Construction in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: The Causes of Delays and Poor Quality Work

Subject: Industry
Pages: 60
Words: 16435
Reading time:
62 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Over the years, different civilisations have relied on the construction industry to support the human activities prevalent at the time (Ralph 2000). Presently, the global construction industry is experiencing a surge owing to increased human activities like trade and industrialisation. Just like any other sector, the construction industry is characterised by multiple challenges (Ralph 2000). In this dissertation, the author focuses on delays and poor quality of work within the industry as some of the challenges

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The study focuses on the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (herein referred to as KSA) to illustrate the effects of delays and poor work quality. Ralph (2000) is of the view that a construction industry is an important component of economic growth. Therefore, the study highlights the KSA’s construction policy in relation to the economy. Thereafter, an analysis of the said challenges is made to determine their effects on the kingdom’s construction policies.

In this chapter, the author lays the foundation for a discourse, which seeks to illustrate the negative impacts of delays and poor work quality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A background into the study is provided where details of the infrastructure policy in the KSA are outlined. Thereafter, the aims and objectives are itemised alongside the scope. In this section, the limitations of the study are also outlined. Delimitations to the same are further provided.

Background of Study

As aforementioned, the construction industry is a vital part of the economic growth of a particular society (Wernham 2012). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by virtue of its vast oil deposits, is an economic powerhouse in the Middle East. Consequently, the kingdom’s economy has experienced a boom over the past couple of decades, enhancing the growth of the construction industry. Notwithstanding the huge financial resources, there are emergent problems that threaten to bring down the industry. The same will be discussed in detail in later sections of this study.

Carnell (2005) illustrates that the rise in the construction industry in the kingdom has affect almost all the facets of the sector. According to Ralph (2000), the industry is characterised by 5 different types of constructions. They include the erection of commercial buildings, industrial units, institutional set ups, residential units, and heavy civil construction (Ralph 2000). The industry in the kingdom covers all of the aforementioned areas. Prevalent problems like delays and poor work quality have the potential of bringing the entire industry to a halt as shall be discussed later.

According to Calculated Industries and Kokernak (2006), there are several problems prevalent in the construction industry in general. In a study by Lo, Fung and Tung (2006), it is pointed out that scarcity of skilled labour and resources are the most common challenges in the industry. In addition, there are certain cases where the set standards in the industry are not taken into account during construction. Consequently, the quality of the work is diminished. At the same time, projects end up being delayed owing to the aforementioned challenges.

A case in point is the various trends of construction in Saudi Arabia, where the government insists that growth of infrastructure is at the core of their decision making (Carnell 2005). In addition, the Saudi government is keen on solving the housing problem, hence initiating major projects towards that end like the Jeddah Corniche (Carnell 2005). The demand for major infrastructure projects has resulted in high demand for cement forcing the government to pump SAR3 billion towards setting up setting up cement plants.

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The aforementioned trends are an indicator of the significance of the construction industry to the kingdom’s infrastructure agenda. When the construction industry becomes a vital aspect of a country’s blue print for growth it becomes important that prevalent challenges be addressed (Bansal 2012). Consequently, the delays and poor quality standards mentioned herein need to be addressed. The same is only possible once sufficient studies illustrate their causes.

In the event that there are delays in the completion of a given project, there is a corresponding increase in the overall cost of the project. The ripple effects of such a situation translate to negative impacts on a country’s economy (Abedi, Fathi & Mohammad 2011). Delays in the construction industry are caused by various factors. In their study, Falqi (2004) argues that the causes of the delays are best appreciated by grading the delays according to the various types. The same makes it easier to determine the exact cause of delay in the completion of a given project.

According to Falqi (2004), the first category is referred to as the excusable and non-excusable delay. Such kinds of delays determine the liability of the contractor of a give project. The other category is the independent and concurrent delays. Falqi (2004) illustrates that delays of such a nature are determined by the source of their occurrence. The other category of delays is the critical and noncritical type. Impediments of such a nature are brought about by the element of time (Falqi 2004). Each of the categories mentioned have their respective causes. The same will be outlined in other sections of this dissertation.

Another vital component of the construction industry is the quality in which the said projects. The increasing competitiveness in the industry compels contractors to develop structures that meet the set construction standards in the industry (Delgado-Hernandez & Aspinwall 2008, p. 1014). In the event that a contractor is unable to meet the set standards in the industry, their project risks being condemned. The same is due to the fact that structures of poor workmanship pose a safety hazard to potential occupants.

Statement of the Research

Gravetter and Forzano (2011) posit that any research undertaking must have a clearly defined thesis statement. From the title of the study, it is apparent that the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing several challenges. Delays in the completion of projects and the poor work quality are outlined as the major challenges. The only way to determine the actual causes of the two problems is by making a case of the negative effects posed. Thus, the thesis statement for this study is “Delays and poor work quality in the construction industry are hurting the gains outlined under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s National Development Plan”.

Objectives of the Study

Delays and poor work quality pose a threat to the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study seeks to determine the cause of the same. Consequently, the following act as the objectives for this study:

  1. To illustrate the importance of the construction industry to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In so doing, the study will affirm the hypothesis that highlights the dangers posed by increasing delays and poor work quality. The same will result in determination of the root causes of the two problems (Long & Maisel 2010).
  2. To find out the challenges facing the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. By determining the challenges prevalent in the industry, the study intends to illustrate that indeed, delays poor work quality are a threat to the growth of the industry as a whole.
  3. To illustrate the categories and instances of delays in the construction industry. The same acts as an avenue of widening the scope of determining the causes of delays in the industry. By categorising the delays, it becomes simple to itemise the actual causes of delays in the industry.
  4. To illustrate the required standards as set out in the construction industry. Once the same are illustrated, it becomes possible to outline the instances of poor work quality due to the inability to meet the outlined standards.
  5. To find out the negative effects that result from delays and poor work quality in the construction industry. The negative effects help support the thesis statement outlined for this study.

Scope, Limitations, and Delimitations

Scope

Whenever a problem is established in a particular area, it is not easy to cover all its aspect with one study. According to Bryman (2012, p. 41), a researcher is expected to outline the boundaries that will restrict the data collection and interpretation of the results. Thus, the study discussed in this paper, restricts itself to the delays and poor work quality as the challenges facing the construction industry. To that effect, the study is domiciled in Saudi Arabia.

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The participants in this study are either persons with familiarity of the KSA’s construction sector or are actively engaged in construction. Notwithstanding the availability of other experts, the study restricted itself personnel in the construction industry. Also, the study restricts itself to the aforementioned problems owing to the threat they pose to the kingdom’s development plans. The findings of this study will help to determine the root causes of delays and poor quality in a bid to improve the industry’s standing in the region.

Limitations of the study

  1. The study restricts itself to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its focus on the construction industry rather than extending its scope to the wider Middle East region.
  2. The primary source of data collection is a written questionnaire which the participants might decide not to answer truthfully.
  3. The hypothesis of the study does not include political instability as a potential problem to the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  4. The study is selective on the participants to the study by restricting itself to personnel in the construction industry. Other professionals like economists would have increased the credibility of the study.
  5. The study relied on certain secondary materials that were published before the year 2005.

Delimitations

  1. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a leading member in the Arab League of Nations. That coupled with economic might make it a suitable pick for the subject as a case study for other countries in the region. The study would be too complex had the researcher encompassed the entire Middle East.
  2. The participants to the study stood to benefit from the results of the study. Therefore it would be in their best interest to be truthful while answering the questionnaire.
  3. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia currently enjoys political stability. There are no riots to indicate instability.
  4. During a call for volunteers to participate in the study, majority of the participants were drawn from the construction industry. The two who were from other professions had little knowledge of construction matters, Thus including them would have reduced the quality of results.
  5. The secondary materials used in this study were settled upon on the basis of their relevant. Thus, material published earlier than 2005 was included in the study owing their relevance in terms of delays and quality of work.

Structure of the Dissertation

A research undertaking is expected to be detailed so that the various points of the discourse are elaborately displayed (Bryman 2012). Consequently, this study is structured in terms of chapters, responding to the requirements of a dissertation. In total this paper is divided into seven chapters. Each of the chapter acts as a build up to the other in a bid to elaborately discuss the topic and justify the statement of the research.

The first chapter is the introduction in which the fundamental aspects of the study are outlined. Thereafter there is a literature review which acts as the second chapter. In this section, past studies on the subject are outlined in a bid to illustrate the areas that need further research (Bryman 2012). Chapter three adopts a research methodology for the study wherein the details of the questionnaire are illustrated. The fourth chapter outlines the results of the data collection in chapter three.

The fifth chapter acts as a discussion for the results obtained wherein the actual causes of the delays and poor quality are discussed. According to Bryman (2012), the statement of the research is justified once the results obtained respond to the hypothesis. The same explains this chapter on discussion of results. The sixth chapter contains recommendations to avert future delays and poor work quality in the construction industry. The seventh chapter concludes the study by reviewing the importance of the construction industry in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter, a foundation has been laid to the effect that the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is under threat due to delays and poor work quality. The background raises the need to determine the causes for the aforementioned problems. The statement of the research is clearly outlined, laying the ground for further discussions of the effects of the said delays and work quality. In this chapter, the objectives are clearly outlined. The scope, limitations and delimitations are also well outlined. The next chapter discusses previous studies that point out to the causes of delays and poor work quality in Saudi Arabia alongside the general status of the construction industry.

