Building Construction Practices in Developing Countries

Building Construction Practices in Developing Countries

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9873-4.ch002
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In this chapter, an overview of construction practices in developing countries will be examined. Although, practices from developing countries will be covered, the focus will be on Cameroon. The chapter commences with an overall background where challenges facing construction practices are discussed. Then an overview of the geography of Cameroon is presented. The two main sectors, the formal and informal where construction flourishes are discussed. The major risk factors and challenges related to materials, man-power and site management are also examined. Towards the end of the chapter the growing recognition of the informal sector is acknowledged as the future trends in most developing countries.
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The construction industry has been identified as one of the sectors key to sustainable development (Melchert, 2007; Passer et al., 2015). In addition to its basic role of providing shelter, the sector contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both developing and developed countries, and plays an equally important role in the creation of employment (Basheka & Tumutegyereize, 2012; Adeyemi et al., 2006; Muya et al., 2006). Its GDP contribution to the Ugandan economy in 2007/2008 stood at 6%, with previous as high as 14.3% (Basheka & Tumutegyereize, 2012). In Nigeria, the industry is responsible for about 70% of the fixed capital formation and contributes 3% GDP (Adeyemi et al., 2006). Lopes (1998) cited in Muya et al. (2006) reported the industry’s contribution to the GDP in Zambia between the period 1980-1992 averaged 4.1%. The recent contribution to the GDP by the construction industry in Zambia stood at 29% in 2013 (African Economic Outlook, 2015).

However, the sector has been noted for its multitude and frequent types of problems especially in developing countries. In fact, poor project management in developing countries has often led to the under-exploitation of the potential of these projects. Many factors have been reported to affect project performance in different developing countries. Some include inaccurate cost estimation techniques, high cost of construction materials, lack of equipment and un-skilled man-power contribute to the inefficient and poor management of building construction projects.

These problems compromise the achievement of specific objectives of the project especially with regards to technical performance, compliance with deadlines and cost optimization. These challenges have often led to quality of construction product falling short of client’s requirements (Oyewobi & Ogunsemi, 2010).

In addition to afore-mentioned factors, other two major problems often encountered in the process of construction in developing countries are discussed in the ensuing paragraph.

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