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Universiti Sains Malaysia Press

:: Forthcoming Issue

Volume 20, No. 1, 2015

Title: Integrated Delivery of Quality, Safety and Environment Through Road Sector Procurement: The case of Public Sector Agencies in Ghana
Author: Abdul-Majeed Mahamadu, Lamine Mahdjoubi, Colin Booth and Peter Fewings
- Abstract  

Poor quality, safety and environmental performance (QSE) within Ghana's road sector have been cited as major challenges in the procurement of infrastructure. This study evaluates the applicability and level of integrated consideration of QSE in the delivery of roads through procurement by public sector agencies in Ghana. Integrated delivery is explored on the basis of theoretical and empirical evidence of existing synergistic relationship between QSE in the management and delivery of projects. A mixed methodological design was adopted to investigate two public road agencies through a questionnaire survey and interviews of technical staff with procurement responsibilities. This was concurrently engaged in soliciting professional perspectives on the subject. Procurement is widely regarded as paramount to the delivery of better QSE in the Ghana road sector. However, the level of synergistic consideration is low and attributable to an over-reliance on traditional procurement arrangements as a result of non-supportive local procurement regulatory frameworks. It is further established that a general lack of know-how and experience in the use of modern and integrated procurement arrangements prevent effective management and realisation of QSE beyond the current focus on time and cost through procurement processes within public road sector agencies.

Keywords: Procurement, Developing Countries, Quality, Safety, Environment

Title: Supply Chain Management in Flyover Projects in India
Author: Sudir Yadhav and Gargi Sojitra Ray
- Abstract  

This paper explores the application of SCM (Supply Chain Management) in Indian construction industry. We have studied the SCM practices followed in flyover projects and compared it with seamless SCM model for construction proposed by Love et al. (2004). The case study approach for the research work is followed. Structured interviews were conducted to understand the SCM practices in flyover projects of India. The model advocates lead role of client, strategic needs analysis and value management study which are missing in the studied projects. All studied projects faced cost and time overruns. The seamless SCM model may further be extended for developing countries by incorporating requirements related to long term relationship between project agents and if possible suggesting clients’ that they should not select agents only with least cost criteria. The extended model may also propose training on SCM to all the project agents before the start of the project. Strategic needs analysis and value management study should be made an integral part of the construction project to improve the project efficiency. Implementation of seamless SCM model calls for early involvement (i.e. at the project design stage) of all project agents’. The project sponsors can apply the findings of this study to manage the time and cost overruns.

Keywords: Supply chain management, Construction project, integration, Seamless project supply chain management model, Barriers for integration

Title: Construction Claim Types and Causes for a Large-Scale Hydropower Project in Bhutan
Author: Hadikusumo B.H.W.
- Abstract  

Hydropower construction projects are complex and uncertain, have long gestational periods and involve several parties. Furthermore, they require the integration of different components (Civil, Mechanical and Electrical) to work together as a single unit. These projects require highly specialised designs, detailed plans and specifications, high-risk constriction methods, effective management, skilful supervision and close coordination. Thus, claims are common in such projects. These claims are undesirable because they require significant time and resources to resolve and cause adversarial relationships among the parties involved. Therefore, it is in the common interest of all involved parties to prevent, minimise, or resolve claims as amicably as possible. Identifying common claim types and their causes is essential in devising techniques to minimise and avoid them in future projects. This report details a case study performed on a large-scale hydropower project in Bhutan. The findings of this case study indicate that differing site conditions are the major contributor of impact and change claims and 95% of total claims can be settled by negotiation, whereas 5% of claims can be settled by arbitration.

Keywords: Hydropower projects, Construction claims, Claim types, Claim causes, Claim frequency, Claim severity

Title: Delay Mitigation in Malaysian Housing Industry: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach
Author: Chai Chang Saar, Aminah Md Yusof and Hadina Habil
- Abstract  

Housing industry is one of the major contributors to the economy in Malaysia due to constantly high housing demand. Housing demands have increased due to the rapid growth in population and urbanization in the country. One of the major challenges in housing industry is the late delivery of housing supply which in some instance leading to sick and abandoned housing projects. Despite being extensively investigated, delay is still a common phenomenon of the housing industry in Malaysia. As delay in delivery could result in negative impact, there is a strong need to review the housing delay mitigation measures practice in Malaysia. This paper aims at evaluating the current delay mitigation measures. The main objective of this paper is to explore the relationship between the mitigation measures and delay in housing via Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) approach. Questionnaire survey through online survey tool was conducted over 13 states and 3 Federal Territories in Malaysia. The target respondents are the local authorities, developers, consultants (principal submitting person) and contractors. The finding shows that 17 mitigation criteria have been extracted using the Principal Component Analysis. These measures were categorized into predictive, preventive, organizational and corrective. This paper highlighted that preventive measure is the most influencing mitigation measure to the housing delivery delay.