Literature Review

In the previous chapter it is evident that the construction industry is a fundamental human activity in any developing society. The prevalent problems in the industry are an indicator that the same ought to be addressed. In this section, an overview of the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arab Is outlined. Thereafter, the various challenges in the industry are outlined. Also, this chapter looks at the set quality of standards in the industry and the causes of poor work quality. Also, this chapter discusses the several causes of delays. The chapter relies on previous studies on the subject.

The Construction Industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The literature review section intends to develop on the background of the study outlined in the previous structure. Consequently, a brief overview of the kingdom is outlined. Further previous studies o the construction industry in the country are elaborated. Thereafter, some of the common problems like delays and poor work quality are highlighted. Also, some of the causes are highlighted. The details highlighted in this section are essential at developing the thesis statement premised for this study.

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As previously illustrated, the rise in the construction industry in the kingdom has captured almost all the sectors of a construction industry (Carnell 2005). It has also been established that the construction industry is characterised by 5 different types of construction. In the previous chapter a discussion on the types of construction is outlined. They include construction of commercial buildings, industrial units, institutional setups, residential units and heavy civil kinds of construction (Ralph 2000). Within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, construction projects span the entire breadth of the country’s landscape. Prevalent problems like delays and poor work quality have the potential of bringing the entire industry to a halt as shall be discussed later.

Saudi Arabia at a glance

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is situated within the Arabian Peninsula and happens to be the largest country in that region (Long & Maisel 2010, p. 13). By virtue of its vast oil deposits, the country is an economic powerhouse in the region. The country’s geographical location makes it an ideal location for an infrastructure hub (Akinsiku & Akinsulire 2012). The illustration in figure 1 shows the kingdom’s location in the Middle East.

Geographical Location of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Figure 1: Geographical Location of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Source: Ventures Middle East (2011).

From the illustration in figure 1, it is apparent that the country is strategically located in a region that is experiencing robust economic growth (Ventures Middle East 2009). Some of the country’s immediate neighbours include Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Both countries are experiencing a boom in their economies owing to the petroleum revenues. In a way, pressure is piled on Saudi Arabia to match up with their development agenda. The same explains the need for a sustainable construction industry.

The national development plan

Like any other country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a blue print in which its development objectives are outlined. Dubbed the National Development Plan, the Saudi government is geared at diversifying the economy through avenues like construction (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Economic Planning 2010). In a report, the government illustrates its intention to address structural development. In a bid to boost its economic revenues, the construction industry is identified as a significant pillar in the country’s development blue print.

Major construction projects

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the construction industry is characterised with various projects across different sectors (Carnell 2005). Depending on the country’s infrastructure agenda, Carnell (2005) cites projects that are commercial and health related. An example is the Aldara Hospital. According to Carnell (2005), the project is situated in the country’s capital, Riyadh. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the project is a joint venture between Saudi’s Aldara Medical Corporation and a company based in the United Arab Emirates. The project is estimated to cost a total of SAR404 million (Carnell 2005). Given that health care is an important aspect of the country’s policies, the project is considered as high value.

Considering the importance of the Holy city of Mecca, the government is keen on maximising on the revenues from the annual pilgrimage (Long & Maisel 2010). Consequently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has engaged in the development of a satellite city called Abraj Kudai Development. According to Carnell (2005) the project is estimated to cost a total of SAR13 billion. Once complete, the facility will have a train station and residential units as well as commercial centres. Considering its location, it is of utmost importance that the project is completed.

Challenges in the Construction Industry

According to Falqi (2004), the construction industry is a vital aspects of a country’s economy. Consider the United States of America (herein referred to as USA) which has one of the largest construction industries in the world. In the year 2007 the annual expenditure of the industry was estimated at $1.2 trillion (El-Razek, Bassioni & Mobarak 2008). Such whooping amounts suggest that the industry is a key player in the business landscape. That notwithstanding, there are several challenges which reduce its effectiveness.

Climate change

Falqi (2004) used their thesis to make comparisons between the construction industry and the United Kingdom (herein referred to as the UK). In their study, they found out that climate change was an emerging environmental challenge facing the sector in terms of energy. In countries like the Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia the cost of construction accounts for an average of 30% of the total energy consumption (Delgado- Hernandez & Aspinwall 2008). Considering that fossil fuels are mostly used to produce energy, the carbon footprint in the construction industry is similarly high.

The need to shift from fossil based fuel to alternative clean energy sources is increasingly being encouraged in the industry (Al-Kharashi & Skitmore 2009). The same is in response to the arguments that increasing carbon dioxide emissions to the environment encourage global warming. Consequently, the construction industry is forced to come up with approaches to ensure that buildings have an almost zero carbon footprint. The challenge comes in terms of cost and capacity building.

Poor infrastructure

In the construction industry, transport of raw materials is an important element (Ameh, Soyingbe & Odusami 2010; Ryley & Goodwyn 2000). Therefore, it is expected that the infrastructure should be of high quality. Alinaitwe, Apolot and Tindiwensi (2013) sought to understand the challenges in the construction industry in developing countries. In their study, the researchers determined that poor infrastructure explains why most projects take a while to complete. The many hours spent in trying to navigate through bad roads increases the cost of the project altogether, making contractors to shun areas with poor infrastructure.

While carrying out a study on the construction industry in Jordan, Sweis, Abu-Hammad and Shboul (2007) emphasise that poor infrastructure reduces the productivity in a particular project. The three argue that the high cost that arises from poor infrastructure is to blame for high cost of construction in most areas in the Middle East. Countries like Jordan and Qatar are leading in the investment of road infrastructure. The same helps in the reduction of the cost of construction by drastically reducing the cost of raw materials.

Unskilled labour

According to Assaf and Al-Hejji (2006), labour is a vital resource in the construction industry. Considering the amount of work that is entailed in construction it follows that contractors will require a huge labour force. In addition, the increased competition dictates that newer designs and techniques of construction be adopted. However, a survey of skilled personnel working in the Arabian Peninsula is on a rapid decline (Assaf & Al-Hejji 2006). Globally, the numbers of skilled workers is also on the decline. Falqi (2004) reports that the work force in Europe aged between 35 years and 45 years is on the decline. Forecasts suggest that these numbers will continue to diminish in the near future.

Baloyi and Bekker (2011) point out that the cost of skilled labour is increasing and contractors are keen on minimising the costs of construction. Consequently, many contractors resort for cheap labour which is often unskilled. In the Middle East, the habit is common where companies recruit staff from other countries like India and Bangladesh. Given that such labour is cheap, there is a higher possibility that the quality of work is subsequently going to diminish.

Delays and Poor Quality of Work

The various problems enumerated in this section are an indicator the failure to resolve them they stand to affect the construction industry negatively. Falqi (2004) gives an example of the delays in the construction industry. While associating the high cost of construction, the scholar intimates that a contractor might become financially strapped owing to increase costs due to poor infrastructure. The implication would be that construction of a project comes to a halt. In such cases, projects like hospitals or schools would take a long time for completion. Such circumstances threaten the very existence of the construction industry.

Labour

The shortages of skilled labour, as discussed, result in the recruitment of an unskilled workforce which is usually cheaper (Aibinu & Jagboro 2002). A workforce that is not properly trained on the required standards in a given industry will often produce substandard work. The same explains why poor work quality is an issue of concern in Saudi Arabia’s construction industry. Falqi (2004) argues that a trend in which contractors give out shoddy work would result in investors shunning the region. No investor will want to acquire or make use of structures that are low quality.

Labour remains to be an essential resource required in the construction industry. The construction industry is still reliant on manual labour. As such the work force is expected to have sufficient skills coupled with the necessary experience (Al- Momani 2000). For instance, the ever changing designs for buildings require that the work force responds appropriately. Therefore, labour challenges pose a threat to the completion of a given project hence the delays discussed herein.

Al-Momani (2000) argues that labour can result in delays due to three main reasons. In the first instance, and as aforementioned, the hiring of unskilled labourers can give rise to delays. The other element is financing. Al-Momani (2000) suggests that a contractor may be keen to reduce of expenditure especially when working on a tight budget. It therefore becomes necessary to engage the services of an unskilled workforce as they are less costly. The third reason is brought about by the proprietors who do not pay the contractors as pr the agreed timelines. Consequently, the contractor is forced to delay payments to the labourers, a situation that brings about low morale.

The element of unskilled workforce has been studied in different countries. For instance, in their study, Sambasivan and Soon (2007) found that the most common cause for delays in Malaysia is due to unskilled workforce. From the same study, the researchers determined that the other elements of labour to be considered are the size and the wages paid. When the said issues are not properly addressed, the completion of a particular project is put at risk. The relationship between contractors and proprietors is responsible for the labour related problems mentioned herein.

In a particular study carried out by Majid (2006), it was found that contractors had formulated a habit of underpaying their labourers. The reduction in morale that follows, results in the failures to meet certain targets. A similar situation is bound to arise when a client fails to make payments to a contractor as per the agreement. The contractor is forced to reduce the running costs by not paying the labourers. The ripple effect is that a project is likely to stall (Marzouk & El-Rasas 2014).

In both cases, the remuneration of a labourer is the cause for what would be seen as a delay. Projects of high value require commitment from all the parties involved. Thus, there needs to be goodwill from the contractor and the client to ensure that a given project is completed as per the set deadlines (Majid 2006; Maloney 2002).

Construction materials

Whenever the issue of delays, in the construction industry, is brought up, the importance of the completed project is usually the driving factor. The same explains why most of the construction projects are essential both to the proprietors and to the general public. Consequently, such high expectations require that the finished product meet certain aesthetic and functional requirements (Le-Hoai, Lee & Lee 2008). The only way to realise the two issues is to ensure that the quality of the materials used is high quality.

