Causes of Delay in Abu Dhabi Construction Industry

Subject: Industry
Pages: 55
Words: 16910
Reading time:
58 min
Study level: College


The building and construction projects carry on experiencing delays on account of a variety of factors. The impacts of these delays manifest themselves in the form of amplified costs and operating expenses on a project and delay claims are perhaps the most challenging form of construction dispute lawsuits to deal with. Most of the cases of construction disputes are somehow connected to delay in project operations or completion. A lot of documented researches have been carried out previously in relation to exploring the reasons for time overruns in construction projects. The existing documented text concerning the reasons for delays points toward some resemblance shared amongst the building projects and infrastructural projects.

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The previously conducted researches have primarily investigated the major issues inducing delays in the UAE construction industry in general. this dissertation is to distinguish the key factors that bring about time overruns in infrastructural projects and to put forward recommendations about how to cope with or mitigate the impacts of the difficulty within the construction industry based in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. For this purpose, both primary and secondary research is carried out to find the fundamental causes of delay.


Background Information

The Construction Industry is one of the most prosperous sectors in the entire global economic arena. This business sector is primarily based in the urbanized setting and is relates to design structuring and building of real estate belongings. The restoration work in any extant structure or making certain renovations in the same also is considered under the Construction Industry functioning domain. This form of trade can be classified into three fundamental groupings namely:

  • Construction work relating to heavy and civil engineering – The execution and operations of large construction projects like bridge building, road-making, etc are put under this bracket.
  • General construction – The ventures that involve the construction of real estate properties such as housing or commercial real estate belongings, etc.
  • Construction projects related to specialty trades – Construction jobs that have to do with assembling up of specialized articles namely, functions connected to electrical jobs, woodwork, etc.

In every society, a large fraction of the resources are utilized by the construction industry and in response, it generates a greater quantity of resources. The construction sector incorporates the three chief segments which are comprised of specialty trade contractors, civil and heavy engineering contractors, and finally general contractors. The process of Construction in reality is a process that involves the structuring or assembling of built infrastructure.

We often come across several structures, bridges, roads and residential buildings surrounding us. It must be noted that all this necessitates loads of effort, like setting up, development, management and several others process which goes into shaping up the built infrastructure. The construction business sector is wholly responsible for carrying out all processes starting from planning to implementation and also maintenance and restoration.

The construction sector is one of the most momentous contributors to the competitiveness and prosperity of an economy. A modern, prolific and competitive built infrastructural situation provides a key impetus to the productiveness of the economy, and the construction business sector has a significant part to play in shaping up the built infrastructure in a resourceful and economical way. In fact, every industry throughout the economy relies on some or the other components of the built infrastructure such as the roadways, railway networks, powerhouses and telecommunication networks to uphold their competitiveness, and private investors closely analyze the significance of the built infrastructural condition as one of the crucial attributes in the process of making their location decisions.

The competence of these industries also relies on the productivity and the character of the built infrastructural environment. The flexibility, mobility and value of the workforce and the effectiveness of corporations depend on the availability of accurately configured and positioned infrastructural facilities. The design, assembly and operation of the built infrastructural backdrop have other noteworthy economic impacts, such as, on the rate at which resources and assets are utilized.

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The rationale for the Research

Construction delays have turned out to be so widespread that they are seen in just about every other construction business venture in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. These setbacks disrupt the punctual conclusion of a project resulting in superfluous overheads in terms of time as well as operating costs. Operation schedules for a project are at all times dynamic and are prone to alterations and modifications.

Consequently, the building and construction projects carry on experiencing delays on account of a variety of factors. A number of controllable and uncontrollable aspects may negatively have an effect on the plans relating to the project timeline and induce delays which in turn have adverse impacts on the performance variables of the project. They are in addition greatly responsible for construction claims (Abdul-Rahman et al., 2006).

The impacts of these delays manifest themselves in the form of amplified costs and operating expenses on a project and delay claims are perhaps the most challenging form of construction dispute lawsuits to deal with (Hughes, 2003). As per Calkins (2006), most of the cases of construction disputes are somehow connected to delay in project operations or completion. Contractors are likely to regard most delay occurrences as the liability of the owner, while on the other hand owners often find it easy to dub delays as contractor-induced, the third party –caused or contemporaneous. With the purpose of improving the state of affairs, it is primarily essential to recognize and acknowledge the major reasons for the delays involved.

Aibinu & Odeyinka (2006) asserted that time overruns or delays may be classified into three groupings:

  1. Control by the construction owner (Client)
  2. Control by the subcontractor
  3. Where none of the parties have any control

A lot of documented researches have been carried out previously in relation to exploring the reasons for time overruns in construction projects. However, there still exists a wide gap in the perceptions about the reasons for delays in infrastructural ventures. The existing documented text concerning the reasons for delays points toward some resemblance shared amongst the building projects and infrastructural projects.

Certainly, similarities exist; however, some recognized explanations pertaining to building projects may not be applicable for the infrastructural projects with the same amount of relevance. The previously conducted researches have primarily investigated the major issues inducing delays in the UAE construction industry in general. This study concentrates its attention particularly on the construction sector based in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and attempts to find an explanation for the important reasons and causes which underlie the delays in the completion of infrastructural projects. (Aibinu & Odeyinka 2006)

With growingly more construction and building plans being embarked on in the Abu Dhabi region, this study has greater implications both academically as well as practically, principally in offering insights about the grounds on which construction delays occur and also on the issues that have need of further attention in terms of enhancing the productivity of infrastructural projects. The findings of this particular research initiative would be of much assistance to those involved in the construction industry of Abu Dhabi henceforward to cope with such form of delays by treating the problems at their root.

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Aim of the Research

The primary purpose of this dissertation is to distinguish the key factors that bring about time overruns in infrastructural projects and to put forward recommendations about how to cope with or mitigate the impacts of the difficulty within the construction industry based in the emirate of Abu Dhabi (Primary Research).

Objectives of the Research

The main objectives of the research can be summarized are as follows:

  • To present a comprehensive overview of the construction industry. (Secondary Research);
  • To procure knowledge relating to the construction delays;
  • To investigate and scrutinize the framework in which the delays in the Abu Dhabi construction projects occur;
  • To classify the reasons for delays;
  • To find out the factors inducing delays in the infrastructure projects;
  • To assess the influences of delays on the projects; and
  • To identify systems and strategies to cope with those delays.

Theoretical Framework

A theoretical framework is a keystone on which the whole of the research initiative is founded. Through this framework, we would attempt to look at the various kinds of variables with regard to construction business endeavors that could influence projects’ operational status and evaluate how the association amongst these variables can be ascertained. Construction-oriented data are to be procured from governmental accounts, various documents issued by public outfits like the chamber of commerce Dubai, UAE industrial statistics reports published by the Ministry of Finance and Industry and various websites such as the portals of Athens Library, Herriot Watt Library for the preliminary framework assessment.


What are the primary reasons for time overruns or delays in infrastructural projects, their categories and which business entity involved in the project is accountable for each kind of delay in the construction industry based in the emirate of Abu Dhabi?

Research Methodology

The research will principally be constituted of two parts: Literature review and Survey Questionnaire.

Literature Review

This investigation will evaluate the situation based on the findings of others in relation to the reasons for delays in infrastructural projects. It will then present an account of how other researchers have perceived and explicated the topic. The pertinent literature materials will also be of assistance in structuring the hypothesis and research design. The main resources relied upon for procurement of text for the literature review are textbooks, journals, prior research documents, published statistics, reports, the internet, etc.

Survey Questionnaire

To realize the primary objective of this research carrying out survey research using a questionnaire is necessary. A carefully constructed questionnaire survey research approach would be adopted so as to gather essential information about the fundamental reasons underlying occurrences of delays in the infrastructural projects in Abu Dhabi. The questionnaire will be sent to 50 professionals from various organizations and the responses to the questionnaire would be carefully scrutinized. Conclusion and recommendations will be included in this document based on the analysis of these questionnaires.

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Research Design

Research Design can be characterized as “the science and art of planning procedures for conducting studies to get the most valid findings” (RTC Portland, 2008). In this investigation both basic and exploratory research design approaches would be adhered to.

Data Collection

A two-phase data gathering approach, namely: Primary & Secondary would be employed in this research initiative to collect the desired information with relevance to the objectives of this research. A Survey questionnaire would be made use of to gather the primary data. The secondary data source would be in the form of various published journals and articles and previous literature.

Introduction section of the study, the fundamental approach of the entire dissertation relating to the motive of Investigating the Root Causes of Delay in Infrastructure Projects in Abu Dhabi is discussed.

Literature Review

The Construction Industry

The building and construction industry in its capacity is viewed as one of the most essential drivers of the productivity and prosperity of the economy of a nation. A state-of-the-art and industrious built infrastructural environment is a primary contributor to the efficiency of a business and the construction industry plays an extremely important role in lending a proper shape to the built infrastructure in a resourceful and cost-effective approach.

Corporations and Businesses throughout the economic framework depend on the output of the built infrastructure like roadways, railway networks, power stations and telecommunication networks to remain competent, and private financiers hold the worth of the built environment as one of the most decisive attributes in the course of pondering over their location preferences. The competence of businesses also counts on the efficiency and the contributing attributes of the built environment backdrops.

The flexibility, portability and worth of the labor force and the productivity of companies hinge on the ease of use of the suitably configured and positioned infrastructural conveniences. The planning, assemblage, operation and execution of the construction business ventures have other significant economic implications, like, the pace at which possessions and assets are consumed. (Aibinu & Odeyinka 2006)

This business segment is principally anchored in the urbanized backdrop and it has a lot to do with plan structuring and construction of real estate wherewithal. The refurbishment work in any already built structure or making a few alterations in the same is also regarded to come under the Construction Industry’s operational domain.

