Why Do Most Township Construction Projects Fail Construction Essay

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A research on the construction projects is being operated as to why most of the projects in townships are failing or not being completed on time, this research is done in townships, projects that are occurring in the township has been visited it has been found that the municipality has been trying to build this project for about eight years but it is still not getting finish due to the the lack of skills and knowledge to the people engaged in the project, It has been found that the projects are failing because of bad management, lack of communication, decisions made, fraud and bribery that is happening nowadays.

This is resulting in theft and vandalism that is happening on these buildings that are left unfinished also resulting on government spending more money on projects and making taxation higher for those paying tax.

The research conducted on construction projects failure is valuable since it will help most building contractors on what they must expect in the industry and how they can overcome problems, it will also give knowledge to our growing readers who will become building contractors on how to run construction companies in future and will also help reduce money that is over spent by the municipalities on projects that take time to finish.


A project is considered a failure when it has not delivered what was required, in line with expectations. Therefore, in order to succeed, a project must deliver to cost, to quality, and on time; and it must deliver the benefits presented in the business case.

The requirements for success are clear and absolute � right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Because the second part of our definition of success is that the project must be delivered "in line with expectations."

If key stakeholders agreed that a project had to exceed its initial budget, the project may still be considered a success. Likewise, if a project delivered everything that was in the detailed project designs, it may still be considered a failure if it didn't include vital elements that the key stakeholders needed.

Research on construction projects located in township was conducted to assess why most of township project fails.

The occurrence of project failure in township projects has become a construction industry norm This research Is to find the solution what can be done in order to stop project failure in townships.


� My research was done by interviewing the people getting their views and their opinions as to why township construction projects are fail.

� I also had to interview on of the principal agents from the municipality to get his point of view and his point of view and his experience regarding this high rate of township construction project failure.

� I will need a book to right down all the information from my research, there after I will store it on the computer.


� I need to get articles on internet on project failure to get information why construction projects in town fails

� Newspaper article read will also give me more information on why construction


� There are people you can�t interview due to the political issues that are taking over because people are afraid maybe what they say can be translated in something else. There are those people that�s easy to talk to them and those who are always not available to talk even on the phones and most of those people who are always not are available are the one who have information.


Advantages of this research

~it will help save money that he puts on projects that are failing once everyone know as what may be the causes of project failure it will be easy to find ways to minimise it

~most building contractors will know what to expect on the industry and how they can overcome construction problems

~it will motivate the society on how important it is to support development happening in their areas.

Disadvantages of the research

~The research cannot be always accurate since most of the employers would not want to be interviewed where as they are the one with all the information

A project is considered a failure when it has not delivered what was required, in line with expectations. Therefore, in order to succeed, a project must deliver to cost, to quality, and on time; and it must deliver the benefits presented in the business case.


The requirements for success are clear and absolute � right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Because the second part of our definition of success is that the project must be delivered "in line with expectations."

If key stakeholders agreed that a project had to exceed its initial budget, the project may still be considered a success. Likewise, if a project delivered everything that was in the detailed project designs, it may still be considered a failure if it didn't include vital elements that the key stakeholders needed. This doesn't seem fair, but project success and failure isn't just about the facts, nor is it simply about what was delivered. It's also, crucially, about how the project is perceived

The initial aim of this research was to identify the factors contributing to project failure of construction companies. For this purpose, an extensive literature survey was conducted .findings were

For a project to be successful, it's not enough simply to manage your project competently, and deliver a good quality product. To avoid failure, make sure you have identified the right business requirements, created an achievable business case, put strong project governance into place, managed a high-quality implementation, focused on benefits, and monitored your changing environment.

Above all, be sure to manage the expectations of your stakeholders, so that they stay supportive. After all, these are the people who will declare your project to be successful � or otherwise. Delivering bad products to the customer is a quick way to fail. Whether it�s a typo-filled document deliverable or a bug-ridden end solution, the customer is never going to be happy with a less than quality product being handed to them. Preview everything that passes from your teams hands to the customer. Test and re-test. Just make sure that you are providing a quality product in the end.



Construction project that are failing in Sa has cause increase on tax payers because government in depending on tax payers to build the projects. The projects are occurring to help the community for instance a hall is to help community when they have weddings and funerals, so if the projects are failing the community will be affected as they are benefiting from this project.

Construction Projects are the way of government to create jobs in SA as we are facing a high rate of un employment, if construction projects are failing people won�t have jobs that means more poverty I SA.