Unfortunately, most contractors end up using substandard material in the construction process. The motivating factor behind this may be the need to save on financial resources. Although there are certain instances where the suppliers do not deliver the materials as instructed. In both cases, substandard materials end up taking much time to fit into the structural design of given project (Boukendour 2009). Consequently, an overall delay in the projects’ completion results

Fernandez-Solis (2008) carried out a study to determine the systematic nature of a construction industry. In their study they focused on large scale projects like hospitals and hotels. Their study revealed that most construction projects require a constant supply of high quality materials. Unfortunately, in most developing countries manufactures for high quality materials are scarce. Consequently, a supplier might delay to supply a particular consignment of material. Their delays als0 brings about delay in the completion of a given project. The logistics of supply is also a challenge in the instances where infrastructure like roads is not sufficient.

Lo, Fung and Tung (2006) carried out a study to determine the relationship between construction materials and the time completions of projects in Kuwait. From their study, it was determined that substandard materials do not last long. As such, damage to a structure results even before the entire project is completed. Consequently, a contractor is forced to repair the affected areas. Consequently, a contractor might end up making too many repairs at the expense of the set deadline for the completion of the project (Kazaz, Ulubeyli & Tuncbilekli 2012).

The construction materials form part of the job description of the project manager. Notwithstanding the scarcity of the materials in the market, a contractor s expected to ensure that the materials are delivered on time. Also, in the instances where substandard materials are delivered by a supplier, it lies on the project manager to determine whether they can be used in the construction with minimal effects or not (Syed & Yimin 2007).

Contractors

The execution of a given construction project is the responsibility of a contractor. Such a contractor may be a structural engineer or a civil engineer. The same requires that such a contractor possesses enough knowledge of matters pertaining to construction industry. According to Syed, Azhar, Castillo and Kappagantula (2002), a contractor is required to coordinate all the all the activities in a construction site. The experience and skill level of the contractor is therefore important when awarding such a construction tender (Arumala 2006). Numerous studies suggest that delays in the industry are brought about by contractors (Arditi & Lee 2003; Arshi & Sameh 2006; Delgado & Aspinwall 2005)

As already mentioned, experience is an important factor to consider with regards to a contractor’s capability to deliver. Al-Kharashi and Skitmore (2009), in their study, argue that most instances of delays result when inexperienced contractors are awarded a construction tender. Such incidences are on the rise within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Instances where inexperienced contractors are awarded tenders include nepotism. A client might award a tender to their friend or relative without much regard on their prowess in delivering on the task.

The capabilities of a contractor are also brought to the fore when they make low bids in a tendering process. Such contractors are usually faced with financial constraints. As such, they become inhibited in the delivery of the projects since certain financing obligations will be lagging behind. For instance, the payment of casual labourers and suppliers are the responsibility of the contractor. As such, when the finances are not sufficient, the completion of a project lags behind. Sambasivan and Soon (2007) suggest that contractors who make extremely low bids should not be taken seriously especially when the scale of the project is large.

Proprietors

A construction project is often commissioned by an investor or a public body. In such cases the commissioning party can be rightly referred to as the proprietor. The same is true given the fact that the ownership of the project belongs to the said parties. It is also common to find joint ventures where the public and the private sectors collaborate to fund the construction of various projects. Examples of such joint ventures include infrastructure related projects like roads, bridges and hospitals. Falqi (2004) argue that such kinds of projects are normally owned by the joint parties. He two researchers point out that certain delays are brought about by the proprietors

The delays in such instances are brought about by the need to save on the initial costs. Chan and Lee (2008) suggest that many proprietors come up with an extremely low budget for their projects. However, the fluctuating prices of construction materials destabilize the financing aspects of the project. At one instance the contractor is forced to contribute more into the projects. In the event that their resources aren’t sufficient then a delay is imminent. For instance, if the budget for a project is set at SAR 10 million any additional costs will put, in jeopardy, the completion of the project

Another element of delay is brought about y proprietors who disregard carrying out due diligence on a contractor. Christensen, Burke and Turner (2010) argue that proprietors are fond of awarding contracts to low bidders without much regards to their past performances. Consequently, such contractors may have a history of not completing projects. Should they be awarded a tender, then it is likely that the trend will repeat itself. Thus, proprietors should always be advised against focusing too much on low bidders at the expense of other more qualified contractors.

Consultants

Within the construction industry, consultants play a vital role in advising the contractor and the proprietor on the construction design. Khoshgoftar, Bakar and Osman (2010) argue that the professional opinion given by a consultant determines the outcome of the project. Elements like the duration, cost and materials to be used in the construction fall under the ambit of the consultant. As such, any misinformation on their part will have a significant outcome on a given project. Several cases of stalled projects are usually blamed on the consultant. The same happens when wrong advice is given, for instance, in the estimated cost without factoring in any possible fluctuations of prices in the market.

Consultants are usually found in places where there is a boom in the construction industry. Per-Erik and Mao (2014) argue that countries with weak industry regulation give rise to fraudsters masquerading as consultants. In the entire Arabian Peninsula, there is not much regulation in terms of consultants. Consequently, many projects have stalled owing to improper advice from the unprofessional consultants. Most proprietors opt for such persons owing to the low price quoted in comparison to other established persons. The stalling or delay in projects usually arises despite the ability to avoid such mistakes especially on the part of the proprietors.

As aforementioned, such consultants often quote lower prices when seeking for clients. The same is brought about by the absence of legal structures that would otherwise prevent the habit. Most consultants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia charge an average of 12% of the total budget of a project (Preiser & Vischer 2005). However, the quack consultants charge much less. Such disparities in the prices compel the proprietors to opt for the less costly alternative. Consequently, improper advice is often given to such proprietors resulting in delays and low quality of work. Stakeholders in the industry need to find ways of curtailing the growth of such dubious consultants

Quality standards in the construction industry

Like any other sector, the construction industry is expected to meet certain standards with regards to quality of work (Dale 2003). The sustainability of the industry relies on adherence to the laid out standards. The demand for quality is further compounded by the increased competition in the sector. Contractors are ever so keen to come up with high quality projects that shoddy work quality is regarded as a drawback.

There are several factors that are considered when the discussion on quality in the construction industry is made. First and foremost there are issues to do with design that re-emphasised. According to Walker (2002), poor work quality in the construction industry is brought about by a contractor’s lack of knowledge of the emergent designs. Zeng, Tam, Wang and Deng (2003) suggest that the problem is brought about by both the contractors and the consultants. The discussion that follows explains why.

Per-Erik and Mao (2014) argue that poor work quality is evident when there are unfinished projects in an area. Such projects may be delayed or stalled and abandoned. Arditi and Lee (2003) also point out that poor work quality is evident in the instances where structural errors are evidently seen in a construction site. For instance, the foundation may be faulty or the structure develops cracks unnecessarily. Consequently, it becomes important to determine the contributing factors behind the poor work quality.

Construction site

The condition of the construction site is an important factor to consider under such circumstances. According to Arditi and Lee (2003), the foundation of a building is one of the features taken into consideration during construction. Fernandez-Solis (2008) points out that the quality of construction of a building is determined by the stability of its foundation. In such circumstances consideration is expected to be paid to the topography of the areas where construction is to be undertaken.

The topography of an environment has everything to do with the overall terrain, the composition of the soils and the general quality of the ground on which the structure is to be erected. A look at the Arabia Peninsula reveals a relatively sandy terrain. There are certain areas that are extremely rocky. All in all, the quality of the ground is a major determinant of the orientation in which the foundation is expected to take. Delgado-Hernandez and Aspinwall (2008) suggest that a contractor must have background information of the terrain of a given area. Such background is provided for by a professional who, in most cases is contracted by the proprietor of the property..

A case in point is a rocky terrain. Delgado-Hernandez and Aspinwall (2008) suggest that the foundation must be sufficiently deep to attain maximum stability. Since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is situated in a desert like terrain it follows that foundations in the area ought to be deep for maximum stability. The professional tasked with the responsibility of determining the ground quality is expected to certify the depth in which a given foundation is to be suck. Consequently, a contractor will make structure their work plan to fit into the matrix of the terrain’s demands. Delgado-Hernandez and Aspinwall (2008) argue that since prior information is given to the contractors, not much readjustment on their part is required. However, problems will emerge in the event that prior information is not relayed to the contractor by the client, who in this case is the proprietor.

Management shortcomings

A contractor is seen as the accounting authority when it comes to the execution of construction project. Arditi and Lee (2003) argues that a any construction setting requires a project manager. Essentially, the contractor is required to act as the project manager to ensure that everything in the project runs smoothly. However, when such a contractor is found to be lacking certain managerial skills their performance on site will be found wanting. Consequently, a project might end up lagging behind its completion date or stall altogether. A project manager is therefore required to b sufficiently armed with the current information about quality standards within the construction industry

Experience

The overall quality of a construction project is given a boost when the contractor is sufficiently experienced with construction. Unfortunately, the cost of many experienced contractors is usually high. As a result, contractors are forced to rely on inexperienced contractors to carry out such immense projects as mentioned in the previous sections of this paper. Walker (2002) suggests that when inexperienced contractors are allowed to carry out their work other unqualified individuals take advantage of the low prices in demand to also offer their services. It can be argued that the culture of opting for lowly priced contractors has developed the growth of what can be termed as rogue or quack contractors. Their lack of experience implies that most will not be up to speed with the industry standards. Also, their inexperience explains the inability to manage the resources at their disposal. Consequently, wastage becomes the reason for poor work quality.