The construction industry is constituted of primarily three key segments. The construction of the building segment incorporates contractors, typically referred to as general contractors, who undertake projects related to the construction of residential, industrial, commercial, and other buildings. In Heavy and civil engineering construction contractors usually undertake projects which concern infrastructural components such as sewers, streets and freeways, bridges, subways, tunnels, and other such projects. The third segment known as Specialty trade contractors carries out specialized processes related to utility construction such as woodwork, paint jobs, plumbing, and electrical installations. (Zaneldin 2006)

The contribution of the construction industry is around 14% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and assumes a critical role in the progress of the economy (Faridi & El-Sayegh, 2006). The UAE at present has one of the fastest-growing economies in the global market. It stands as the most vibrant and vastly emerging economy across the whole of the Middle East. Two issues that have entirely transformed the significance of UAE in the province are those concerning Oil exportation and foreign investment in the industries. The substantiation of this fact comes from a recent account by the Ministry of Finance and Industry, where it states that nominal GDP climbed up by 35 percent in the year 2006 reaching $175 billion, as contrasted with only the $130 billion in the year of 2005.

Abu Dhabi stands in its role as the capital city of the United Arab Emirates and next to Dubai it is the most densely inhabited urbanized zone of UAE. UAE possesses 9% of the world’s established oil reserves (98.2bn barrels) and more or less 5% of the entire natural gas (5.8 trillion cu meters) the world has. UAE’s affluent hydrocarbon assets contribute to the fact that it has one of the highest GDP per capita across the globe.

Abu Dhabi holds the greater part of such resources with statistics indicating that it has 95% of the oil and 92% of gas reserves out of UAE’s entire possessions. In keeping with some new information divulged by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gross Domestic Product for the emirates is likely to touch $159 billion by the end of 2010 with the contribution of non-oil dealings going up from $44 billion to $72 billion. (Zalendin 2006) Investment figures are massive with a staggering $136 billion mark for construction and building industry, $55 billion for the tourism industry, “$9.5 billion for the water and electricity sector and $33 billion for the production industry.” (Zalendin 2006)

Per capita GDP for Abu Dhabi is expected to be $54,500 for this year as per the standing projections of the ADCCI. Such a massive projected Per Capita GDP is higher than anywhere in the whole world. The private investment segment is also renascent and is likely to strengthen its contribution to the “GDP from 17 to 20 per cent” (Zalendin 2006) in the upcoming times.

Construction sector is looked upon as a fundamental industry on which the growth of the economy depends to a large extent. The economic progress of a nation and its development status is by and large based on the eminence of its construction businesses and their competence (Hegab & Smith 2007). In relation to projections, the UAE construction sector is valued at approximately $221billion (Mathias, 2006) and in spite of the economic turmoil all across the globe, UAE appears to be devoted to embarking on a number of ventures in the fields of housing, tourism, business and commercial facilities, learning and health care services, transportation networks, utilities, communications, docks and airfields which are on the edge of providing the transformation spree of urban settings in the times to come, as mentioned by a research report dubbed as, “UAE Construction Industry Outlook to 2012“. (Mathias, 2006)

With respect to the Gulf expanse Abu Dhabi is currently overshadowed by the overwhelming construction profile in both Doha and Dubai. However, Doha’s $65 billion arrangement for non-energy expenditures is without a doubt on a smaller range and Dubai’s building investments could be curtailed from its existing rate of exponential escalation on the condition that supplies surpass the demand by the following year. That will almost certainly put Abu Dhabi in the pole position by the year 2010 on account of its profundity of financial reserves making sure that real estate development carries on without interruption and is not affected by vacillations in the oil markets.

There is also a dedicated focus on drawing level in Abu Dhabi, more than that in Dubai or perhaps even Doha. This is due to the reason that a decade long infrastructural development activity has only of late finished and considering the prosperous nature of the city, the urban scenario appears to be old-fashioned and thus has a strong requirement of enhancing its infrastructural status in line with global standards.

However, it is important to remember that Rome was not put together in just a day, and similarly neither is the construction industry. Abu Dhabi’s infrastructural scenario is being enhanced in stages and ever since 2006 the Abu Dhabi construction industry made an appearance on the world map with a succession of incredibly large and sensational ventures, catching the attention of the entire world.

The state-owned Al-Dar Properties’ multi-billion dollar development initiatives like the Yas Island which was a $40 billion development project included business towers and housing apartments, theme parks and sports Venuses, incorporating an autodrome which is to be launched with a new Formula One race in November 2009. In addition, Salam Street development project valued at $1.4 billion, a $0.40 billion scheme to fabricate the UAE University’s new campus in Al Ain, Al Raha Beach Development worth $14.8 billion, Al Reem Island Development worth $9.6 billion, the Abu Dhabi Airport extension standing at $6.8 billion are merely a few of the mammoth development schemes in progress as the emirate stands witness to the progressing and continuing construction bang in Abu Dhabi as articulated in the MEED and AME Info. Moreover, MEED reported that construction contracts worth$7bn would be awarded to Abu Dhabi in 2009.

When considering the projects under construction, the three issues, time, cost and quality constitute the most important standards that are typically employed to determine the projects performance. With reference to the time aspect, there are two essential requirements. At the outset, there is a genuine necessity to systematize and deliver the output so that it is equipped for commissioning and moving in as indicated by the client’s original requirement. Secondly, there is a true necessity to lay down key or target dates that need to be met if the endeavour is to be completed within its stipulated deadline. Important dates or targets for the project taken as a whole, take account of the date for contract credentials completion, the date of control of the project location, the date of construction finishing point and the date for final delivery of the occupancy-ready building.

The timeline for construction projects starting from conceptualization to the finishing point is emerging as a key factor in the construction business sector. Clients or other trade entities are no longer satisfied simply with cost considerations and appropriate functional performance measures in their projects. Rising interest rates, price rises and other business pressures, among other issues, imply that in a lot of cases it is most economical when a project deliverables are accomplished within the shortest feasible time (Hegab & Smith 2007).

Construction delay is regarded to be one of the most recurrent difficulties in the construction business sphere. The term ‘delay’ in this context refers to an act or occurrence that lengthens the requisite timeline to carry out the assignments under a particular contract. It more often than not manifests in the form of added days of work or as occurs by the reason of a deferred commencement of an activity.

Delay is a significant consideration for all parties engaged in particular business dealings, and diverse methods of investigating schedule delay bring about different consequences for the clients and contractors. Delays have an unconstructive effect on the various business entities involved in a project including business owners, design experts, construction specialists, clients as well as other stakeholders. The principle ideals of any construction project are “time, cost, quality and safety”. (Faridi 2006) These standards are put at risk by occurrences of delays. Delays give rise to lengthening of the project timeline, which results in additional overheads that drive up the cost.

Delay is a severe issue which needs to be coped with in every construction project and the scope of the consequences of construction delays in some instances are not confined to merely the projects or perhaps the overall construction industry, but takes it toll on the entire economy of a nation. As a consequence, it is significant to recognize the most important reasons for the occurrences of delay in the Abu Dhabi construction sector in order to be capable of finding ways to react to them by avoiding them, or as a minimum, moderating their impact.

As per Faridi and El-Sayegh (2006), nearly half of all the construction ventures in the UAE undergo delays and are unable to deliver the projects in good time. Infrastructural projects in the emirate of Abu Dhabi were responsible to a considerable extent for the above mentioned fraction of projects which were incapable of completing within the stipulated time. Before 2008, construction contracts of the emirate used to allow some dispensations towards local contractors.

This fact was largely responsible for the late conclusion of the infrastructural assignments in view of the fact that most of the construction businesses operating within the emirate are local. But in 2008, the regime of Abu Dhabi bespoke the new contracts so as to adhere to best available practices in the procurement approach and the new Contracts are that of FIDIC 1999 Edition with some amendments. (Cole, 2008)

Most construction activities are carried out or coordinated by general contractors, who specialize in a particular category of construction projects like housing or commercial construction. They shoulder complete responsibility for the entire project works, with the exception of some specific pieces of the work that is usually left out in the general contract. Although general contractors may or may not choose to complete a part of the entire project specifications by putting their own workforce into action, they usually contract out most of the project work to subcontractors who specialize in a particular domain such as heavy construction or specialty trade contractors.

Specialty trade contractors generally carry out jobs which are usually related to only one trade, such as paint jobs, woodwork, or electrical installations, or of more than one closely associated trade, like plumbing and heating. Beyond aligning their jobs with that of the works related to the other trades, specialty trade contractors share no liability for the structure en bloc. They procure job orders from general contractors, designers and engineers, or property proprietors. Restoration or remodelling projects are almost always undertaken on direct order from proprietors, residents, architects, or rental negotiators. (Kumaraswamy 2003)

In all societies a sizable share of the assets and wherewithal are consumed by the construction industry activities which in turn produces a larger magnitude of important infrastructural resources. The construction sector integrates three principal segments of the construction markets which are constituted by general civil engineering contractors and heavy engineering contractors, and finally specialty trade contractors. The operational procedure of building and construction initiatives as a matter of fact is an elaborate process that entails the configuration or bringing together the elements of the built infrastructure.