Keywords: Structural Equation Modeling, Delay mitigation, Housing delivery, Malaysia

Title: Predicting Significant Characteristics of Concrete Containing Palm Oil Fuel Ash
Author: Hamed Golizadeh and Saeed Banihashemi Namini
- Abstract  

Palm Oil Fuel Ash (POFA) is used as a supplementary cementitious material in concrete. Utilization of different percentages of POFA leads to a non-linear variation among the characteristics of concrete. This research aims at developing an empirical model for predicting the compressive strength of concrete utilizing POFA as a cement replacement material as well as other properties of the concrete like slump and modulus of elasticity by virtue of artificial neural network. Mixtures of concrete were chosen with water-to-binder ratios of 0.50, 0.55 and 0.60 with POFA as a percentage of cement content with 10, 20, 30 and 40 percent. 28-day compressive strength was tested and results of experiments revealed that 0-20% of POFA inclusion in the concrete mixtures has the most positive effects on the compressive strength of it. Then, a three-layer feed forward-back propagation ANN model with three inputs and three output was developed. Finally, the best architecture for the model was trained, tested and validated.

Keywords: Mixture proportioning, Blended cement, Compressive strength, ANN

Title: Development of a Framework for Attracting and Retaining Women in Construction Practice
Author: Kulomri Adogbo, Ahmed Ibrahim and Yahya Ibrahim
- Abstract  

Previous research indicates that women are significantly under-represented in the Nigerian construction industry and that female undergraduates face barriers which deter them from engaging in construction practice. This research examined the barriers faced by female undergraduates in construction disciplines in Nigerian Universities. The research adopted the use of questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews. 360 questionnaires were distributed and 259 (71.94%) were returned and used in the analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 female students and 16 women across the professions of Architecture, Building, Civil Engineering and Quantity Surveying. The results revealed that the undergraduates perceived construction practice to be synonymous with site activities and family responsibility posed the greatest barrier to their participation. The strategies identified by the women in practice include active participation in professional bodies’ activities and seeking for a mentor in practice. It was concluded that female graduates can be attracted to the industry but efforts need to be put in place to have a successful implementation of the strategies identified by the professional women. A framework that addresses gender issues in attracting and retaining graduates in construction practice was developed to help women to plan their career in the industry.

Keywords: Construction undergraduates, Gender, Barriers, Women

Title: Building a Model of Housing Quality Determinants for Affordable Housing (HQD)
Author: Afaq Chohan, Adi Che Ani, Bhai Sher, Jihad Awad, Arif Jawaid and Norngainy Mohd Tawil
- Abstract  

This research aims to identify the design quality determinants and parameters for affordable housing in a developing metropolis, that is, Karachi, Pakistan. The absence of quality in Karachi housing has resulted from various factors, ranging from policy failure, violation of bylaws, population, housing scarcity, and non-availability of quality parameters. The amalgamation of these factors has lowered the quality of housing, ultimately resulting in deficient housing design and construction. This trend has caused end-users to experience the nuisance of unplanned maintenance and to bear the burden of heavy repair and rework. The significance of this study is that it provides a design quality model for use as a survey tool among professionals and end-users. The end result of this study is a table listing twenty-four (24) quality determinants marked as Housing Quality Determinants (HQD) grouped in eight (08) sections. This research concludes that the existing design quality of affordable housing in Karachi could be enhanced by resolving issues related to design, construction, services, site development, and neighborhood and sustainability. The HQD model provides a platform for developing a Quality Indicators of Housing Design and an opportunity for local and international design and construction professionals to rethink their design ideas in the context of housing quality. However, this article this article is limited only to the development of an HQD framework (model).