Fox and Skitmore (2007) argue that contractors need to have some element of innovativeness. The completion of large construction projects, as evident in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, requires some element of innovativeness. A contractor is expected develop ways of tackling problems that were not accounted for during the planning stage of the project. Yusof and Aspinwall (2000) point out that innovativeness in construction can enable a contractor avoid wastage.

For instance, a contractor can come up with ways of reducing the number of pillars, in a bid to save on cement. The extra cement can be used in other structural areas of the project. The idea behind such kind of innovativeness is to redistribute the materials in such a way that the overall quality of the construction meets certain thresholds in terms of standards. Such innovative measures are particularly important when the construction site is situated in remote areas where material supply would not be easily forthcoming (Walker 2002).

Financing

According to Fox and Skitmore (2007), poor work quality is brought about by the use substandard construction materials and techniques. In such cases, the contractor is expected to deliver a massive project albeit with an extremely strained budget. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, certain clients provide their contractor with minimal financial resources. Bansal (2012) points out that a client is expected to finance a significant portion of the project which should be supplemented by the contractor. However, the habit of selecting low bidding contractors complicates the matter. Such contractors are often financially incapacitated. Thus, when the client fails to honour their part of the financing deal, a contractor is forced to purchase substandard material

Whenever a contractor is tasked with the responsibility of carrying out works on a given project, there needs to be solid financial plan. Walker (2002) argues that when the estimation of the overall cost of a project is done, at least 60% of the project should be handled by the client’s finances. When the figures are not matched up, issues like payment of staff, complicate matters for the contractor. As such, the overall performance of the personnel involved is reduced. The consequence is the reduced quality of work on a given project (Fox & Skitmore 2007)

Every time, there appears to be a delay in the completion of a particular project, it can be argued that the quality of work is below standard (Arshi & Sameh 2006). Delays are brought about by different factors ranging from the capability of the contractors to the skill level of the employees. However, it is quite important to appreciate that delays suggest shortcomings in terms of financing or misappropriation of funds. Majid (2006) argues that quack contractors end up swindling their clients of money without delivering on the project. Consequently, the quality of work on a project becomes wanting. In such cases, contractors are assumed to engage massive embezzlement.

Solutions

According to Carnell (2005), all the challenges facing the construction industry are not unique to a given country. Consequently, the problems facing the sector in the KSA are almost similar to the ones being experienced by the sector in the United Kingdom or France. There are certain fundamental aspects of the construction industry which do not change. The issues touching on delays and poor work quality have been dealt with in other countries. The same can find relevance within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to Walker (2002), most industry problems require contribution from all stakeholders. Such a situation was evident in the study by Toor and Ogunlana (2008). In their study, the construction industry in Thailand was weighed down by problems toughing on poor work quality and delays. The stakeholders decided to form a regulatory body which allowed the government to rein in on errant members. Although government intervention is not preferred in a free market, the approach employed in Thailand incorporated all the industry players.

Maloney (2002) suggests that the managerial techniques employed by a contractor are responsible for the success or failure of a given project. However, the same cannot be realised in the event that the said contractors or project managers do not have experience in areas touching on total quality management. Chan and Lee (2008) argue that there needs to be a continuous education cycle in which the project managers get to participate. The two point out that a similar cycle is practiced in Hong Kong. The results are evident in that there is minimal delay and the work quality is excellent.

Another solution that can be addressed in the case of delays and poor work quality include the formation of a database of all contractors. Walker (2002) suggests that the objective of such a database will be to allow prospective clients peruse through to determine contractors who have a history of quality service delivery and minimal delays.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter, much attention has been paid to the construction industry and the related challenges. Most of the opinions generated in this chapter are obtained from various studies carried out in the past in relation to the subject matter. Scholars like Fox and Skitmore (2007), Al-Momani (2000), and Vu and Carmichael (2009) suggest that the growth of the construction industry is dependent on the resolution of the challenges found therein. From this chapter it emerges that among the various challenges facing the industry, poor work quality and delays threaten its very existence.

The various causes that result in delays and poor work quality are highlighted. Such issues as unskilled staff, inexperienced contractors and incompetent contractors are highlighted. Similar factors that bring about the instances of poor work quality are discussed. Information from the previous studies is important in building up the main argument of this research undertaking. A critical understanding of the same is expounded in later sections of the paper. The next chapter discusses the research methodology employed for this study.

Research and Methodology

In this chapter of the study, the focus shifts to the actual research. Therefore a suitable research design will be adopted for the study. Creswell (2008) points out that it is important to highlight a research design so as to rely on a suitable study type. The same depends on the study problem at hand. Also, in this chapter the sample size and the demographics of the study are clearly outlined. Thereafter the questionnaire is developed. The chapter acts as a means for data collection.

Research Design

According to Christensen et al. (2010), it is possible to have a research undertaking assume a quantitative and qualitative approach. There are other instances when a study assumes both instances with respect to the type of research being undertaken. A research design that adopts the two approaches is quite vital when the intention is to test a hypothesis or affirm a given thesis statement. The objectivity of such a research design makes it the most preferred in a study like the one undertaken herein.

Gravetter and Forzano (2011) argue that a qualitative and quantitative research approaches are components of an exploratory research design. Consequently, the study herein intends to assume a similar design. By virtue of incorporating qualitative components the study will take a systematic approach of data collection. The data will also adopt a descriptive approach. The same has already been illustrated in the literatures review wherein secondary material was used. From the secondary sources, data was collected to in response to the objectives of the study which is to determine the causes of delays and poor work quality.

There are two phases involved in the current study. The first phase incorporated secondary sources where a total of 16 reasons were found to contribute to the delays in the construction industry. According to Creswell (2008), literature reviews are insufficient in exhausting the particulars of a study. For that reason, the second phase of the research undertaking involves the administration of questionnaires. The data obtained from the respondents will help build on the subject matter.

The current study relies on both primary and secondary sources of information. When it comes to primary source of data, Walliman (2010) proposes the use of suitable research instruments. Some of the instruments include interviews and questionnaires (White & McBurney 2012). The benefit of using such instruments is the credibility it gives to a study. For instance, the use of a questionnaire allows an in-depth understanding of the sample population.

In this study, the questionnaires will be administered at random. Creswell (2008) points out that, questionnaires are prone to errors like obtaining false information. To overcome such errors, the respondents in the study are selected on the basis of the perceived importance they hold to the study. Thus, the participants are students drawn various institutions of higher learning and construction companies. They stand t benefit from the results of this study. Consequently, they will not give false information as it may jeopardise the research undertaking.

Scope

As mentioned earlier, the study is domiciled in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study focuses on major construction projects. Data is collected from professionals and scholars in the construction industry within Saudi Arabia. A majority of the data is sourced from contractors and engineering students.

Questionnaire

The primary sources of data for this study came from a questionnaire that was administered to a total of 33 participants. According to Walliman (2010), a questionnaire should contain the details of a participant to a study and the actual questions touching on the study. Thus, the questionnaire adopted for this study is divided into three sections. The first section required the participants to list their contact information and their familiarity with the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The participants were mostly engineering students, contractors and consultants in the industry.

The second section of the questionnaire contains a raft of items which constitute the problems to delays in the construction industry. Sever (2001) suggest that most of the delays can be categorised into groups. The questionnaire takes this into account by clustering the causes into 9 groups. In point form, the following are the groups into which the reasons for delays were clustered:

  1. Project related factors
  2. Labour
  3. Construction materials
  4. Consultants
  5. Project proprietors
  6. Contractors
  7. Building equipment
  8. Structural designers
  9. Other external factors

The questionnaire is structured in such a way that for each of the factors raised the participants were asked 2 questions. The first question was to determine frequency of the factor’s occurrence. The second question seeks to determine the extent to which the delay affects the project. It is important to mention that the frequency of occurrence and the severity of the delay are considered based on 4 parameters as listed below:

  1. Always
  2. Often
  3. Sometimes
  4. Rarely

In the same respect, the severity of occurrence was considered based on 4 parameters. They include:

  1. Extreme
  2. Great
  3. Moderate
  4. Little

The third section of the questionnaire seeks to determine the instances of poor work quality. Thus, a number of reasons were outlined. The participants were expected to respond to the reasons by marking alongside the proposed reasons. The responses were also graded on the same 4 parameters as in the case of the causes of delays. In point form, the reasons listed as instances of poor work quality includes:

  1. Unfinished projects
  2. Structural errors
  3. Construction technique
  4. Use of substandard material
  5. Unskilled labour

The fourth section of the questionnaire seeks to determine the causes of the poor work quality as evidenced by the instances illustrated above. Consequently, four main variables are provided in which the participant is expected to select one. Similar to the frequency and severity grading system, the section has a four point option in which a respondent is to pick one. The four parameters under consideration include:

  1. Labour
  2. Financing
  3. Material quality
  4. Contractors

The fifth section of the questionnaire is where the potential solutions are proposed. The participants are asked to selects from a raft of proposals, what the solution to the delays and the poor work quality would be. The severity and frequency indexes are also provided. In point form, the following are the options proposed as solutions in both of the cases:

  1. Government regulation of the industry
  2. Continuous education on total quality management
  3. Review of tender policy
  4. The creation of a database for contractors
  5. The formation of an in house body to regulate contractors

The final section of the questionnaire seeks to determine the personal opinion of the respondents on whether delays and poor work quality pose a threat to the construction industry at large. The participants are required to respond with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ depending on their opinion. The severity and frequency parameters are also incorporated in this section of the questionnaire.

According to Walliman (2010), questionnaires are supposed to be distributed at random. Further, the author recommends that at least 75% of the respondents respond to at least 80% of the questions. In the study, herein, all the participants responded to the all questions. There was no questionnaire that was not completed at the close of the study.