Quite a number of buildings, structures, bridges, streets and housing apartments surrounding us have come to be integral parts of our daily life. It must be observed that the construction and maintenance of all such items calls for immaculate effort taking processes, like conception, development, implementation, management and several others practices which is required for the structuring and apposite configuration of the built environment. The construction business segment is, in every respect, in charge of implementing, working and running of all procedures ranging from planning activities to operations, executions and also maintenance and restoration work. (Gibson 2008)

The Industry and the Economy in UAE

The contemporary UAE business sector made a mark on the global economic map during the later half of the seventies, which stood witness to the fabrication of several large corporations as a result of the increase in oil values in addition to the strong commitment of the national authorities to put together a national economy of the essence. Every business outfit is obligated by Company Act No 8/1984 and its modifications to sustain adequate financial accounts of their businesses and to provide factual and correct financial statements to the national and state authorities. Only a few corporations instituted by and coming under the jurisdiction of Amiree decrees are exempted from the aforementioned Company Act (Aljifri, 2008).

The UAE is one of the most active and a vibrantly emerging nation across the whole of the Middle East. The economy of the nation primarily provided with a strong impetus by its affluent oil wealth, in the past few years has stood witness an unmatched development and transformation over a period of time. Oil / Gas exportation and foreign investments have been the two most significant features that are responsible for entirely transforming the status of the UAE on the world map. The UAE has now emerged as one of the most spirited economies in the Middle East when looking at the recent phenomenon of extensive foreign investments in the region.

The brisk economic growth rate of UAE has been driving an unparalleled construction flourish and infrastructural progress in all parts of the nation that are drawing in investors from all across the world. Majority of investments are canalized towards shaping up infrastructure for tourism and hospitality, retail and healthcare sectors. The national administration’s attempts to branch out from oil-based returns to other sectors are likely to provide a stronger momentum to the infrastructural investments in the nation in future times. It is projected that the UAE will carry on drawing in a major portion of foreign investments and is likely to become known as the doorway to enter the up-and-coming gulf markets. (Holman 2004)

Abu Dhabi stands in its role as the capital city of the United Arab Emirates and next to Dubai it is the most densely inhabited urbanized zone of UAE. UAE possesses 9% of the world’s established oil reserves (98.2bn barrels) and more or less 5% of the entire natural gas (5.8 trillion cu meters) the world has. UAE’s affluent hydrocarbon assets contribute to the fact that it has one of the highest GDP per capita across the globe. Abu Dhabi holds the greater part of such resources with statistics indicating that it has 95% of the oil and 92% of gas reserves out of UAE’s entire possessions.

In keeping with some new information divulged by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gross Domestic Product for the emirates is likely to touch $159 billion by the end of 2010 with the contribution of non-oil dealings going up from $44 billion to $72 billion. Investment figures are massive with a staggering $136 billion mark for the construction and building industry, $55 billion for the tourism industry, $9.5 billion for the water and electricity sector and $33 billion for the production industry.

Per capita GDP for Abu Dhabi is expected to be $54,500 for this year as per the standing projections of the ADCCI. Such a massive projected Per Capita GDP is higher than anywhere in the whole world. The private investment segment is also renascent and is likely to strengthen its contribution to the GDP from 17 to 20 percent in the upcoming times. (Faridi & El-Sayegh, 2006)

The contribution of the construction industry is around 14% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and assumes a critical role in the progress of the economy (Faridi & El-Sayegh, 2006). The UAE at present has one of the fastest-growing economies in the global market. It stands as the most vibrant and vastly emerging economy across the whole of the Middle East. Two issues that have entirely transformed the significance of UAE in the province are those concerning Oil exportation and foreign investment in the industries. The substantiation of this fact comes from a recent account by the Ministry of Finance and Industry, where it states that nominal GDP climbed up by 35 percent in the year 2006 reaching $175 billion, as contrasted with only the $130 billion in the year of 2005.

In the Gulf province, the construction scenario in Abu Dhabi is at present put in the shade by overwhelming construction bustle in places like Doha and Dubai. However, Doha’s $65 billion arrangement for non-energy expenses is without a doubt encompasses a smaller scope of activities. Furthermore, Dubai’s construction expenditure may be reduced from its existing levels of exponential escalation in view of the fact that supplies may exceed the demand within the subsequent years to come. These issues may perhaps lead to Abu Dhabi assuming the leading role in the construction arena by the year 2010 with its profundity of economic possessions making certain that real estate and the construction industry continues to flourish without interruption from variations in the oil sector.

Another important factor to be noted here is the aspect of catch-up in Abu Dhabi, which is considerably more than that seen in the case of Dubai and perhaps even in Doha. This is due to the fact that a decade-long abeyance of development initiatives has just ended of late. Considering its affluence of economic possessions, it can be plainly said that the urban scenery of Abu Dhabi is completely obsolete and is in dire need for progress keeping in line with international standards. The new Shuaa Capital and Colliers International investigation of UAE real estate scenario draw attention to the tremendously high degree of occupancy in Abu Dhabi at the moment with figures indicating a supply of merely 1,100 units in the present year whereas the same records demonstrate that demands have been driven up to 21,900 units.

Zaneldin (2005), in his research report asserts that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regime is spending a considerable sum of money each year on the development of new infrastructural facilities in order to enhance the built environment of the nation. Contemporary urban infrastructure have been emerging with a thump from what were previously unknown barren deserts, interconnected by a enormous set of links in the form of supreme quality road networks and are connected to the other parts of the planet by means of state of the art airports and harbours. Housing apartments, learning facilities, health care amenities, shopping malls, telecommunications towers, electricity and water related utilities, sumptuous hotels, and recreational services have come up within an extremely short span of time. Most of these large scale and attractive projects are being constructed all across the country and are particularly coming up fast in places like the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Recent activities in the Middle East expanse together with reorganization of economic frameworks, materialization of the World Trade Organization and the mounting costs of oil are likely to give way to an never before growth structure in the construction business arena, and, in particular, is going to have an effect on the tourism and the housing industries as well. As a result, a large number of huge-scale business ventures are at present already underway or in the conceptualization and contract-procuring stage across UAE and particularly Abu Dhabi.

Time Overruns in Construction Projects

The notion of time is one of the three critical aspects of a stipulated contractual document in the construction business with the other two being cost and quality of work. To present an ideal case it may be said that a faultless project would be executed within the stipulated time, would adhere to the specified budget and would not overshoot it and that the deliverables of the project would be of high quality as well. Experiences in the construction arena substantiate the fact that, at best, only two out of the three factors may be realized in reality with a lot of effort and achieving all the considerations is nearly impossible. Owing to the contractual intricacies involved in a construction business in addition to the various trades and professional spheres implicated in a construction projects, they are exposed to the vulnerability relating to the heavy time related demands.

The well known maxim ‘Time is money’, is quite relevant to the construction business and also is considered as a very essential component of all construction planning procedures. It has the potential to impinge on all contractual obligations relating to the various stakeholders in a business endeavour. The time permitted for construction activities is a central aspect of deliberation for both the project contractors and the project owners or clients. Time delay or overruns can prove to be expensive for all the business entities involved in the construction sector.

Stumpf, (2000) in his dissertation, defined the term delay as an action or occurrence that lengthens the timeline necessary to carry out the assignments stipulated in a contract. It typically manifests itself as added days of work or in terms of a deferred commencement of a project activity. He asserts that delay is an extremely important consideration in construction project planning, and that various methods for evaluating schedule delays issues bring about diverse consequences for all the different stakeholders involved in a construction project. (Stumpf 2000)

Construction delays in project activities have emerged as an essential component of the project’s lifecycle. Despite the fact that there exists superior technological tools, and better understanding of project management techniques by the authorities, construction projects carry on suffering from delay risks and project completion milestones continue to get deferred. Delays and time overruns in projects is regarded to be one of the most persistent challenges in the construction business sector. Such issues have an undesirable impact on project efficiency with respect to time, cost, and quality and have safety implications as well.

The consequences of construction delays are not limited to just the project or maybe even the construction industry only, and may take a toll on the economy in general in a nation like UAE, where the construction sector assumes a key role in its progress and is accountable for 14% of the GDP. Consequently, it is indispensable to characterize the most noteworthy reasons for delay occurrences with the aim of coping with or at least mitigating their adverse effects on construction projects. Researches in the field divulge that nearly 50% of the construction ventures in UAE suffer from delay occurrences and are not delivered on time.

Design sanctioning processes, insufficient prior planning and unpunctuality of the client’s decision-making activities are the primary reasons underlying delay occurrences in the UAE construction sector. Construction projects are not exposed to challenges on account of delays in just one particular stretch or phase of the project, but may have an impact on all phases of the same (Al-Saggaf, 1998).

Delay harmfully takes its toll on project entities counting owners or clients, design experts, construction specialists, end users and other implicated stakeholders. As mentioned before, the primary targets of a construction project are time, cost, quality and safety. These goals and objectives stand compromised on account of delay occurrences. Delays lead to lengthening of project timelines, which causes additional overheads that in terms of both time and the costs. Delay or time overrun is a severe setback that has to be coped with in every construction endeavor. Much importance is now given to project deliverables to be realized within the stipulated project timeline caused by the present trends of directing the majority of projects towards the fast paced approach.

It is fundamental to the interests of all business stakeholders that delays, or their consequences, are coped with effectively. Even pretty small recovery efforts to recuperate through the adverse impacts of a delayed schedule are expected to have a momentous impact on the economic returns of those implicated. In view of the fact that delay is related to cost as well as time overrun, the reasons for the fast-paceddelay have been a substance for contemplation for most construction professionals. (Faridi 2006)

Reasons for Delay or Time Overrun

There are a variety of explanations on why delay occurrences transpire. In general, it may be said that they may occur as a result of strikes, amendments made to plans at the last moment, inefficient organization and deficiency of construction material, malfunctioning or inaccessibility of equipment, altered specifications, natural phenomenon and so forth. Diversity instances and conflicting interests and the relative implications of issues amongst clients, owners, professionals and contractors and other implicated stakeholders are important considerations in this regard. Furthermore, delay variables are often interrelated, making the circumstances even more intricate and challenging.

