An Investigation into the Risk of Construction Projects Delays in the UAE

An Investigation into the Risk of Construction Projects Delays in the UAE

Omayma Motaleb (The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK) and Mohammed Kishk (The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/jitpm.2013070104
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The growing rate of delays in project delivery is considered a major criticism of the construction companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This paper aims to investigate the causes and effects behind the delays pertaining to delivery of construction projects in the UAE. The study is exploratory in nature, and incorporates a pilot questionnaire survey and interviews. An extensive literature review indicates potential factors that have possible effects on construction completion delay. The questionnaire forms were sent to 50 construction companies. Thirty-five (70%) completed responses were received. Analysis of the survey data has revealed that about 42 potential causes and effects of delay relate to various groups of stakeholders. The results show the top fifteen factors relate to clients, project managers and finance aspects. It was found that cost and time overruns are the most significant effects. These results are in partial agreement with previous studies. The paper argues that the key determinant in ensuring project control is on-time project delivery. The results of the study can provide moderate support for a suggested hypothesis, through a framework of project success factors. It should be of high concern to knowledge managers in various roles and decision-makers.
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Construction delay is ubiquitous in construction business, as well as being one of the most common risks to project success. This phenomenon largely overlaps the roles and interests of various project stakeholders in a multicultural society. Construction delay can be defined as the time overrun either beyond the contract deadline or beyond the date on which the parties agree upon for the delivery (Assaf & Al-Hajji, 2006). Project success is considered to have been achieved when it is completed within time, cost, on specification and to stakeholders’ satisfaction (Majid, 2006). Delay is considered a frequently recurring problem in many developing countries, especially those that have grown so quickly despite the recent financial crisis, for example, the UAE construction sector (Faridi & El-Sayegh, 2006; Motaleb, 2009).

Many researchers have classified the causes of construction project delay by stakeholders in groups like clients, contractors, consultants, project managers, resources (such as labor, materials, equipment), external and financial/economic factors (Odeh & Battaineh, 2002; Ahmed et al., 2003; Assaf & Al-Hajji, 2006; Faridi & El-Sayegh, 2006; Motaleb, 2009). The literature is extensive on this phenomenon. An investigation into selected global research in Table 1 and Table 2 has supported the way forward and future work for UAE construction projects. They have been classified into public and private sectors according to causes of group/category. It is reported as full/partial agreements beyond the studies, between 2000 -2010 to identify gaps in knowledge.

Table 1.
Summary of Global Research (2000-2010)
NoResearchProjectFactors (Groups) causing delayEffects of delay
1 Al-Momani, (2000) Public buildings, (Jordan), Public sectorDesigner, External, Finance, Client, ContractorTime overrun
2 Noulmanee et al., (2000) Highway construction, (Thailand), Public sectorResources, DesignerTime overrun
3Elinwa and Jashwa, (2001)Public works (Nigeria), Public sectorFinance, Resources, Designer, Project Manager, Contractor, GovernmentTime &cost overrun
4 Aibinu & Jagboro, (2002) General construction (Nigeria), Private and PublicsectorsClientTime & cost overrun
5Ellis and Thomas, (2002)Highway (USA), Public sectorProject Manager, External, Contractor, DesignerTime overrun
6 Manavazhia & Adhikarib, (2002) Highway (Nepal), Public sectorResourcesTime overrun
7 Odeh & Battaineh, (2002) General construction (Jordan), Public and private sectorsClient, Resources, Project Manager, Contractual, External, ConsultantTime and cost overrun
8Ahmed, (2003)Building Project (Florida, US), Private sectorExternal, Client, Designer, ConsultantTime & cost overrun
9Frimpong & Oluwoye, (2003)Groundwater Construction(Ghana), Public sectorFinance, Contractor, ResourcesCost overrun
10 Choudhury & Phatak, (2004) Commercial construction projects, USClient, Contractor, Finance, DesignTime overrun
11Koukshi et al., (2004)Residential (Kuwait)ResourcesTime &cost overrun
12 Sun et al. (2004) Construction projects (UK)ClientTime &cost overrun
13 Acharya et. al., (2005) Building project(Nepal)Resources, External, ContractorTime overrun
14Koushki, (2005)Residential (Kuwait), private sectorClient, Finance, Contractor, ResourcesTime & cost overrun
15Wiguna &Scott,, (2005)Buildings projects (Indonesia), Private sectorFinance, Client, Designer, External, ContractorTime & cost overrun
16Abdu-Rahman et. al., (2006)Construction Project(Malaysia),Finance, Resources, ClientTime overrun
17 Aibinu & Odeyinka, (2006) Residential &offices (Nigeria), Public and Private sectorsExternalTime & cost overrun
18Assaf & Al-Hejji, in (2006)Construction project(Saudi Arabia),Public and Private sectorClientTime overrun
19 Faridi & El-Sayegh, (2006) Construction Project (UAE),Public and Private sectorConsultant, Project manager, Client, ResourcesTime overrun

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