Summary

In this section of the paper, the research methodology for the study is described. The paper employed a two pronged approach in the collection of data. The first instance was viewed in the literature review section. Therein, secondary sources were used to determine the various causes of delays and poor work quality with respect to previous studies on the same. The information obtained formed the basis for the study to employ the use of a questionnaire. In each case, the questionnaire proposed different items as causes for the delays and poor work quality. There was a grading system in which the participants were asked to determine the severity and frequency with which the causes occur. In the next chapter the results of this study are outlined. The results are illustrated basing on the most common in both cases.

Results

Characteristics of Respondents

The study had a total of 33 participants. There were 13 contractors, 9 engineering students, 5 consultants and 6 proprietors of different projects. In terms of grading, the study relied on contractors who had a grading greater than 2. Also, each of the contractors had an accumulated experience of more than 15 years in the industry. The engineering students who took part in the study had an average age of 20 years. The students were selected based on their experiences during industrial attachment of 1 year. The consultants, on the other hand, were selected based on their experience. Thus, each of the contractors had more than 20 years of experience. Finally, the proprietors were selected based on the value of their projects. Each proprietor had a commercial property valued at more than 15 million.

From the study, it was determined that the participants factored in the time overrun for each of the projects. 60% of the contractors indicated that they their average overrun experiences were between 13% and 34% of the initial duration of a project. However, the consultants did not have a time overrun exceeding 100% of a project’s initial duration. It is important to add that the projects, considered in this study, are both privately and publicly owned.

Ranking

The causes of delay in the completion of projects are ranked according to the parameters mentioned in the previous chapter. The four parties to this study were expected to respond to the said parameters. Table 1 is an illustration of 8 parameters considered as possible causes of delays in the construction industry. Table 2, on the other hand, illustrates the rankings of the instances of poor work quality.

Table 1: Ranking of causes.

CONTRACTORS CONSULTANTS STUDENTS PROPRIETORS
Proprietors Contractors Contractors Contractors
Contractors Proprietors Proprietors Consultants
Materials Labour Materials labour
Labour Materials Consultant Materials
Designers Designers Labour proprietors
consultants Consultants Designers designers
Other Other Other Other

Table 2: Instances of Poor Work Quality.

CONTRACTORS CONSULTANTS STUDENTS PROPRIETORS
Unfinished projects Unfinished projects Structural errors Unskilled labour
Unskilled labour Unskilled labour Unskilled labour Unfinished projects
Poor quality of construction materials Poor construction technique Poor construction technique Poor construction technique
Poor construction technique Poor quality of construction materials Poor quality of construction materials Poor quality of construction materials

Frequency

As evident from table 1 it is apparent that proprietors are convinced that the most common causes of delays come from the contractors and the associated workforce. Results from the questionnaire reveal that proprietor’s delays occur most frequently when the tender is awarded to a contractor who bid the lowest. On the other hand, the contractors indicate that delays result most often from proprietors. Interestingly, the contractors agree with the proprietors that when a contract is awarded to a low bidder, delays are bound to arise.

The contractors point out that it is the proprietors who award these projects to low bidders in a bid to minimise on cost. Contractors who offer low bids during construction tendering processes are often unqualified. Their incompetence coupled with minimal resources result in minimal performance. Delays are bound to arise. The same argument is supported by the engineering students. They suggest that contractors are to blame for delays. The students insist that contractors who offer low bids often lack the expertise required to complete projects.

Looking at the quality of work, the contractors indicate that the presence of unfinished projects is the most common indicator of poor work quality (See table 2). The consultants also agree that unfinished coupled with the use of substandard materials contributes to delays. The consultants illustrate that substandard materials contribute to delays courtesy of their slowness.

Table 3 illustrates some of the causes of poor work quality. All the participants agreed that the instances of the poor work quality in table 2 are brought about by contractors. However, significant portion of the participants point out that labour is the most common cause. Other causes of poor work quality include the quality of materials and financing. The responses from each cluster of participants are outlined.

Table 3: Causes of Poor Work Quality.

CONTRACTORS CONSULTANTS STUDENTS PROPRIETORS
Labour Labour Labour Labour
Financing Contractors Contractors Contractors
Material Quality Financing Materials quality material quality
Contractors Material quality Material quality Financing

From table 3 the four clusters of respondents are the contractors, consultants, engineering students and the proprietors. The illustration makes it is apparent that labour is the most common reason as to why the poor quality is prevalent. A majority of the consultants, students and proprietors agree that contractors are also a contributing factor towards the poor work quality. However, the contractors who participated in the study suggest that financing is the second most common contributor towards the poor work quality. Material quality and financing were regarded as a factor to consider with regard to the poor work quality. However, their frequency was not as much

Severity

Proprietors to the respective projects, indicate that delays, in severe cases, are brought about by contractors and the workforce. The proprietors insist that the delays, due to the two parties mentioned, are brought about by the following:

  1. Insufficient labour
  2. Unskilled labourers
  3. Inexperienced contractors
  4. Delayed payment t contractors by proprietors
  5. Contractors’ inability to finance a project

Consultants similarly indicate that delays in the industry are brought about by contractors. Some of the reasons given include:

  1. Incompetence
  2. Inexperience
  3. Inadequate labourers
  4. Magnitude of project demanded
  5. Unskilled labour
  6. Poor planning

The contractors on the other hand illustrate that, where the blame of the delays lie with the contractors, the proprietors are to blame. The argument is that the proprietors issue contracts to low bidders in an attempt to minimise on the cost. In their argument, some of the reasons are as follows:

  1. Proprietors focus on low budget
  2. Delay in payment to contractors

In both cases there was a general agreement that the causes of delays and poor work quality result from players within the industry. Players like the government and cultural influence do not have a role to play. The most to blame are the contractors followed by proprietors.

Regarding the poor work quality, table 4 illustrates the severity with which each of the participants regarded each of the factors presumed to cause delays. The participants listed in table 4 are included based on the highest number of participants responding to a given variable. For instance, the variable “labour” the participants’ whose opinion was regarded the most was the one with the highest number associated with a given severity indicator.

Table 4: Severity of the causes of poor work quality.

CAUSE SEVERITY NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS PARTICIPANT
Labour Extreme 9 Contractor
Financing Great 5 Consultant
Material quality Extreme 7 Student
Contractor Extreme 5 Proprietor

Table 4 illustrates the severity with which each of the participants views the causes for poor work quality. Out of the 13 contractors, 9 responded with an extreme severity that labour is the cause. All of the consultants find the severity of financing as a cause for poor work quality as great. On the part of the student participants 7 out of the total 9 regarded material quality as extreme in terms of severity. Finally, 5 out of the total 6 proprietors who participated in the survey argued that the severity of contractors causing poor work quality is extreme.

From the results displayed herein, it becomes apparent that delays and poor work quality are problems found in the construction industry. It is therefore imperative that solutions towards the same are obtained. From table 3, it is evident that a huge number of the participants view contractors and labour as the most common causes of poor work quality within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It follows, that a solution of the two problems is found in addressing each of the causes mentioned herein. Details on the same are elaborated on in chapters 5 and 6

Solutions

From the questionnaire, several solutions are proposed. Table 5 illustrates the severity and frequency in which the participants respond. The solutions proposed are an avenue to gauge whether the ones suggested in the literature review would be applicable in this study. The proposed solutions are seen as the best when it comes to resolving the two problems of delays and poor work quality.

Table 5: Proposed solutions.

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS SOLUTION FREQUENCY SEVERITY
15 Government regulation Extreme Extreme
10 Education on quality management Great Extreme
7 Review of Tender policies Great Great
5 Database for contractors Great Great

From table 6, it is evident that a high number of participants (15) prefer government intervention in the construction industry within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 10 of the participants are of the opinion that education on quality management would be the best alternative. 7 participants suggest that the best solution to the delays and poor work quality would be a review of the tender policies. Finally, 5 respondents are of the view that the creation of a database for contractors would be the best solution.

Summary

In this chapter, the results of the study carried out are outlined. Tables 1 to 4 give a visual illustration of the perspective of each of the category of participants with regard to the causes of delays and poor work quality. As far as the delays are concerned, a high number of participants suggested that contractors are to blame. Proprietors come in second. There are few reports suggesting the culpability of the labourers. However, when it comes to the causes of poor work quality, labour is ranked as the most common cause followed by contractors. From the solutions discussed, it becomes apparent that there needs to be some form of government intervention. The intervention is intended to regulate some of the areas which have loopholes in the construction industry. The findings in this study require much interrogation. For that matter the next chapter provides a detailed discussion around the subject. Details touching on the specific causes of delays, poor work quality and their solutions are discussed.

Discussion

The discussions, thus far, have brought several reasons as to the causes of delays and poor work quality. According to Wong (2005), the KSA has, over the past couple of decades, experienced a boom in their economy. Consequently the construction sector has similarly grown. The threat to this industry is real. The delays and poor quality of work are the threat to the industry’s advancements. When massive projects stall due to the two issues raised, huge sums of monies are lost in the process. The discussion that follows elaborates on the root causes of these two problems. The realisation of the threat to the industry forces stakeholders to come up with ways to avert the problem. The discussion is a step towards resolving the issue.

Construction in Saudi Arabia

Economic boom

The revenues from petroleum have ranked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as one of the wealthiest countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Consequently, the country was witnessed growth in the economy over the past couple of decades. As such many sectors of the economy are experiencing a boom. According to Al-Momani (2000), the construction industry is one of the booming sectors as a result of the economic growth. The same is driven by the increasing demand for infrastructure and settlements.