The relative significance of other delay issues such as unanticipated ground conditions should also be taken into account. Unanticipated ground conditions, and other project-related features, require explicit management intervention in order to offset the adverse effects of construction delays. The large extent of incongruity that exists amongst the factions of clients, professionals and contractors is suggestive of their experiences, potential bigotries and dearth of effectual communication processes.

Al-Moumani (2000), assert that productivity is one of the most decisive factors in estimating or calculating both proposed and realized project lengths, and that while project related issues must be employed to simulate the proposed project timelines, other non-scope issues also are required to be included in the model, in laying down the baselines and in regulating for certain priorities, competencies and drives of the cooperating project contributors. The findingsof various researches also corroborate that productivity and various other non-scope issues such as effectual communication processes should complement the project-oriented aspects and should also be integrated with the construction timeline estimation models.

Lowered productivity is a major contributor to project delay occurrences. It has also been proposed that enhancing productivity is a valuable and effective approach towards coping with delay occurrences. The prospects of enhancement work is echoed in the result that efficiency rates in the UK differed from one project site to another by to the extent of three to one. It is apparent that there exist divergences in the discernment of various project entity factions and this leads to the manifestation of construction delays.

Possible delay causes were established from a comprehensive literature review and the findings of various research initiatives. These reasons were categorized into eight factor grouping which are as follows:

  1. External factors.
  2. Plant/equipment-related
  3. Labour-related;
  4. Materials-related;
  5. Contractor-related;
  6. Design team-related;
  7. Client-related; and
  8. Project-related

Frimpong (2003), in his research findings highlighted the prioritization of construction-time-influencing aspects which can be integrated by means of an information system, which in turn could facilitate efficient scheduling of project lengths. He employed 12 project scope-oriented variables, like net floor area, to fabricate this scrupulous model. In addition he had also formerly scrutinized a sum of 33 time-controlling variables which had been established from the available research literature. From the latter, he found out the ten most critical variables, comprising of factors like “client and designer’s priority on construction time”. (Kumarswamy 1998) He also observed the ten least significant variables from this assortment of 33 variables, comprising of factors in the likes of the “form of contract and its suitability for the project”. (Kumarswamy 1998)

An examination of the underlying connection between the “building team, procurement approaches and project performance” (Kumarswamy 1998) variables by Odeh and Battaineh (2002) did not produce enough substantiation to corroborate the assertion that alternative procurement approaches curtails construction project durations. Comparable to this study revelation is the finding of the research conducted by Ng (2004) in Australia, which divulged that the nature of contract does not influence the pace of the construction project activities, and that quite a few client-related aspects turned out to be more crucial, specially in terms of the clients’ or their representatives’ association with the project team. Turner (2002) reported that the four issues influencing construction timelines, performances and best practice across the globe were:

  1. Construction management efficiency;
  2. The competence of the owner and the client’ s representative with regards to developing and upholding constructive project team rapports with the construction management authorities as well as with the design team;
  3. Design team’s competence in interacting with the construction management authorities and owner’s representatives;
  4. A few issues explicating project capacity and complexity.

Findings of research work carried out by Frimpong and Oluwoye (2003) discovered that economic, natural occurrences and materials-related issues were primarily responsible for the delays in groundwater related projects in Ghana.

Various researchers concur that the reasons for delay occurrences may be grouped into eight realistic classes. The contractor’s category is comprised of reasons for delays which are principally attributable to contractor activity. Such factors consist of the accessibility of resources, management approach and level of experience. The three most significant resources for all construction projects worldwide were identified as workforce, materials and equipment.

Contractors are required to make sure that all such resources are accessible and can be allocated throughout the course of the project whenever it is required. Factors like skill sets and the competence of the workforce, efficiency, accessibility and the dependability of apparatus / equipment have an effect on the project operations at all phases of construction. In addition, the contractors’ level of experience and their management approach also influence the project activities to a large extent.

The factors falling under the consultant’s bracket are associated with the planning activities, developing a blueprint, assessment and quality control. As a consequence of the temperament of a construction initiative, it has to take care of many amendments made to drawings / specifications, alterations in material consumption plans, etc. The consultants are the professionals who are held accountable for such causes. The role of the client in a construction venture diverges appreciably dependent on the nature of the project as well as the type of construction contract.

In each instance, there are numerous reasons for delay occurrences which are attributable to the activities of the owner or client. One such significant reason is the owner’s time-consuming decision-making procedures. Other reasons for project delays have been identified as the last minute amendments made to the materials type and requirements, unwarranted bureaucracy and the impractical and unfeasible contract length forced by the project owner. Furthermore, some reasons for delays are associated with financing implications, for which both the client as well as contractor are equally answerable.

These reasons assume a very vital role in the smooth execution of the project operations and the delivery of the completed project in good time. Factors linked with the contractual affiliation, setting up and scheduling are critical for majority of the construction projects. All the business entities implicated in a construction initiative are accountable for their particular responsibilities at various phases of the project execution. This commences right from the theoretical phases till the practical realizations of the deliverables. The setting up and scheduling of each construction initiative relies a great deal on the legislative factors. In many instances the various stakeholders implicated in a construction project should scrutinize various service utilities (underground/over ground), “like telecommunication cabling, water/electricity/gas channels”, (Faridi 2006) etc. before they embark on the construction phase.

A lot also depends on the positioning of the project site. Sanctions and authorizations are necessary in nearly all cases. Participants in the construction initiative must be conscious of such regulatory controls and calculate the requisite time and effort required for such activities. There exist a few reasons for delay occurrences over which no business entity has effective control. One such factor from the perspective of the UAE construction industry is the “meteorological conditions, which in UAE are extreme”. (Faridi 2006)

Prior Research Works

In view of the fact that delay is related to both cost and time overrun, the reasons delay have evolved as a important subject of contemplation for various construction professionals and a theme of investigation for researchers. Thus a vast amount of literature exists on this subject. However, it should be noted that examination of delays are typified as compound and challenging on account of the huge number of processes that need to be taken care of in any construction initiative. (Faridi 2006)

Ranking Based on Contractors’ and Consultants’ Perspectives

Ranking of the cause of delay

Ranking of the cause of delay
Illustration A: Ranking of the cause of delay.

The contractors and consultants are the two primary contributors to the execution of a construction project. Consequently, the data were initially evaluated bearing in mind the point of view of the contractors and consultants one by one. The rate of occurrences of the responses (Very Important, Important, Less Important, and Not Important) for each of the specific reasons for delays have been generated from the 29 complete responses that were received from the survey.

By making use of equation (1), weights and the calculated frequencies, the Relative Importance Index for each of the specific factors were calculated and are presented in Table 1 in conjunction with the consequent ranking grades. From the evaluation of the survey findings, it was identified that preparation and sanctioning of designs and drawings, insufficient preliminary planning of the project activities and lateness on part of the owner’s decision making procedures were highly ranked by both the contractors as well as the consultants. Factors such as fabrication and sanctioning of designs and drawings, efficiency of the workforce and inappropriate leadership approaches of construction /project managers are held equally important by both contractors as well as consultants.

Although the two entities appeared to have the same opinion on a certain number of causes, it was also observed that there existed some overt divergences. Scarcity of onsite materials was ranked much higher (Rank 5) by the contractors while this factor was ranked significantly lower (Rank 16) by the consultants. “Financing by the contractor during construction” (Faridi 2006) as a delay causing issue was ranked 3rd by the consultants whereas it received as low a rank as the 14th most important delay causing factor.

To investigate the strength of correlation amongst these two ranking schemes (rooted in contractors’ and consultants’ perspective), an additional scrutiny was performed to identify the conformity of the contractors’ and consultants’ perspectives on the basis of the rankings by employing the Spearman rank correlation coefficient (equation (2)). The Spearman rank correlation coefficient was calculated to stand at 0.855 for this particular set of research data. This high value of rs (tends to 1) signifies strong conformity amongst the two schemes of ranking of the reasons for delays and time overruns.

10 most significant causes of delay.
Illustration B: 10 most significant causes of delay.

To mention a few, Arditi, (2006) investigated the reasons for the delay in large-scale building construction initiatives “in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia” (Faridi 2006) as perceived by contractors, design professionals and clients. Babel (2004) found out and examined the reasons for delays in various construction projects in Bangkok. Al-Moumani (2000) established several variables that have a substantial influence on construction timelines and cost overshoots in Indonesia.

Yates (2006) surveyed arbitrarily chosen clients, contractors and professional from the Lebanon construction industry to discover the most significant reasons for delays from the pre-identified delay factors and their groupings. Williams (2006) also examined the grounds on construction delays that occur in professionals the Hong Kong construction sector. Al-Moumani (2000) carried out a quantitative evaluation of delays in construction initiatives in Jordan. He looked into a variety of reasons for delays across 130 public construction ventures in Jordan that were undertaken through the period 1990–97. Odeh and Battaineh (2002) assessed the basis of delay occurrences in conventional contracts.

Despite the existence of such a vast base of literature in the field, there is still no consensus amongst various documents on the recognition of aspects that influence construction timelines. Perhaps one explanation for this fact is that investigators have for the most part looked at the area under discussion from diverse viewpoints. Even the most contemporary research initiatives relating to the reasons for construction delays is typified by diversified perspective on what is supposed to represent a major cause for delays in construction initiatives.