~We all need to ask ourselves how we can come out with the solution in avoiding the problem of township construction project failure

~we need to ask ourselves if we don�t stop the problem now how it will affect us in future

~How much damage is township construction project failure causing and how can we stop it

~What are the causes of township construction project failure?

It is important that we fight against township construction project failure as I believe it will affect our economy, if government can maybe implement programmes not based on construction to see what the situation can be, can we be able to solve the dilemma. South Africa is facing a big challenge of fighting poverty, disease, crime, bribery and politics off which they are are also the reasons of project failure.


Is to help minimize township construction project failure, it is also to help people to be aware how construction project failure affects them as the citizen, it is to recommend what we can do with this problem of township construction project failure, the building contractors that are still growing on the industry will know what to expect in the industry as it will also teach them how to avoid townships construction project failure.



1) To find out what can government do to minimise project failure?

2) What can people do to reduce project failure?

3) Find the causes of township construction project failure?

4) To find ways on how to avoid township construction project failure?

5) It will be easy to know who do we award construction projects to since the people who are being awarded this projects seems to have a problem of not knowing how to construction that ends up being demolished?




Method used

� Project occurring at EThekwini municipality more especially in the townships where visited ,The first one is at KwaMashu where by project to build a community hall has been awarded to three of the contactors in different phases and all the contractors or failed to finish the project

� Second one was the low cost housing at UMlazi where by houses were build but it was of the low standard and no quality of work.

� Reading articles online on what are the main causes of township construction project failure is also one of the methods I am using to gather the information for the report.

� Reading newspaper articles on project failure causes and people�s views about high rate of project failure




� In the assessment we have found that this problem of project failure are due to the lack of skills and knowledge to the people engaged in the projects, this includes local subcontractors that have got the right to subcontracts 10% of the job as stipulated on most of the tender documents .it has been found that projects are failing because of the bad management, lack of communications and decision made.

� One of the community members from Umlazi mentioned that due to the bribery that is happening nowadays projects are being awarded to a person who does not have experience where by contractor pays in order for him to be awarded the contract.

� Town ship projects fails because of the wrong decision made or delaying to make decision at the right time.

� Poor communication between the stakeholders

� Being generally disorganised

� Conflict objectives where by team members and management don�t agree with one thing

� In experienced project management

� Lack of resources where by the main contractors does not supply material on time for work to precede




Most of construction projects fail mainly due to bad or lack communication, resulting, we could not be able to maintain the schedule and cash flows, now these days too much overheads occur during the construction and it increase time to time when we could not Major reason for failure of project is lack of understanding of responsibilities by Consultant or the contractor.

Major Consultants just want to release themselves out of any liabilities during execution of the project and even contract supports them to full extent. But instead of enforcing themselves as supreme authority, they have to understand that every contractor is a partner to the project with financial interests as well. There exists blame game for every disputes existing in the project. And always it is the contractor who fails in this unless he decides to go to arbitration



Case study

A project located in Durban has been built for more than eight years but not getting finish, currently the is a 4th contractor that is engaged in a project after the other 3 contractors failed to finish the project. Previously the contractors that were involved in a project used to face difficulties with the community and those problems they were facing is also including politics problems, theft and vandalism.

A contractor that is now engaged on the project started it in 2011 and the duration of the project was only seven months it started in May and it was supposed to be finished by November 2011,The contractor employed the community labours as it is stipulated on the BOQ ,This is the way for government to create jobs ,but all in all they were forced to give a stipulated percentage of work to the local subcontractors and they ended up becoming subcontractor since the local subcontractors were doing most of work that the subcontractor is supposed to do.

Beside doing the main contractors work they were also facing the main contractor to pay them more than what is allowed on the BOQ because they were employing who works slow and not producing a good quality of work. The project was on hold for more than 3 times due to the strike the local subcontractors caused ,This has caused fear from the main contractors side that they decided not to go to site due to the the fear because they used to be threatened to be killed. The quality of work produced was not good but because they were given the job by one of the comrades they had to work on the project.

It came to a point where the main contractor decided to stop buying material for the subcontractors and it was then the work could not get done, they strike, the reports were sent to the client and it came to a point where by they had to be dismissed on site, even when they were no longer involve on a project the the main contractor is still struggling to finish the project due to the damages that were caused and besides those those damages the main. Contractor is not working according to the programme, they were given a ten days� notice to perform but it�s not happening as per picture attached below.