Marzouk and El-Rasas (2014) point out that the construction industry has grown to a point where the entire kingdom is characterised by construction projects. The country’s development agenda relies on the success of the construction industry. However, the delays in project completion alongside poor work quality pose a threat to the realisation of this development agenda. It is imperative that the said problems are identified and a remedy be provided.

National development policy

In the survey carried out, 25 responded affirmed their knowledge of the country’s development agenda. Among the tenets of this agenda includes the need to have housing and infrastructure spread out proportionately throughout the country. The participants illustrated that the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an important component to ensuring the realisation of the expectations of the National Development Policy. By addressing the causative issues around the delays and poor work quality, the paper seeks to ensure that policy meets its objectives

Major problems

As previously mentioned, there are multiple problems prevalent in the construction industry not just in Saudi Arabia but in the global construction sector as well (Calculated Industries & Kokernak 2011). The case study by Kaliba, Muya and Mumba (2009) illustrates that the scarcity of skilled labour and financial resources tend to be the most common challenges facing the construction industry. Another major problem touches on the issues to do with standards. Previously it has been mentioned that there are certain instances where the set standards in the industry are factored in during the preliminary stages of construction. In such cases, the quality of the work is reduced and at the same time, the project risks stalling. In the case of a booming sector like the one in the KSA, such problems pose a serious risk to the realisation of the country’s development agenda. It is imperative that a solution be provided.

From the developmental agenda discussed previously the Saudi Arabia government relies on infrastructural development for its actualisation. As such the state of the construction industry is at the core of their decision making with regards to the development agenda (Carnell 2005). Also, the Saudi government’s keenness on solving the housing problem requires major projects towards that end. An example, already mentioned, is the initiation of major projects like the Jeddah Corniche (Carnell 2005). Such projects are vital in meeting the housing demand in the region. The government has responded to the demand for cement by construction a plant towards that effect.

The aforementioned trends are an indicator of the significance of the construction industry to the kingdom’s infrastructure agenda. It is important, therefore, the problems affecting the agenda be dealt with before they escalate further. In the case of the Saudi government the construction industry has become an essential component of their development agenda. According to Bansal (2012), all stakeholders are required to collaborate to ensure that the problems are resolved. Issues like the delays and poor quality standards mentioned herein require an urgent solution. The current study intends to provide such solutions

According to Yasamis, Aditi and Mohammadi (2002), delays in the construction industry have a resultant effect. The first is that overall cost of the project goes up from the initial amount budgeted. Secondly, the project risks stalling and thereby resulting in losses amounting to millions of SAR. As mentioned earlier, the ripple effect such a situation has a negative effect on a country’s economy (Wernham 2012). Delays in the construction industry are caused by various factors as will be discussed. It will be recalled that Falqi (2004) in their thesis, argues that the causes of the delays are best appreciated by grading the delays according to the various types. It therefore becomes easier to determine the exact cause of delay in the completion of a given project. The same has been aptly discussed in the earlier sections of this paper

Threat to the industry

The various problems mentioned with regard to the construction industry pose a threat to the growth and development of the industry itself. Al- Momani (2000) argues that delays and poor work quality are just some of the common problems within the industry. However, coupled with the other problems highlighted the same could pose a threat to the industry and economy at large. Stalled projects would mean losses on the part of the proprietor. On the other hand increased expenses will drive the prices of the properties high. In such cases certain amenities like houses and hospitals will become scarce. The rise in populations will become unsustainable.

Al-Momani (2000) explains that such a vital industry as the construction sector is a key pillar of a country’s economy. Should it experience collapse then the economy is put at risk. Consider a situation where the KSA suffers a total collapse in its construction sector. The implication will be that key infrastructure like roads, bridges and even pipelines will be affected. Consequently, the export of the country’s crude oil will be greatly affected in the negative. It is therefore in the best interest of the country to ensure that the construction industry thrives.

The best way to ensure the same is to address the emergent problems like delays and poor work quality. In later sections of this paper, it will become clear as to the proposed solutions to the menaces cited. The objective will be to ensure that the causes of such problems are illustrated in a bid to provide the adequate solution. Al-Momani (2000) argues that such solutions require a convergence of opinions from all stakeholders. In the recommendation stage of this study, the same will be outlined.

Causes of Delays

Labour

Labour is one of the most fundamental resources required in the construction industry. Owing to the extent of the work required. Heavy manpower is usually relied upon to complete various tasks. Labour is expected to be sufficient in terms of numbers and skill levels (Al-Momani 2000). The new construction designs call for highly skilled labourers to ensure that projects are completed and meet the latest technology in terms of standards. From the study carried out, it was determined that labour was among the reasons contributing to delays in the construction industry.

The participants in the study revealed that there are three reasons why labour is a contributing factor in the delays within the construction industry. The first reason was the presence of unskilled labourers. Secondly, the participants suggest that most construction projects attempt to cut down on cost by employing a small number of labourers. Thirdly, delay in making paying the labourers results in a demoralised work force. Figure 2 is an illustration of the factors associated with labourers in the construction industry.

Labour problems in the construction sector.
Figure 2: Labour problems in the construction sector.

From figure 2, above, the three problems associated with labour are illustrated. From the participants polled, it was apparent that 47% believe that an unskilled workforce contributes most to the delays. 30% suggest that delay in payment is a contributing factor whereas 23% blame the labour problems on a small workforce. However, there is consensus that labour issues threaten the progress of a construction project. Labour problems are brought about by contractors and proprietors (Syed et al. 2002).

The study by Syed et al. (2002) suggest that contractors underpay their labourers. As a result, most are demoralised and end up not meeting the expected targets. The same is also true in instances where project proprietors refuse to pay the contractors their dues. In both cases, there is usually intent to minimise on cost. However, it is important for parties to realise the importance of competing projects on time. It is less costly to have a project completed within the set timelines in comparison to delayed projects. Most projects that delay, risk stalling especially when the budget is high (Majid 2006; Kazaz et al. 2012).

Construction materials

The study carried out, drew participants with a familiarity with large projects. By virtue of the projects costing multiple millions of Saudi Arabia Riyals, it follows that the materials required would be bountiful. In addition, the aesthetic demands of such projects require materials of high quality (Le-Hoai et al. 2008). Therefore, it is imperative that construction projects have materials that meet the quality and quantity of the various projects. However, the study carried out indicates that delays due to construction materials are brought about by logistical challenges and substandard materials.

Le-Hoai et al. (2008) carried out a study to determine various causes of delays in the construction industry in Vietnam. The magnitude of the projects surveyed was similar to the ones in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Their study revealed that most suppliers take time in delivering materials. Owing to the magnitude of the project most materials are sourced from major producers. Delays in delivery arise when such companies operate from a central location. Consequently, the delivery of materials to different parts of a country becomes a logistical challenge.

In their study, Sambasivan and Soon (2007) point out that contractors are known to reduce their budget by making purchases of substandard materials. The danger of substandard material is that they tend to wear easily. Materials that wear off before the completion of a project force the contractors to re-do the faulty area. Such repeats contribute to the delay in completing a given project. Given that most of the purchases fall under the purview of the contractor, it can be said that they contribute to the acquisition of substandard materials. However, there are certain instances where the proprietors limit the contractor by insisting on a low budget.

Contractors

In a given construction project, it is the role of a contractor to ensure that the project is executed to its fullest. A contractor is usually tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the requirements for a given project are in place. Such a huge responsibility requires that a contractor, chosen for a particular project, be up to the task. From the study carried out, it was determined that contractors are the most to blame for the delays in the construction industry.

In one instance, the contractors are blamed for lacking experience. Kaliba et al. (2009) carried out a similar study in Zambia. Among the reasons why delays were witnessed in the country’s construction industry was the increase in cases where contractors are awarded contracts without regard to their experience. The case is cited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Some participants indicated that certain public projects were awarded to friends by government officials. Such patronage is usually characterised by people with little or no experience at all.

There are certain instances where contractors make low bids during the tendering process. In the event such contractors win the tenders, most are faced with the inability to finance the projects. Similar sentiments are shared by El-Razek et al. (2008). The three argue that a contractor is expected to facilitate at least 60% of the project without relying on the proprietor for payment. In Saudi Arabia it has become common to find contractors who do not have sufficient funds for major project. It should come as no surprise when such contractors fail to deliver on their projects.

Proprietors

As has been mentioned, earlier in this paper, the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is thriving in both public and private sectors. It is also common to find joint ventures where the public and the private sectors collaborate to fund the construction of various projects. Sweis et al. (2007) illustrate that this kind of partnership is common in the infrastructure related projects like roads, bridges and hospitals. In such cases the projects are normally under the proprietorship of the funding party or parties. The study, found that proprietors also contribute to delays in the construction industry.

The private sector is keen of maximising on profits by minimising on cost. Whereas this is a sound business idea, minimal costs pose a risk to the progress of a project. Khoshgoftar et al. (2010) carried out a study to determine the various factors around construction cost in the KSA. One of their findings was the increased demand for materials. In their recommendations, the two, point out that bids to such projects should not be made more that 15% lower than the standard in the industry. For instance, if the standard price is SAR 15 million contractors who quote 15% less than the said price they risk being unable to finance the project owing to the cost of materials.

With the said argument, proprietors who opt to award contracts to bids that are extremely low, contribute to their projects not being completed. Maloney (2002) point out that, proprietors ought to be alive to the fact that construction is a capital intensive industry. Consequently, delaying payments to contractors, results in the overall delay in the completion of various projects. The study carried out, herein, reveals that delays in making payments to contractors has resulted in the stalling of various projects.