Fellows & Fenn (2001) demonstrates the problems related to construction problem related to delay with the help of an illustration. In their book JCT Standard Form of Building Contract there is presentation to provide the reader a basis for realistic comparison of the factors influencing the project timelines in an actual construction project on the ground. This construction venture is examined closely to find out the origins of the delay occurrences which are looked into by scrutinizing all the incidents that took place in the course of execution of the project operations throughout the project lifetime. This case study refers to a contractor’s claim. The contractor’s claim referred to an assertion of right to an expansion of project timeline by 93 weeks and compensation of direct losses incurred which in this case added up to £2,350,638. (Fellows & Fenn 2001)

In accordance to Fellows & Fenn (2001) the contract being implicated in this paper is found in the JCT Standard Form of Building Contract, 2001 edition (Private, with Quantities). The contract referred to the construction and development of a factory premises including all associated facilities within the premises at Industrial Estate, Anytown. The quantity documents were evidently rushed through hastily, although the presentation of the bills gave an impression that the arrangement had been meticulously planned. For instance, the documents took strip foundations into account when ground beams were required.

The configuration frameworks implied uncomplicated columns and beams whereas in realty a far more intricate structure connected with load bearing brickwork was essential. In terms of figures the contract was worth £3,423,500 and the initial contract duration was 104 weeks. This information was presented at the time of tender sanctioning and signified an ordinary conventional construction endeavour and the tender was placed accordingly. The initial accounts also explicitly mentioned that a rationalized traditional approach would be adopted for construction. (Fellows & Fenn 2001)

According to the contractor, the contract document was hurriedly planned without much attention being given to details which was the obligation of the project owner or client. This statement forms the basis of the claim. A quick start of operations is frequently insisted on by clients, which leaves consultant and other professionals with little or practically a very small amount of time to carry out the preliminary work of the project. Thus as per the contractor’s account of the circumstances, they embarked on the project activities despite the many challenges which arose. Although, they were not responsible for such difficult circumstances the construction work was commenced in order to achieve the project deliverables on time. In the following paragraphs, the basis for specific claims made by the contractor is explored.

Possession of the project location was to be handed over by the client on the 31st of January, 1983 as per the contract. However, when the contractors arrived on the site they encountered some difficulties since some parts of the site were still unavailable for demolition work as it was being occupied. Thus demolition work progressed slowly. In verity, an eight week delay was incurred right at the outset as complete possession of the project site was acquired on the 28th of March 1983. During the period of these eight weeks, only three weeks’ work could be completed on account of disruptions and thus the claim seeks a 5 weeks extension on account of the above-mentioned fact.

The architect encouraged the contractors to reschedule the project initiatives. However, all his recommendations preordained construction activities as costly plant equipment needed to be brought to the project location, be operational for only a few days and then remain ineffectively inoperative until the time complete possession was procured. The uncertainty over the exact date of complete possession also worsened the matter further. Moreover, the project schedule was provided to the architect at the earliest site meeting. These plan documents contained all necessary information and facts that pertained to the course of execution of the project spanning the entire project timeline. However, these documents and all the subsequent alterations made were evidently ignored.

The contractor was beset by late communications from the architect. Four major issues led to the overall delay on account of late information. They were:

  1. The basics were revamped which required a good amount of rescheduling. During this instance, contractors were exposed to a disruption of labor and shortages of material supply. Thus there was a delay of 5 weeks on account of which an extension of time was sought under clause of the contract.
  2. The architect’s selection for the mechanical utility sub-contractor was eight weeks behind schedule. Contractors claimed for an extension of time in this regard under contract clause 25.4.6.
  3. The ceiling covering substances were incorporated in the bill of quantities in the form of a provisional sum. Contractors were not provided with specific instructions until 5 weeks subsequent to the scheduled date. Thus a claim for an extension of time was sought under contract clause 25.4.6.
  4. Contractors were not provided with specifications relating to the external paving till seven weeks following the scheduled date. The smooth execution of the project was delayed due to the requirement to await instructions in this regard. Consequently, contractors claimed for an extension of time under contract clause 25.4.6. (Fellows & Fenn 2001)

The operations of the cladding nominated sub-contractor collapsed to bankruptcy following just 50% completion of his job. The delay on account of this factor was split into three pieces and an extension of time claims were sought under the following clauses:

  1. Under contract clause 25.4.7 caused by a postponement in nomination by two weeks;
  2. Under contract clause caused by a delay since the substitute sub-contractor cited a longer duration to accomplish the leftover work.
  3. Under contract clause 25.4.7 because of a delay attributable to the general incompetence of the sub-contractor and likely cash flow issues by two weeks.

Delays also kept cropping up all through the entire course of the project by the disorderly and wide-ranging effect of the architect’s statements and deviation from plans. A sum total of 384 variations were recorded, which upset the smooth progression of work. The overall delay owing to the interruption of work as a result of these discrepancies is analyzed to be ten weeks.

When the quantities of the project activities have eventually executed the cost of the final account was found to be overshot by 44% priced at bill rates. This according to the contractor corresponded to an extension of the initial contract duration by an equivalent amount. 44% of 104 weeks gives an extension of 46 weeks.

Summary of Claims

The summarized assertion of right to extension of time is present as following:

  • Delayed possession-5 weeks
  • Late information-25 weeks
  • Bankruptcy of sub-contractor-7 weeks
  • Architect’s instructions (disruption of work) – 10 weeks
  • Increased scope of works-46 weeks
  • Total =93 weeks

Contractor’s Costs

The contractor’s expenses were calculated and amounted to £6,385,187. The sum difference with respect to the provisional final sum stood at £2,350,638, and this is the amount which was claimed. It was the total expenses incurred due to direct loss and disbursements as a result of factors completely outside the contractor’s control.

Analysis of Time Extension Claims

In this section, an analysis of the claims is carried out and the final conclusion is drawn. Each claim has been analyzed carefully bearing in mind the specifications and basis of the claims.

Late possession of site and Redesign of foundations under contract clause

The claims made by the contractor wanted an extension of time by 10 weeks on the basis of these two causes. There existed an explicit stipulation in Clause 25 of the contract for prolongation of the project timeline based on the condition that the contractor was unable to take complete possession of the project location. The contractor could choose not to initiate operations onsite pending complete possession, in view of the fact that contract clause 23.1 asserts that the contractor has the right to possession as per the milestone set in the agreement documents. Lack of complete possession of the project site is consequently a contravention of the contract.

Nevertheless, it is true that the contractor did acquire possession and claimed a time overrun by 5 weeks. Both this assertion and the claim for the delay on account of overhauling the groundwork have to be reflected on collectively. The rationale underlying this is that often delays do arise in different phases of the project operations but if they are not aligned with the critical path they do not have a considerable influence on the duration of the project by and large. For the use of this particular case study it is implicit that the contractor initially assumed possession of that area of the project location on which Block A is positioned.

The contractor started operations on the foundations on Block A and encountered atypical ground situations. The onsite workforces were employed somewhere else but the delay on account of the revamp of the foundations was crucial. This time overrun initially in Block A implied the contractor’s failure to start work on Block B foundations up to the 23rd week, till work on Block A foundations were completed. At that point the contract had absolute possession of the project site and therefore the postponement in possession effectually does not impact the overall contract period. Accordingly, no further additional time was granted for the redesign of foundations. Extension granted for late possession was 5 weeks under contract clause 25.4.12.

Exceptionally adverse weather conditions

Oddly, this factor does not emerge in the claims of the contractor for extension of timelines. However, the contractor was granted additional time on account of the meteorological conditions being extremely unfavourable for the particular area under consideration. Delay was documented at the point (weeks 25-30 inclusive) throughout which the operations had to be completely suspended. The groundwork of Block B and the frame to Block A were in the early phase of construction. Block B was now inline with the critical path and consequently an additional time of 6 weeks was granted under contract clause 25.4.2

Late information on roof specification under clause 25.4.6

Delay claimed on account of this reason was 5 weeks. As per the contractor’s initial schedule he needed this information by week 30 for beginning onsite work by week 40. Due to challenges in identifying an appropriate material this information was not made available till week 35. Nevertheless, the delay caused by the revamp of the groundwork, the meteorological circumstances and the added effort put in the frame which amounts to 15 weeks, implies that even though the information was provided 5 weeks behind schedule the lack of information induced no further delay.

Variation orders

A 10 week delay claim was made by the contractor based on this reason. The solitary considerable alteration to workload owing to a varied and amplified work substance arose in the frame and cladding because a more multifaceted framework was necessary than initially estimated. The evaluated extension of time is as follows:

  • Frame (Block A) – 4 weeks
  • Frame (Black B) – 6 weeks
  • Cladding (Block A) – 2 weeks
  • Cladding (Block B) – 6 weeks
Delays to frames

A float of 2 weeks existed on the tender schedule between the end of work on the frames of Blocks A and B. Nevertheless, the 4 week time overrun implied that this drift is insignificant. Because the frame of Block A was now aligned with the critical path, it furthermore delayed the commencement of work on the frame on Block B by two weeks. The overall delay to the contract duration was 6 weeks in addition to 2 weeks. Thus an additional 8 weeks were granted under clause 25.4.5.

Delays to cladding

The 2 week hold-up on Block A cladding was not inline with the critical path and therefore does not influence overall project completion. Nevertheless, the 6 weeks for Block B Cladding was decisive. However, the impact of this setback was condensed by 2 weeks owing to the float that already subsisted in the initial schedule. An extension of 4 weeks was granted under contract clause 25.4.5.

