collected is not originated from the researchers. The sources of secondary can be from books, journal, thesis, newspaper, any government Act, etc.

The Process of the Research Methodology

In this research, there are few stages that been adopted by the researcher to carry out the whole research. Those stages are as the following:

Stage 1: Identification of the Research Topic & Field of Study

The researcher has to figure out some topics, which are interested for the researcher. The topic can be the latest hot topic or some incident where the researcher has personally experienced. Then the researcher will select the most appropriate topic where the researcher is eligible to carry out.   After the topic is identified, the researcher has to form and finalize the research title which is match with the core idea of the research. Moreover, the aim and objectives of the research will be finalised. The researcher will then proceed to prepare an introduction which is chapter 1 of the research in order to give a brief idea for this research to the readers.

Stage2: Literature Review

The researcher has to review other's literature, in which data is likely to collect from secondary sources such as articles, books, newspapers, journal, thesis and any other published information related to research topic on construction delay.

Stage 3: Methods of Data Collection

Preparation of Survey Questionnaires & Pilot Study

A set of questionnaires is developed which comprising of three (3) sections:

Section A: Causes of Construction Delay

Section B: Impacts of Construction Delay

Section C: Mitigation of Construction Delay

A pilot study will carry out to identify the weakness of the question set in the questionnaires hence improve the quality of the questionnaires. The target respondents for this initial test on the questionnaires are including the project supervisor and some other lecturers.

Distribution of Survey Questionnaire

The quantitative researches will carry out by the researcher. A total number of 60 copies of survey questionnaires is distributed over the research sample. The samples being selected for this research topic are developer, contractor, consultant QS and Architect. The media used to distribute the questionnaires are e-mail and fax.

Stage 4: Data Finding & Analysis

The target responding period for this research is appropriate two (2) month. However, the collected data will start analyzing once received about 20% of respond from the respondents. There are some tool is used to analyze the data such as tabulating, statistic, graph, bar chart and correlation analysis by SPSS software.

Stage 5: Conclusion and Recommendation

The researcher will make an overall conclusion based on the data that has been collected and analyses prior. In addition, the researcher will give out some recommendation to improve the study hence become the future guidance.

Identification of the Research Topic & Field of Study

Literature Review

*Secondary data e.g. articles, books, newspapers, journal, thesis, etc.

Methods of Data Collection

Preparation of Survey Questionnaires & Pilot Study

b. Distribution of Survey Questionnaire

*Research sample: developer, contractor, consultant QS and Architect

Data Finding & Analysis




Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 5

Figure 1. : Flow chart of research methodology

1.7 Summaries of Chapter

The following are the propose content for this research:

Chapter 1: Introduction of Research

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Chapter 4: Data Finding & Analysis

Chapter 5: Conclusion& Recommendation


Chapter 1: Introduction of Research

Provide an overview of the study, so that readers will have a brief idea and understand what is carrying out in this research. It's including the problem statement, aim, objectives, research background, scope of study, outline methodology and summaries of chapter.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

In this chapter, it is about reviewing of other people's literature. The sources can be obtaining from article, newspaper, journal, dissertation and also books. After browse through those resources, a summary of the causes, impact and mitigation of delay will be developed. Thus, readers can have an initial idea about the causes, impact and way of mitigate of delay.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

The flow of activities and the method used in order to achieve the research's aim and objective is covered under this chapter.  The approach used to collect data in literature review and survey questionnaire will be further explained. In this chapter, readers are able to understand the structure of the questionnaire which has design to access the perception of the respondents toward construction delay. Besides, tools used in analyzing the data will be introduced.  

Chapter 4: Data Finding & Analysis

After the data have been collected from the respondents, a detail analysis is required. The tools which have introduced in Chapter 3 will be used to analyze the data. In this chapter, using of more graphs, chart and table are essential to explain the result obtain from the respondents hence make ease the readers understand and interpreting the result obtained.

Chapter 5: Conclusion& Recommendation

A conclusion based on the understanding and learning outcome of the study will be provided. The perception and the comments are deeming to be included in this section. Moreover, some recommendation will give to the readers hence become future reference.


A list of references which used to succeed the research will be provided. Thus, enable the readers to track back and further study on those relevant sources. Besides, the references will be provided in accordance to Harvard Referencing System.

1.8 Summary

This chapter is paramount importance as it has indicated the overall idea of the research to be carried out. In addition, the readers are able to understand the core problem of the industry e.g. construction delay that eventually induced this research. Besides, the readers are also able to have a brief idea on the research's content as well as the approach used to carry out this research.