Consultants

From the survey carried out in this study, consultants were found to be the least responsible with regards to their contribution in the delays within the construction industry. In a conference on construction in developing countries, Bansal (2012) supports this sentiment. The two point out that consultants have a role to play to ensuring the speedy completion of a project. However, when a project is found to have stalled, the consultant is partly to blame. Some of the reasons as to why consultants ‘fail’ in their tasks include their high cost, inexperience and incompetence.

The boom in the construction industry within the KSA has resulted in many consultants opening shop in the region. Long and Maisel (2010) are of the view that weak industry regulation results in ‘quack’ consultants springing up every so often. Within the Saudi government, there is little regulation to ensure that consultants. The same has contributed to the increase in the number of consultants keen on cashing in on the boom in the sector. Such consultants end up providing inaccurate advice to the proprietor and contractor. Consequently, the project stalls due to factors that would have been avoided had the consultant been a specialist.

One reason why ‘quack’ consultants are allowed to thrive is the element of cost. According to Majid (2006), most consultants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia charge between 10% and 15% of the total budget of a project. However, the quack consultants charge much less. Such disparities drive the proprietors to the latter type of consultants in a bid to same on cost. As such, when inaccurate advice is given to a contractor the blame falls on both the proprietor and the consultant. Lack of government regulation policy on construction consultants encourages a thriving sector of inexperienced consultants. If the situation is not changed, they would emerge as a serious problem in the construction industry.

Others

The delays in the construction industry are also brought about by other factors. Some of these factors include, design and inflation in the economy. Syed et al. (2002) point out that emerging technologies of construction are not easy to keep up with. There are always new designs for construction. Consequently, contractors who are not up to speed with these new designs will find it hard to complete the project as expected. Consequently, most projects end up stalling. Also inflation contributes to the rise in the cost of building materials. Thus, it becomes difficult to meet the cost of certain materials contributing to delay in the completion of projects.

Poor Quality of Work

The construction industry is characterised by structures, which in most cases, are essential in supporting human population. Thus, it is important to ensure that the said structures meet the required standards of construction. From the research carried out, it was established that, poor work quality was found evident in a number of projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Some of the instances include unfinished projects, structural errors, and poor quality of construction materials, unskilled labour and poor construction techniques.

Site conditions

In the previous chapter, it was evidently clear that poor work quality is seen through the various unfinished projects. Further, it was established that such unfinished projects result from a combination of factors. One such factor is the condition of the construction site. According to Arditi and Lee (2003), the foundation of a structure is the most fundamental aspect in construction. A building is expected to have a stable foundation. The same is brought about by the composition of the soil. It is therefore imperative that a construction site be as proper as possible.

One of the factors affecting the laying of foundation is the abnormality of the ground conditions. In the study carried out, herein, half of the participants attested to the fact that most construction projects are carried out without any research on the conditions of the soil. Delgado-Hernandez and Aspinwall (2008) carried out a study to determine various ways of improving the construction sector in the United Kingdom. With regards to the foundation stage of construction, the two argue that structural engineers ought to have an accurate account of the soil information on a given site. Such information will prevent excess or inadequate digging of the foundation.

The terrain of the location of the site is also cited as a factor to consider is the situation of a construction site. All of the respondents, in the study, affirm that the Saudi Arabia is situated in a desert like terrain. Terrains of such a nature require a contracture to guarantee stability of the structure t be erected. In such circumstances it is expected that a contractor will make necessary readjustments to resolve the weaknesses of the unstable desert terrain. Delgado-Hernandez and Aspinwall (2008) suggest that structural engineers develop structures that will not require much readjustment. Structures that are too complex are difficult to execute hence the poor quality observed.

Management

From the onset of construction, the role of supervising the completion of a project lies with the contractor. Arditi and Lee (2003) suggests that a contractor is expected to act as the project manager in a given construction setting. A similar sentiment is shared by all the contractor respondents in the study. They argue that a contractor acts as the accounting officer in a given project. Consequently, the onus of quality execution lies with the management of a construction project. Similarly, when a project is falls below the expected quality standards, it follows that the management is to blame.

As was the case of delays in construction industry, the experience of a contractor is quite essential in ensuring that the construction meets the required standards. Walker (2002) is of the opinion that most proprietors, in a tendering process, prefer contractors who make extremely low bids. However, the participants in this study reveal that most ‘quack’ contractors are the ones who make extremely low bids so as to stand a high chance of winning tenders. Inexperienced contractors are not always at par with the new techniques of construction. Also, their inexperience inhibits such contractors from having absolute control of the staff and utilisation of materials. Consequently, wastage becomes the reason for poor work quality.

The element of innovativeness, in a contractor, cannot be ignored. Big projects, like the kind witnessed in the KSA require managerial innovativeness. As such a contractor is expected to always employ innovative management skills. Yusof and Aspinwall (2000) argue that innovativeness in construction can enable a contractor avoid wastage. Innovative construction techniques have shown the ability to save on material while at the same time executing quality structures. It is imperative that a project manager possesses relevant and up to date management skills.

Contractors

Poor quality in construction is evident in the use of poor construction materials and techniques. In such cases the onus lies with the arrangement that a contractor has with their client. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most clients provide the required information for a project to the contractor. Yasamis et al. (2002) point out that a client s expected to furnish the contractor wit details like the loading schedules. Other issues like specifications of the project and the ground quality are issues that should be provided by the client. In the event such details are not provided to a contractor, the quality of the project is reduced.

Whenever a contractor is tasked with the responsibility of carrying out works on a given project, there are certain statutory requirements and specifications which ought to be followed. Walker (2002) argues that when the estimation of the overall cost of a project is done, statutory requirement affect the overall quality. From the study, participants illustrated that there are instances when contractors proceed with their work without regard to the statutory requirements. When such blatant disregard is practiced, it follows that the quality of work will deteriorate.

Poor work quality is evident when a project is delayed. In the previous section much detail on the subject has been discussed. However, it is quite important to mention that poor work quality in such cases is brought about by the disregard to the timeline for the completion of a project. Yasamis et al. (2002) argues that a nonchalant approach to work is the reason as to why most contractors end up spending too much time on a project. Consequently, the quality of work on a project becomes wanting. In such cases, contractors are assumed to engage plenty on unskilled labourers in the project.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter a detailed analysis of the results obtained from the questionnaire are outlined. Matters touching on the specific instances of delays are discussed. From the discussion it becomes apparent that the main reason behind the delays witnessed in the industry is brought about by the contractors. However, the proprietors and the consultants are also to blame for the delay. Several opinions as the reason behind the delay are formulated basing on the competency and experience of contractors. Similar opinions are raised regarding the instances of poor work quality as depicted in the industry. The discussion lays the foundation for an appropriate resolution to the said problems. In the next chapter several recommendations are made in a bid to prevent further delays and poor work quality in the construction industry.

Recommendations

The study has restricted itself to the determination of the causes of delays and poor work quality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From the study carried out, several reasons for the 2 problems were illustrated. In a bid to provide solutions to alleviate the situation, several recommendations are made to that effect. The recommendations provided for in this paper are made to ensure that the construction industry in the KSA remains intact. As premised earlier, a collapse in the industry is a threat to the economy at large.

Delays

From the study, it is evident that delays in the construction industry are brought about by contractors and proprietors. In a bid to illustrate how productivity can be attained in the construction industry, Dubois and Gadde (2002) suggest an improvement in the relationship between the two. The recommendations adopted with regard to delays are geared at improving the relationship between all the stakeholders. An improvement of that sort is important in the growth of the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Tendering process

From the study, it is apparent that there are various matters that need to be addressed with regard to the tendering process. Such scenarios as contractors having financing problems need to be scrutinised prior to the award of a contract. Vu and Carmichael (2009) are of the opinion that due diligence be carried out on a company before any contractual agreements are settled upon. To this effect, the report recommends that the Saudi government comes up with a fool proof policy that locks out ‘quack’ contractors.

Such a recommendation comes against the backdrop of the increase in incompetent and inexperienced contractors keen to cash in on the construction boom. Arumala (2009) suggests that a proper due diligence of a contractor requires through scrutiny of their financial record. Under this recommendation it would be beneficial for the department in charge of infrastructure within the Saudi government to have a data base of companies. From such a database, a proprietor will be provided with all the necessary background information touching on a given contractor. From such information, they are able to determine which company will best deliver.

Some of the parameters to consider during such due diligence include the financial records and previous projects accomplished (Arumala 2006). Also, the data base should contain the names of the directors of a company. Such information will enable one to determine whether nepotism (in the case of public projects) was employed in awarding the tender. The same proves quite important since most cases of delay are brought about by contractors being awarded tenders owing to their relationship with the proprietor and not their professional experience. The recommendation is aimed at ensuring that only the best and most qualified contractors get awarded contracts.

Labour

The research revealed that a majority of the delays are directly linked with the competence of the workforce. In a survey, to determine why most projects end up seeking extensions, Arumala (2006) also blames an incompetent workforce. In most cases contractors engage an unskilled workforce with the intention of minimising on the cost. Such a trend has become rampant in recent years notwithstanding that, sometimes, monies are set aside for skilled labourers by the proprietors. Unfortunately, some contractors have made it a habit to misappropriate funds meant for skilled labourers in a bid to make more money.

Consequently, this report recommends that the Saudi Government and all the relevant stakeholders come up with a labour policy. Toor and Ogunlana (2008) support the notion of labour as an important resource in the industry. As such, a proper framework should be adopted to ensure that the workforce actually delivers. Under this recommendation, the stakeholders should consider setting a certain number of skilled and unskilled workers, which should be incorporated into a given project. Depending on the scale of the project, the number of skilled labourers should outnumber the ones with little experience and competence.