This means the community have impact on township construction project failure since they also want to do work themselves instead of people who got awarded the job, The project is still not finished and the main contractor is estimating to finish the project in November but he is still not pushing and buying, material the question is how will he finish this project.

More than above the project is on penalties of 2200 a day, this raise questions to me will he use his own money to construct without getting a profit? A May newspaper article had the story about this project as some of the community members are worried when this project will be finished because they can see for themselves there is no progress everyday on site.

At the moment the client department is on the process of taking the job away from the current contractor should he fail to meet the requirements as he has failed to meet the deadline? You may ask yourself since this is the fourth contractor to do the work will this project be completed successful or this will go on to the next contractor? We can only have the answers to the questions if the project will be done by the experience contractor which does not lack funds, skills, resources, knowledge and willingness to do what will better our country.





BEE company owners say they are forced to provide poor quality goods at inflated prices recoup the cost of paying mandatory kickbacks to corrupt politicians and government officials, Nine black businessmen told the mercury�s sister paper ,the star, that they were required to �grease the machinery �a term for kickbacks, or the face exclusion from multimillion rand contracts for dubious reasons.

In addition they say they are expected to regular donate huge sums of money to the ANC, its leagues, the SACP or even the opposition parties in charge of the province or municipality. It has been learnt that the kickbacks are paid in cash, through subcontractors given to relatives or the spouse of politician and civil servants or the winning bidders are expected to buy expensive gifts such as cars worth up to R1 million.

The businessmen spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, jeopardising their chances of getting bossiness in future or implicating themselves in criminal behaviour. Between them, they do business with the state at all levels and in all provinces. Their firms operate in key sectors of the economy such as infrastructure, management, consulting, property, transport, water reticulation and roads.

They admitted to inflating prices, paying kickbacks or knowing someone who did so ever the past years. However they denied it was an exclusively black practise, saying white directors were also guilty of the same crime. The kickbacks range between 5% to 10% of the total contract value, or up to 50% of the total value of the profit made, they say. The business men say the practise is particularly prevalent in eastern cape,kwazulu natal,limpompo and western cape .If they did not oblige ,they would be disqualified for questionable reasons by members of the bids evaluation and adjudication committees.


A Gauteng �based businessman whose company does business in four provinces, says the problem is corruption rather than BEE companies. �You pay to be introduced to political principals, you pay to be paid and you must also grease the machinery. These things come at a price� says the businessman�

�From the time you are called to make donations to today�s ANC and to tomorrow�s ANC .There also donations to the Youth League, Women�s and the SACP�

A Limpomp-o businessman says they have to pay kickbacks and recoup the money from public because almost all tenders in all provinces or municipalities were awarded to connected people. �Certain tenders of R5 m and above are reserved for(certain)people 2 m to R5 m are for mayors R 1m to R2 m are for the mayoral committee members and below are for the municipal managers, including 3 qoutations �the businessman said.

The star spoke to various owners of black companies in awake of ANC secretary Gwede Mantashe�s statement last week BEE companies used the state as their cash cow by supplying sub-standard goods abnormally huge fees.

Mantashe said last night the businessmen must report those things, otherwise we are destroying the state and the concept of BEE. In fact they are confirming the parasitic nature of BEE.SACP spoke man Malesela Maleka dismissed the businessmen claims as the �worst form of dishonesty�(Mercury 28 August 2012(Piet Pampedi)

This is what is also happening to the current township project I am talking about on the case study, The businessman is forced to give donations, in order for him to work in peace otherwise some of the community members starts asking questions how come he does not work on the project from his area saying they will ask the client to re advertise the tender since they want building contractors from the community to be awarded jobs .When you look at it this means if I�m from umlazi I can�t do a job at Ntuzuma than what if in 5 years to come Ntuzuma does not have project wont the go and look for jobs at umlazi,


Main entrance to the hall that has taken 8 years to be built.

Internal walls of the hall External south side of the hall




I will conclude by recommending things we can do to avoid townships construction project failure

� Try and minimise scope changes whereby designer keeps on changing the scope, which results in confusion of what the contractor needs to do.

� Defining the project purpose, this should be done by the main contractor to his subcontractors and the community, if everyone knows the purpose of getting the project finished it will be easy to understand why it has to be finished in time.