Extra work

A 46 week’s extension was claimed based on this reason. A direct raise in the worth of the final account isn’t a convincing cause for additional time. The majority of the cost rise arose because of the amended specifications of the roof and frame substances which did influence the project timelines. Furthermore, the contractor’s estimate of a 44% raise is erroneous. The contractor’s calculations are as follows:

£2,955,717 / £2,054,000 =1.44

However, this calculation does not take into account the value of provisional totals worth £250,000 incorporated in the original tender. The provisional final account also incorporated a figure of £208,000 for special rates under contract clauses, and The actual increase in the cost of contractor’s effort after taking into consideration the provisional totals and the surplus £208,000 for special rates stands at 19.5%, calculated as follows:

(£2,955,717 – £208,000) / (£2,054,000 + £250,000) = 1.19

Bankruptcy of cladding nominated sub-contractor

A delay of seven weeks was claimed due to this factor. This assertion was investigated and found to be truthful. The cladding nominated sub-contractor ceased operation due to bankruptcy in the middle of the project timeline while working on Block B. An overrun of 2 weeks occurred in the process of replacing the sub-contractor. In addition, the amount of time cited for remaining work was 3 weeks more than that of the original sub-contractor. The new subcontractor’s likely performance failures were thought to be rational. The period for completing the outstanding work was prolonged by 2 weeks. This was done through a supplementary indenture between the employer and contractor which specified that additional extensions of time and variations in cost factors attributable to the sub-contractor would be acknowledged as delay as a result of the late access of instructions under contract clauses 25.4.6 and 26.2.1. Thus an additional 7 weeks were granted under contract clause 25.4.6.

Late nomination of utility sub-contractor

A delay of 8weeks was claimed by the constructor in this regard. The selection of utility sub-contractor was indeed over 8 weeks behind the actual scheduled date. However, other prior delays had caused this to be unfounded. In reality, the selection was made in good time bearing in mind the advancement of operations and, consequently, no effective delay occurred. Nevertheless, the utility subcontractor failed to perform his responsibilities in line with his contract duration on Block B. The operations of the subcontractor’s overran by 7 weeks and induced a delay in the overall contract period. Thus, a 7 weeks extension of time was granted as per clause 25.4.7.

External paving

A 7 weeks delay was claimed by the contractor in this regard. As a result of the client’s failure to procure the consent of the local authorities in relation to the final levels of their planned new street north of the building, particulars of paving in this vicinity were not determined by the time the building constructions were accomplished and equipped for handover (week 180). Eventually the client agreed to pass over this plan entirely. However, the contractor was required to wait for two weeks while the client contemplated its decision. Thus a 2 week extension of time was allowed keeping in line with contract clause (Fellows & Fenn 2001) Thus, it is seen clearly that there are several practical factors that are associated with the fundamental causes of delay in the construction industry. Such causes are instrumental in the present issue too.

Claims and Time Overruns

As mentioned before extravagant and attractive projects are currently being undertaken by the construction companies in the UAE. Bearing in mind such circumstances, and taking into consideration the large scope and magnitude of such projects, it is not shocking that the quantity of claims carries on increasing.

Construction claims are regard by a lot of project contributors as to be one of the most unsettling and un-likable incidents which may occur in a project lifetime. It is an unquestionable fact that drawing on the term ‘claim’ generally induces an emotive reaction, along with a series of allegations and counter allegations. The usual outcome is a complete collapse of communication procedures, divergence of viewpoints and the unavoidable acceptance of negotiation or lawsuits as an alternative causing large amount of cost and time related overheads. (Zineldin 2006)

Claims are defined as the assertion of a right. In accordance with the definition claims are identified and associated with the agreement signed by the parties. As per Vidogah and Ndekugri, claims are becoming so frequent and widespread that it has started being accepted as a common practice and a significant component of contemporary contractual systems. (Zineldin 2006)

In UAE’s construction sector, claims, occurring in nearly all construction initiatives, are direct consequences of the continuing progress in the construction sector in the economy. Usually, claims are frequent in construction ventures and can ensue on account of several factors that can influence project timelines and/or can lead to cost escalation. (Zineldin 2006)

The varieties of “claims in construction initiatives in UAE may be categorized into six fundamental types:

  1. Contract ambiguity claims;
  2. Delay claims;
  3. Acceleration claims;
  4. Changes claims;
  5. Extra-work claims; and
  6. Different site condition claims”. (Zineldin 2006)

In this regard it is important to note that delay claims appear to rank high in terms of the frequency of occurrence. This fact once again reinstates the importance of identifying and reacting to delay occurrence from its roots.

Research Design

Research Philosophy and Approach

A research initiative can be regarded as a practice of gathering, examining and interpreting data and information to come up with answers to required questions. In relation to this dissertation, research may be explicated as a realistic study or exploration to discover new information or bring together established facts by means of scientific methods for with the intention of developing new or enhancing extant theory and establishing its relevance to real world problems. Research Design can be characterized as “the science and art of planning procedures for conducting studies so as to get the most valid findings” (Portland, 2008).

In this investigation both basic and exploratory research design approaches would be adhered to. This particular research initiative is based on a realistic problem ensuing from the happenings of the construction industry in general and the research questions are structure in a manner to look into the root causes of time overruns in construction projects particularly of those based in Abu Dhabi. This research can be categorized as applied as well as exploratory type. It is applied and exploratory in its temperament for the reason that the research originates from real world problems and attempts find out what are the root causes for delay occurrences.

Research philosophies can either be a based on theory (deductive), or a question constructed for contribution to enhancement or developing theories (inductive). Alternatively, a mixed approach may also be adopted for a particular research. From the perception of logic, two wide-ranging approaches to analysis may be referred to as the deductive and inductive approaches.

Deductive logic progresses from the more broadened perspective to the more narrowed down perspective. Sometimes, this is informally known as a “top-down” scheme. The process is initiated by conceptualizing a theory in relation to the subject of interest. The focus is then narrowed down into further detailed hypotheses which can be tested. The analysis process is furthermore specifically focused when observations are recorded and information is gathered in relation to the hypotheses. This eventually results in the capacity to assess the hypotheses with the application of the specific data gathered which is a corroboration process of the original theory.

Inductive way of thinking functions exactly the opposite way, traversing from a more specific perspective to wide ranging generalizations and conjectures. Unofficially, it is occasionally referred to as a “bottom up” technique. The inductive process of analysis is started off with detailed observations and measurement, and following that pattern detection and the process of looking for regularities is carried out. Subsequent to this some tentative hypotheses is formulated which can be investigated into, and to conclude some generalized conclusion or conjectures are drawn up.

The two different means of analysis have a much unrelated approach associated with each of them in the course of performing the research work. Inductive judgment, by its very inherent nature, assumes a more open-ended and investigative approach, particularly at the commencement of research activities. Deductive analysis demonstrates a narrower temperament and is associated with examination of the validity of or corroboration of the hypotheses.

Although a certain investigation may appear to be entirely deductive in nature (for example, a trial designed to examine the hypothesized impacts of some treatment or intervention on some consequences), majority of the social research initiatives employ both inductive and deductive reasoning techniques at some stage in the research timeline. In fact, it is plainly evident that the two graphs presented above and be merged into a singular graph to indicate a cyclic process- one that repetitively cycles from theoretical perceptions down to recorded observations and back up once more to generalized theories. Even experiment carried out in a very controlled environment, the investigators may detect patterns and regularities in the data and information that guide them to come up with fresh and innovative theories.

This particular research initiative adopts an inductive means of analysis as it is based on a question and attempts to draw up a theory relating to the causes of delay in the Abu Dhabi construction projects.

The Study Scope and Limitations

Time overrun in building construction ventures occur caused by several factors. Each of the reasons for time overrun or delays has different frequency of occurrences and a varying extent of impact on the performance variables of the construction project. The negative impacts of time delays on the project stakeholders, construction sector, and on the nationwide economy of the state are enormous.

Consequently, it is significant to find out the causes of time overrun and delays based on their frequencies of occurrence and seriousness of the implications with respect to building construction projects. The research work did not execute entirely smoothly and had its own share of problems and limitations which were come across all the way through the carrying out of this research. Its limitation is the unavailability of adequate funds to carry out the study on a large scale, and the unwillingness of some contributors to the construction sector to provide accurate information related to time factors in construction projects.

Data Source and Collection

This research initiative makes use of the data sources to fabricate the following fundamental testimonials: respondents’ manuscripts and archival articles.

The respondents’ manuscripts were composed by employing questionnaires and distributing them to the stakeholders in the construction industry. This stakeholder group is primarily constituted by clients (project owners) and contractors. There are two fundamental kinds of survey questionnaires: open-ended and closed-ended. The questionnaire constructed for this survey has elements of both open-ended and closed-ended approaches.

Sources for the archival articles were mostly previously completed research initiatives, journals, academic text books, thesis papers and conference records which were studied extensively and played a vital role in identifying the frequently occurring problems with regards to time delays in the UAE construction industry. Furthermore, they facilitated the research to gain an understanding of how challenging issues based on time overruns arise and the manner in which they are acknowledged.

On account of the large amount of public organizations that are clients in the construction industry and the vast number of contracting corporations that carry out construction initiatives a survey using a questionnaire as the primary data collection instrument was found most appropriate.

Survey questionnaire

Questionnaire as a Data-Gathering Instrument

A questionnaire is a way of bringing out the thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, experiences, or viewpoints of some section of individuals. As a data gathering tool, it could be either structured or unstructured. A questionnaire is most commonly an extremely brief, predetermined assortment of questions created to procure detailed information to correspond to a specific requirement for the research information concerning a relevant subject. The research information is procured from the respondents usually from an associated and correlated interest sphere. There are a number of advantages as well as disadvantages to the use of questionnaires as a data collection tool. Some of them are listed below.


  • The costs and time associated with providing training to interviewers and sending them to an interview site is done away with by the use questionnaires.
  • All responders are provided with the same set of questions written in precisely the same way. Thus, questionnaires are capable of producing more comparable data as compared to the information procured by means of an interview.
  • If the queries are structured properly and the circumstances under which they are responded to be controlled, then the questionnaire can be standardized.