The idea is to have a sequential capacity building. The skilled personnel will also be tasked with training the unskilled labourers. Toor and Ogunlana (2008) suggest that a properly trained work force has the capability to lessen the work load. Thus, there is a possibility that with a well trained team of labourers, a contractor can complete a given project in less time. As such the unnecessary delays will be avoided. In the long run, monies which would have been used to fund the remainder of the project can find use elsewhere.

Poor Quality of Work

From the study, there are many instances of poor work quality, which have been cited. Details as to how they result have also been discussed. It is therefore imperative that the recommendations address the key areas where the problems arise. Thus, the recommendations are meant to address the management shortcomings in a bid to improve the poor work quality brought about contractors.

Quality policy

In every industry stakeholders usually form an association. Within that association they are required to come up with policies that enable raise the quality of their operations to meet certain standards. Long and Maisel (2010) share a similar philosophy. They argue that the construction industry requires an internal self regulating body to ensure that there are certain benchmarks which ought not to be violated. Consequently, this paper recommends that there be established a body of contractors from the membership of all contractors in Saudi Arabia. The body will be responsible for formulating policy on the required construction standards.

The proposed body should have the mandate to obligate proprietors to carry out feasibility studies on the land prior to entering into an agreement with a contractor. Al-Kharashi and Skitmore (2009) point out that most contractors are versed with the techniques of erecting a structure. Details like the soil quality should be dealt with by a professional in the field. From the study, it is evident that most proprietors do not have the ground quality tested for suitability. The resultant structures are thus of low quality owing to instability issues. However, with such a body, proprietors will be required to have their sites approved for quality purposes prior to the actual construction.

Management

According to Wong (2005), the management of a construction site is a major contributing factor to the quality of the project once complete. Consequently, the contractor should be regarded as the accounting officer with regards to an ongoing project. Arumala (2006) support this notion by insisting that contractors are capable of doubling up as project managers. However, in the event that a contractor is not a qualified management professional, a project manager can be hired to complete the task. Therefore, this report recommends the application of total quality management in the construction industry.

The importance of the construction industry has been mentioned in the earlier sections of this paper. Bansal (2012) reasserts this notion by insisting that its direct association with human activities require that high standards of quality be employed in the industry. The best way to realise high standards is by making use of total quality management approaches. Wong (2005) argues that such management skills are beneficial when applied by a professional. The recommendation to use total quality management suggests that the stakeholders in the construction industry should have continuous testing mechanisms to ensure that project managers are at par with the latest quality standards in the industry.

The application of total quality management will greatly reduce instances of poor work quality (Maloney 2002; Preiser & Vischer 2005; Seaver 2001). For instance, a project manager with the said skills will not tolerate workers who are not skilled. As such, this recommendation goes hand in hand with the recommendations made with regard to contractors as causes of delays. Syed and Yimin (2007) point out that most delays are brought about by poor work quality. However, the total quality management approach acts as mechanism of resolving both problems at one go.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter several recommendations are made with regard to the twin issues of the research undertaking. The recommendations are divided into two main segments. The first segment makes appropriate recommendations touching on the delays within the construction industry. To that end, two recommendations are made. The first seeks to improve the tendering process. The second recommendation seeks to improve the labour issues within the industry. When it comes to addressing the poor work quality in the industry, there are also 2 re recommendations made. The first recommendation seeks to introduce a clear policy on quality. Secondly, the paper recommends that there be an improvement of management related issues with regards to the contractors. The four recommendations are meant to respond to the thesis statement of this study. The same is elaborated on in the conclusion segment of this paper.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, delays and poor work quality pose a threat to the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study therefore restricted itself to determining the actual causes of the aforementioned issues. In line with that, the objectives of the study were structured in such a way that the problems were outlined and effectively responded to. In this section, an overview for the paper’s seen chapters are discussed in line with the objectives of the paper. In this section, it becomes elaborately clear as to whether the problem statement has been responded to.

Structure

The paper is divided into seven chapters. The first chapter is the introduction. In the introduction chapter, the foundation of the study is outlined. In line with that, the background details of the problem are outlined. Thereafter a statement of the research problem is outlined. Within the first chapter, the fundamental aspects of the study like the objectives and the scope are outlined. According to Ralph (2000), a preliminary understanding of the construction industry enables an understanding of the problem at hand making them easily determined.

The second chapter builds upon the background information by discussing previous studies on the same subject matter. Scholars like Kazaz et al. (2012), Kaliba et al. (2009), Al-Momani (2000), and Zeng et al. (2003) provide requisite insight into the instances of delays within the construction industry. The discussions in this chapter reveal that poor work quality and delays are the common problems facing the construction industry. Consequently the causes of such problems are illustrated unskilled staff, inexperienced contractors and incompetent contractors are highlighted. Within the same chapter, the factors that bring about the instances of poor work quality are illustrated. They range from management issues to matters touching on labour

The third chapter illustrates the methodologies employed in the study. Details of the sources of information and the design approach are further illustrated. The structure of the questionnaire is discussed in detail within this chapter. The fourth chapter illustrates the results of the questionnaires administered on the participants. A discussion f the same is outlined in the fifth chapter. The sixth chapter provides the recommendations adopted as possible solution. Finally, the paper concludes with the seventh chapter which gives an overview of the study.

Objectives

The study is intended to respond to two main elements. The first is to determine the causative agents of delays and poor work quality. The second is to illustrate how these delays threaten the construction industry. The discussions thus commence with an illustration of the importance of the construction industry to a country. An elaboration of the same supports the thesis statement developed for the study. Such discussions result in the determination of the root causes of the two problems (Long & Maisel 2010)

Findings

The study found that delays in the construction industry are brought about by contractors. Other factors contributing to the delays include the issues touching on labour, consultants and proprietors. The issues touching on the poor work quality are brought about by poor management skills and the presence of unskilled labour in a given project. Also, the quality of the materials involved was found to contribute towards the quality of work carried out in a given construction project.

Recommendations

The paper had 4 recommendations to make with regard to the problems cited in this study. The first two recommendations touch on the delays within the construction industry. Firstly, the paper proposes an improvement of the tendering process in that only the best bidders are allowed to participate. Secondly, the paper recommends an improvement of the labour issues within the construction industry. With regards to the poor work quality prevalent in the industry, there are also 2 recommendations made. First, the paper recommends the introduction a clear policy on quality within the industry. The second recommendation seeks to improve of management related issues as far as the contractors are concerned.

Summary

The construction industry is indeed important especially when it comes to the growth of an economy. However, Walker (2002) argues that problems like delays and poor work quality are a threat to the industry’s growth. From the study, it emerges that contractors are single most causes of delays and poor work quality. The recommendations made in this study seek to consolidate all the stakeholders in the industry to address the said problems (Chan & Lee 2008). The objective is meant to ensure that the construction industry within the KSA is cushioned from possible collapse due to the issues raised.

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Appendix

Appendix 1: Questionnaire

A Questionnaire to Determine the Causes of Delays and Poor Work Quality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Section 1: Personal Data

Name:________________________________________________

Profession: ____________________________________________

Age: _________________________________________________

Gender: ______________________________________________

Experience ____________________________________________

Section 2: Delays

What do you think is the cause for delays in the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saud Arabia?

  1. Frequency: Always (1) Sometimes (2) Often (3) Rarely (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
  2. Severity: Extreme (1) Great (2) Moderate (3) Little (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
    1. Project related factors——————————————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Labour —————————————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Construction materials——————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Consultants———————————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Project proprietors ————————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Contractors ———————————————————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Building equipment ————————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Structural designers ————————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Other external factors ———————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

Section 3: Poor Work Quality

What are the instances of poor work quality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

  1. Frequency: Always (1) Sometimes (2) Often (3) Rarely (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
  2. Severity: Extreme (1) Great (2) Moderate (3) Little (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
  3. Unfinished projects ————————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]
    • b[1] [2] [3] [4]
  4. Structural errors —————————————————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]
    • b[1] [2] [3] [4]
  5. Construction technique ———————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]
    • b[1] [2] [3] [4]
  6. Use of substandard material ————————————————— a [1] [2] [3] [4]
    • b[1] [2] [3] [4]
  7. Unskilled labour ———————————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

Section 4: Delays

What do you think is the cause for poor work quality in the construction industry?

  1. Frequency: Always (1) Sometimes (2) Often (3) Rarely (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
  2. Severity: Extreme (1) Great (2) Moderate (3) Little (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
    1. Labour——————————————————————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Contractors———————————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Financing————————————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Material quality—————————————————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

Section 5: Solutions

What do you think is the solution for delays and poor work quality in the construction industry?

  1. Frequency: Always (1) Sometimes (2) Often (3) Rarely (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
  2. Severity: Extreme (1) Great (2) Moderate (3) Little (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
    1. Government regulation———————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Education on total quality management——————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Review of tender policy—————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. Database for contractors—————————————————- a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. In house body for regulation of contractors————————— a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

Section 6: Personal Opinion

Do you think that the delays and poor work quality are a threat the construction industry in Saudi Arabia?

  1. Frequency: Always (1) Sometimes (2) Often (3) Rarely (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
  2. Severity: Extreme (1) Great (2) Moderate (3) Little (4) [Please mark with a ‘X’ where applicable]
    1. Yes——————————————————————————– a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]

    1. No ———————————————————————————a[1] [2] [3] [4]

b[1] [2] [3] [4]