� Organise the project team, if the main contractor is organised and have the organised team there won�t be any delays because everyone will know when to do things, who comes first and why.

� Avoid bad language-good communication is the main key to a successful project if the project team communicate project failure can be avoided because where there�s good communication there�s good relationship which leads to a successful project.

Solution to a bad language is to write down communication plan ,who needs to be kept in the know, who get copied emails, writing down answers to all this questions before can help.

� Setting expectations like if the project team knows what to deliver, whereby they understand the scope and the whole plan of the project.


I also recommend that the following list of things are taken into considerations in order to minimize Project Failure


When establishing a project team, many of these skills will be needed. During selection the following should be considered by the project manager.

� A commitment by the project team to clearly defined and measurable project objectives

� Firms duties of teamwork, with shared financial motivation to pursue those objectives. These should involve a general presumption to achieve win win solutions to problems which may arise during the course of the project.

� The production of satisfactory evidence, such as realistic programme, a financial plan and adequate resources, from each team member, to show that they can contribute effectively to the project objectives. When choosing a team member, special attention to be paid to their:

~Relevant experience

~Technical qualification, Team attitude

~Communication skills

~Level of available supporting resources

� Defining clear lines of communication between the respective project team members

� The promotion of working environment which encourages an intercharge of ideas by rewarding initiatives which is ultimately benefit the project

� Ensuring that project team members are suitably located so as to facilitate regular contact with each other, as well as with their own organization.

� Projects should be awarded to people who are experience and capable of doing the job to minimise failure.



Each and every senior member of the project team should prepare a daily diary and filed in its own separate loose �leaf binder reference and convenient follow up. Diary must typically contain:

� A summary of forward meetings and people attending

� A summary of critical telephone conversation/messages

� Documents received or issued

� Programme status (work package progress or delays)

� Request for decisions or actions to be taken

� Critically instructions given or required.

This will help to know what they need, when and why in order to avoid delay problems, During the construction stage drawings and specification must be issued on time to the contractors, auctioning the consultants instruction list ,schedule and valuations.

At the post contract stage this must be taken into consideration by the stakeholders:

� Ensuring relevant integration within construction programmes

� Monitoring and reporting progress and arranging corrective action

� Ensuring provision and proper maintenance of records, test result, certificates, checklist, software and drawings.

� Arranging for or advising on maintenance staff trainaning,post-contract operation and specialist servicing contracts



Is to analyse the client�s objectives and requirements, assessment of their feasibility and assistance in the completion of project brief and establishment of the capital budget.

Formulation for the clients approval, of the strategic plan for achieving the stated objectives within the budget, including, where applicable, the quality assurance scheme.

Generally keeping the client informed, throughout the project ,on progress and problems,design,budgeting,construction variations and such other matters considered to be relevant. Participation in making recommendations to the client, if required in the following areas:

� The selection of the consultants as well as in the negotiation of their terms and conditions of engagement

� The appointment of contractors/subcontractors, including the giving of advice on the most suitable forms of tender and contract Preparations to clients approval to the following items:

� The overall project programme embracing site acquisition, relevant investigation,planning,pre design, construction and handover /occupation stages

� Proposals for architectural and engineering services. The project manager will monitor progress and initiate appropriate action on all submission concerned with planning approvals and statutory requirements.

� The project budget and relevant cash flows, giving due consideration to matters likely to affect the viability of the project development.

Finalisation of clients brief and its confirmation to the consultants providing them with all existing and, if necessary any supplementary data on surveys, site

investigations, adjoining owners adverse right or restriction and site accessibility/traffic constraints


Recommending to client and securing approval for any modifications o variations to agree brief, approved design programmes and budgets resulting from discussion and reviews involving the design team and other consultants.

Setting up the management and administrative structure for the project and thereby defining:

� Responsibilities and duties ,as well as lines of reporting for all parties

� Produces for clear and efficient communication

� Systems and producers for issuing construction instructions,drawings,certificates,schedules and valuations and the preparation and submission of reports and relevant documentary returns




The research conducted on township construction project failure is valuable since it will help most building contractors to grow, it will also make society have projects happening in their communities serious. Government is spending tax payers money doing all projects that ends up being finish the solution given here will save tax payers that are being wasted and maybe the money will be used to create more jobs besides through construction project, maybe by doing programmes. The money used to do this projects that are failing can be used to help the poor and try to develop our country. Projects should be awarded to people who are experience and capable of doing the job to minimise failure.