  • Respondent’s impetus is hard to evaluate, thus impacting the validity of the responses received.
  • Except for a random sampling of returns being obtained, the completed and returned questionnaires may signify predisposed samples.

Design of the Questionnaire

The questionnaire was meticulously constructed taking into consideration the factors that influence the response rate from respondents. A variety of reasons for time overruns in construction projects were found out in the preliminary phases of the investigation by means of a comprehensive literature review and individual interviews carried out with many construction experts implicated in the Abu Dhabi construction arena. Forty-four major reasons for delay occurrences were identified which had significant implications for construction projects based in Abu Dhabi. These reasons for these time overruns were subsequently structured to fabricate a comprehensive survey questionnaire.

The respondents were asked to rate the reasons of the basis of their frequency of occurrence and seriousness of implications for the construction projects on a pre defined scale. In addition, the respondents were also encouraged to provide their own inputs in a column provided for individual observations or remarks. The questionnaire also consisted of a dedicated section for gathering personal information of the respondent. This section revealed statistics about his / her experience level in the construction industry, type of project currently associated with and major projects worked on in the past, the organizational position assumed by the respondent, etc.

The questionnaire in total consisted of 9 sections. The first section gathered information about the respondent’s personal data. The reasons were classified into eight rational groupings. Each constituted a section of the questionnaire. The structure of the questionnaire is as follows:

  • Personal Information
    • Name of Respondent;
    • Name of Organization;
    • Major Projects;
    • Present Organizational Designation;
    • Work experience in the construction industry (in years);
    • Contact Information;
    • Date of information collected;
  • Contractor-related causes:
    • Lack of adequate workforce;
    • Skill set of the workforce;
    • Productivity of workforce;
    • Scarcity of onsite material supply;
    • Non-accessibility of materials when required;
    • Inadequate equipment;
    • Malfunctioning / breakdown of equipment;
    • Defective work;
    • Construction approach;
    • Construction errors;
    • Poor management;
    • Insufficient contractor’s experience;
    • Hold-up in subcontractor’s activities;
    • Essential variations;
    • Poor resource allocation;
    • Inappropriate leadership approach of construction/project manager; and
    • Import Delays.
  • Consultant / Designer-related causes:
    • “Preparation and approval of drawings;
    • Waiting time for sample/ materials approval;
    • Waiting time for site inspection and approval of quality control tests/results;
    • Change in drawings;
    • Change in specifications;
    • Incomplete drawings/ specifications/documents;
    • Design error due to unfamiliarity with the local conditions, environment, and the materials; and
    • Change order.
  • Owner-related causes:
    • Slowness of the owner’s decision-making process;
    • Materials type and specification change during the construction;
    • Excessive bureaucracy/ uncooperative owner; and
    • Unrealistic contract duration imposed by the client.
  • Financial causes:
    • Financing by contractor during construction;
    • Delays in contractor’s progress payment (of completed work) by owner; and
    • Late payment to subcontractor by the main contractor;
  • Planning and scheduling causes:
    • Inadequate early planning of the project;
    • Lack of data in estimating the activity duration and resources;
    • Overestimation of the productivity;
    • Inadequate progress review; and
    • Unavailability of the construction/project management group for the project.
  • Contract oriented causes:
    • Lack of communication and coordination between the parties involved in construction (contractor–subcontractor– consultant–owner); and
    • Contract modifications.” (Faridi 2006)
  • Regulatory causes:
    • “Obtaining permit/approval from the municipality/different government; and
    • Transportation permit.
  • Unanticipated conditions:
    • Subsurface soil condition (geological problem/water table problem, etc.); and
    • Weather conditions (mainly high temperature and wind speeds.” (Faridi 2006)

Data Analysis & Findings

The questionnaires, in addition to gathering information about the frequency of occurrence and significance of the reasons for delay also inquired the respondents about some of his personal information. Such information related to the questions like years of familiarity in the building business and type of project presently associated with. The questionnaire survey documents were distributed among 50 randomly chosen professionals working with ongoing projects in the construction industry in Abu Dhabi to obtain their responses. These questionnaires were either delivered by hand to the respondents or were posted, emailed or faxed to them.

The responses too were either collected in person or were obtained through postal facilities, emails and faxes. The Abu Dhabi contractor fraternity includes a large section of small scale contractors as well as utility contractors in addition to large scale contractors. Thus it is important to mention that the selected sample of subjects for the purpose of the survey corresponds to the large and medium scale general construction contractors, professionals and project owners/clients that are currently active in the Abu Dhabi construction arena.

A total of 34 responses were received out of which 29 were completed questionnaires and only the completely answered questionnaires were taken into consideration while performing the analysis. Thus the effective response rate stood at 58% which was considerably higher than those of similar research initiatives. Out of the 29 completed questionnaires 12 were from contractors, nine from field professionals and eight from project owners/ clients.

From the analysis of all the completed questionnaires it was gathered that 16 respondents had more than 10 years experience in the industry, 11 had an experience between 5 to 10 years and only two respondents had an experience level below 5 years. One of the purposefully asked questions in the questionnaire revealed that a significant number of construction projects based in Abu Dhabi had or is experiencing difficulties on account of time delays or overruns. The fraction of projects experiencing time delays is comparable to national and international averages.

Statistical Tools for Analysis

The Relative Importance Index was made use of to analyze these reasons for delays. Equation (1) was employed to calculate the Relative Importance Index (RII) for all the factors. Relative Importance Index, is calculate using the formulae,



  • Wi = Weight allocated to ith response;
  • Wi = 3, 2, 1 and 0 for i =1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively;
  • Xi = Frequency of the ith response;
  • i = Response category index = 1, 2, 3 and 4 for Very important, Important, Less important, and Not important respectively.” (Faridi 2006) Accordingly, W1 = 3 stands for “Very important”, W2 = 2 stands for “Important”, W3 = 1 stands for “Less important”, and W4 = 0 stands for “Not important”. These notations have been made use of in this analysis.

In addition, to evaluate the strength of correlation amongst the two sets of ranking, the “Spearman rank correlation coefficient was utilized. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient is calculated using equation” (2) (Faridi 2006)

Correlation coefficient
Illustration 4: Correlation coefficient.


  • rs = Spearman rank correlation coefficient;
  • d = Difference in ranking between contractors and consultants;
  • N = Number of variables (causes) which in this case is 44.

The greater the value of rs (approaching 1 or -1) the stronger is the correlation amongst the two sets of ranking (Odeh and Battaineh, 2002).

Ranking Based on the Respondent’s Years of Experience in the Construction Industry

The construction sector has fascinated and drawn several construction experts with varying amount of experiences from all across the globe. For that reason, experience in terms of number of years in the industry becomes an important consideration. Thus, an additional investigation was carried out on the data gathered from the survey founded on the respondent’s experience level in the construction industry. For this reason, the respondents were categorized into three groups.

The first group was constituted of the construction experts having an experience of more than 10 years, whilst the second group incorporated the professional working in the construction industry for durations between 5 to 10 years. The third group was formed by field professionals who were associated with the construction business for not more than 5 years’ was not taken into account in the evaluation for the reason that there were only two respondents in this group which was statistically negligible. The evaluation revealed that the grading of the reasons for time delays were roughly identical based on the perspective of both groups classified according to the experience levels.

A significant observation was that all the 10 primary reasons underlying time delays as per the judgment of the field professionals who were associated with the construction business for durations between 5 to 10 years came under the overall top 10 bracket. On the other hand, only seven out of the 10 most highly ranked delay causing factors based on the perspective of construction professionals with an experience level of more than 10 years fell amongst the overall top 10 reasons for time delays. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient for this rank evaluation (using equation (2)) stood at 0.914 (tends to 1) signifying a strong accord amongst the ranking schemes based on the viewpoints of these two groups of professionals.

It was notable observation that effectiveness of the workforce, ineffective supervision and inadequate site administration were ranked high by the professionals with an experience between 5 to 10 years as contrasted against the much lower ranks attributed by professionals with an experience level of over 10 years. Individuals having more experience seemed to consider insufficient preliminary planning of project activities and the inappropriate leadership approach of the project /construction manager as chief contributors to construction delays in projects based in Abu Dhabi.

Overall Ranking

The gathered information was further analyzed using statistical instruments in order to establish the overall Relative Importance Index (RII) of these 44 reasons, mentioned earlier, contributing to time delays in construction projects based in Abu Dhabi. The meticulous examination of the data divulges that the fabrication and sanctioning of designs and drawings has been ranked by the respondents above all other reasons.

This particular factor is a consultant/ designer-related cause for time delays. The next most significant factors were identified as insufficient preliminary planning of the project activities, lateness in the owner’s decision-making procedures, deficiency of effective workforce, inadequate supervision, and improper site administration, effectiveness of the workforce, skill set of the workforce, non-accessibility of required materials promptly, procuring permit/sanctions from the various administrative (national, state or local) authorities and the financing by contractor in the course of the construction.

The 10 most important reasons underlying time delays and overruns in construction projects based in Abu Dhabi are presented in Table 2 in conjunction with their overall RII values. It was found that, amongst the 10 most imperative delay factors, 5 came under the contractor-related category which means that contractors can largely be held accountable for the time overruns in construction projects by reason of those factors.

Scarcity of resources was also identified as a key factor causing construction delays. Lack of proper manpower, effectiveness of the workforce and the skill set of the workforce were amongst the 10 most important reasons for delay occurrences. The scrutiny of the collected data reveals that as per contractors’ opinion, eight out of the 10 most significant delay factors were the same as the overall 10 most influencing delay factors. While, on the other hand, all the 10 highest ranked causes for construction delays derived from the consultants’ perspectives were among the overall top 10 delay factors.

It was found from the survey that the subjects indicated that there was a fundamental lack of proper planning at the start of the project. This leads to subsequent problems at every steps of the project and eventually leads to the delay of the overall project. An overwhelming amount of 74% of the subjects identified Lack of boardroom planning as the chief cause of delay in the Abu Dhabi construction industry. 69% of the subjects also chose lack of quick response by the administration as the second most vital cause of delay. They mentioned that Problems due to slowness of decision making not only delays the project but also aggravates the initial problem. About 51% of the subjects agreed on the fact that slow Approval and preparation of initial project plans is an important, but not the foremost, cause of delay.

It was well agreed upon that Site management and supervision related problem was the chief cause but most of the respondent of this group was either from the junior management section or very highly placed in the company. Though this group is small, 77% of them identified lack of management skill as the main problem. However, in the context of the total population lack of management was identified by only 49% as one of the causes.

Another chief problem was found to be labour related and it includes lack of skilled labour, slowness of labour force, unavailability of labour force and skilled labour immigration problem as one of the chief causes of delay in the Abu Dhabi construction industry. About 20% of the population even identified lack of proper material and inability to acquire required resource as chief problem whereas, the top officials, around 5% of the population, identified red tape related problems like licence and approval by authorities as chief cause of delay. 2% even indicated that lack of proper finance was the chief cause of delay.

Top Ten Factors of delay in the Abu Dhabi Construction Industry

1 Lack of boardroom planning
2 Problems due to slowness of decision making
3 Approval and preparation of initial project plans
4 Site management and supervision related
5 Lack of skilled labour related and problems regarding immigration
6 Problems related to low production rate of the workers
7 Problems due to low/skill unskilled labour
8 Material related problem
9 Red tape related problem
10 Finance related problem

In conclusion, it should be remembered that Abu Dhabi construction scenario closely follows similar trends which were found in prior researches reflecting on causes of delay in projects of the UAE construction industry. It was observed that the efficiency, skill and the lack of adequate manpower have materialized as the chief causes for delay occurrences at the present. Although factors associated with efficient communication methods were a few of the key reasons for delays as per prior research findings, these, at present do not have that significant a bearing on the Abu Dhabi construction scenario. An important observation made in the course of the study was that majority of the 10 most highly ranked delay factors were associated with the construction phase of the projects.


Overall a sum of 29 construction field experts from the UAE, in particular, Abu Dhabi construction industry contributed to this research initiative and offered their expert views in the shape of their feedbacks by participating in the questionnaire survey conducted in this research. Most of the professionals who took part in this research consider that fabrication and sanctioning of designs and drawings, lateness caused by the owner’s lengthy decision-making procedures and insufficient preliminary planning of the project activities are the most significant reasons for delay and time overruns in the Abu Dhabi construction ventures.

Shortage of adequate resource supplies, skill sets and the effectiveness of the workforce also assume a crucial role in construction delay occurrences. Conflicting interests of various stake holders involved in a construction initiative like contractors and the professionals are a key cause of apprehension from the contractors’ standpoint, where it is rather irrelevant in the analysis on the whole. Lack of proper interaction and synchronization amongst the business entities implicated in a construction initiative (contractor–subcontractor–consultant–owner) also emerges a key factor affecting overall project timelines.

Delay occurrences in construction initiatives are a major cause for concern in the UAE construction scenario and in other parts of the world as well. Construction projects based in Abu Dhabi are no different and they too suffer a lot on account on time delays and overruns. Contributors to the project operations should be acquainted with such important reasons for delays and take steps and design measures to circumvent or at as a minimum alleviate their influences on project execution and completion.

Delays and time overruns not only have a bearing on the project schedules, milestones and targets but also adversely impacts the final cost of the project. This in turn has a profound influence on the quality of the project deliverables. Some suggestions that might facilitate the construction professionals in coping with challenges arising on account of constructions delays and time overrun are presented.

  1. There should be a conformity relating to schedule specifications among the contractors, owners and field consultants for fabrication, presentation and sanctioning of designs and drawings and the considerations must be heeded.
  2. Clients, owners or their representatives should include prerequisites for scheduling and schedule maintenance in the contract manuscripts.
  3. There is an immediate requirement for the participation of construction management organizations to facilitate the process of coping with delays or the challenges that arise due to such delays.
  4. Enhanced human resource management can help in developing better workforce skills and improving effectiveness of the workforce. Businesses need to take care of the training requirements and should indulge in the development course of their human resources.
  5. There is a considerable need for the contractors to make efforts early to procure authorizations and sanctions from the various governmental agencies on a national, state or local level.

There exists an extremely strong consistency amongst the contractors and the field professionals with regards to certain highly ranked reasons for delay. A number of the key reasons underlying delays and time overruns in construction ventures for UAE and Abu Dhabi have been found to be associated with workforce related variables. This may perhaps be attributable to the fact that higher labour remuneration in the UAE construction sector in comparison to the neighbouring nations has obligated contractors to cut back on human resource spending to balance the other resources. It has also been observed that the approach towards supervision, administration, management and synchronization are in dire need of rejuvenation with regards to the UAE construction industry and the Abu Dhabi construction scenario. Such efforts need to be put in to bring the construction practices of the industry at par with standards established across the globe.

A comparative investigation divulges that the reasons underlying delays in construction projects in the UAE construction sector vary considerably from that observed in construction projects for the KSA and Lebanon construction industry. A majority of the 10 most highly ranked delay factors with regards to the KSA and Lebanon construction sector were found to have little or practically no relevance to the UAE construction arena with the exception of a few common factors, such as lateness on part of the client’s lengthy decision-making procedures and the fabrication and sanctioning of designs and drawings.

The observations made from a comprehensive literature review in the course of carrying out the current study points toward the apparent significance of contractor-related, designer or consultant-related and labour-related cause groupings. These come into view presenting a viewpoint related to:

  • Align with the idea of driving up the total factor effectiveness and of synergizing the contributions to optimize the yields; and
  • Present a reminder of the significance of organizational considerations in both contractor and design or consultant companies. For instance, the speedy reactions and positive inputs of design teams or professionals are required to facilitate identification of onsite issues, enhance productivity and mitigate delay factors.

The appraisal of recent pertinent research literature indicated the implications of non-project- scope factors like project stakeholder priorities and associations amongst them. Such factors have an effect on project timelines both overtly and covertly by means of their impacts on the productivity levels. For instance, the questionnaire survey carried out in course of this investigation pointed out the evident magnitude of the effects on time delays in the construction project of the contractor-related, design or consultant related and client-oriented cause groups.

The particular involvement of inconsistent productivity scales in these main factor groupings were evident, resulting in a need to look into the factors influencing productivity itself and finding out means to significantly improve the performance of productivity variables and ways through which delays can be minimized and their effects played down, by means of techniques like scheduled work review. An additional aspect of constantly improved productivity levels is the prospect of bringing about reductions in the projected contract durations themselves, in the preliminary stages. Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1995 corroborate that productivity is one of the most essential factors in the process of estimating both intended and realized project timelines.

They also assert that while project scope aspects must be utilized to model the designed project timelines, other non-scope issues also must to be integrated with the model, in laying down the baselines and in keeping provisions for certain priorities, competences and incentives of the project contributors to work together.

The survey findings in this investigation also exposed disparities in discernments with regards to the reasons for delay occurrences by various groups of project contributors and stakeholders: clients or owners, contractors and consultants in construction works and in engineering works as well. It is recommended that such evident shared prejudices of various industry groups should be done away with as it often attempts to transfer culpability for delays to the other implicated groups, and hinders a quest for identifying the most significant reasons for delays and measures to deal with the same. The root of these predispositions can be traced to group habituation, in addition to the existing hostile temperament of the contractual frameworks, counting the conflicts, responsibility for fault transference and self-protective stances caused by the frequent claims of extension of time’ and related construction costs in projects.

Investigations relating to reasons for project time overruns should therefore bear in mind the implications of such prejudices when corroborating the genuine factors, whether by means of interviews or via chosen project manuscripts. In addition, considerable efforts must be made to triumph over such predispositions, on top of the need to evaluate and cope with the causes and factor groupings identified through this research initiative and the literature, as important contributors to delay occurrences. Certain strategies may be established to deal with the major issues, like unanticipated conditions, ineffective site administration and supervision, and late design information.

Principles to counter delay occurrences must be adopted, for example, more rigorous onsite explorations and stronger administrations are in all probability most reasonable in ventures where time overruns can be critical. Certainly, these principles are required to be converted into practice in reality by means of suitable course of actions and project-specific strategies.

In conclusion it should be stated that this research initiative, therefore, provides indicators to suitable approaches and certain measures that can be implemented in order to circumvent and/or cope with challenges arising due to assignment delays by concentrating on the overt and covert general contributors to the same, like productivity scales and late design information. At the same time as the present research initiative was Abu Dhabi-based, the international research literature divulged certain parallels as well as differences. This study may thus prove useful to future researchers and facilitate comprehensive comparative studies elsewhere in addition to providing key insights to various stakeholders implicated in the Abu Dhabi construction industry. However, there is every scope of further research and more research should be carried out in order to get more results on specified areas of the study.


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  • Illustration 1: Corroboration process of the original theory.
  • Illustration 2: Tentative Hypothesis generalization.
  • Illustration 3: RII.
  • Illustration 4: Correlation coefficient.
  • Illustration 5: Ranking of the cause of delay.
  • Illustration 6: 10 most significant cause of delay.