Keywords: Affordable housing, Housing design quality, Quality indicators, Quality standards in housing

Volume 20, No. 2, 2015

Title: Determining Significant Factors Influencing Malaysian Construction Business’ Performance in International Markets
Author: Che Maznah Mat Isa, Hamidah Mohd Saman and Christopher Preece
- Abstract  

Market expansion into foreign markets has become increasingly important for construction businesses including Malaysian contractors. Hence, it is imperative that these firms are able to sustain performance in international markets. This paper aims to determine the significant factors influencing the Malaysian contractors’ performance in international markets. This research adopts a mixed method adopting questionnaire surveys that were sent to 115 construction firms as a sampling frame. The quantitative findings were further validated through in-depth interviews with five firms currently operating at international level. It was found that the firms’ profit targets based on return on investment and revenues supported by the firms’ competitive advantages due to employees’ capabilities and competencies have significantly influenced the firms’ performance. However, further insights disclosed that having strong and stable human relationships were very important to enhance the firms’ performance in international markets. The findings build further understanding of international strategies for construction in developing countries. Finally, the study identifies the need for developing a suitable tool to measure firms’ performance by taking into consideration the complex elements within the identified significant influencing factors.

Keywords: Construction firms, Factors, International market, Performance, Quantitative, Qualitative

Title: Contractor Capacity and Waste Generation: An Empirical Investigation
Author: Krisanthi Seneviratne, Rameez Rameezdeen and Dilanthi Amaratunga
- Abstract  

This paper aims to test the hypothesis that an inverse relationship exists between the capacity of a contractor and the amount of waste generated in a construction site. In Sri Lanka, contractors are graded by an independent government agency, and this study uses fifteen projects undertaken by grade M1 to M5 contractors. M1 contractors constitute the highest grade and they have higher technical, financial, and managerial capabilities. These projects are examined to obtain cement wastages and link them to these respective grades in order to establish how their relationships work. The major finding is that upper grade contractors, who are more capable, generate less waste compared to their lower grade counterparts. It suggests that contractors’ capacity not only has desirable outcomes for better time, cost and quality objectives, but also benefits a client’s environmental objectives. While the present grading system in Sri Lanka does not take waste management into consideration, it is suggested that contractors’ waste management practices could vary immensely from M1 to the lower grades. Consequently, future revisions in the grading system should seriously consider incorporating waste management practices in order to provide an incentive to contractors who manage their waste appropriately. This will encourage more efficient waste reduction in construction sites.

Keywords: Construction waste, Contractor capacity, Waste reduction, Sri Lanka

Title: Unveiling the Challenges Faced by Malaysian Housing Developers Through Government Policy Changes
Author: Azlan Raofuddin Nuruddin, Syed Putra Syed Abu Bakar and Mastura Jaafar
- Abstract  

Despite being receptive to new ideas, Malaysian housing developers need to be responsive to the demands imposed upon the industry. One of the external factors that influence the growth of housing development firms is the intervention of government. The role of government in shaping the housing industry is especially pertinent since most land matters deal directly with local and state authorities. The regulations imposed by the government are perceived as imbalanced and serve only to increase the challenges confronted by housing developers to maintain their survivability. This paper is therefore aimed at disclosing the related challenges faced by housing developers with respect to current government issues. Appropriately, ten Malaysian housing developers were interviewed to unravel the reasons of their success in achieving business sustainability, including eliciting responses for the myriad of challenges faced. In order to analyse the findings, the qualitative approach was adopted through the content analysis method. All the interviewees highlighted several challenges that have impeded their progress in the management of the housing development business. Interestingly, the most notable challenge revealed by the respondents related to the vagaries of government rules and processes. Among the grievances mentioned by the participants were late approvals, sudden change of rules, non-uniform compliances and others of the ilk. Hence, there is a serious need for housing developers and the government to work in tandem, not only to minimise complaints directed towards the government, but to concertedly embrace changes in terms of policies and laws. A mutually beneficial wave of innovation is thus advocated, where the vested interests of both housing developers and house buyers will be protected accordingly. Also, with good comprehension of government procedures, the creation of economic empowerment and development will be easily realised.

Keywords: Challenges, Housing developers, Government regulations, Late approval, Qualitative approach

Title: Nature of Construction Industry, Its Needs and its Development: A Review of Four Decades of Research
Author: George Ofori
- Abstract  

The construction industry is not well understood. There is no common definition, and there are even arguments on whether it is an industry or a sector (comprising many industries). The contribution of the industry to economic growth and long-term national development is widely acknowledged. This highlights its importance, particularly to the developing countries. For the benefit of these countries, it is important to investigate the nature, essential characteristics and particular requirements of the construction industry, and use them to develop programmes for its improvement. A research programme which started in 1974 and is still continuing is discussed. The subjects studied in the research programme have included the nature of the construction industry, its importance in development, its needs and its development. Elements of the process of construction industry development which have been studied include ways and means of improving the performance of construction firms, focusing on contractors, and technology development. The findings from these early studies influenced the formulation of policies and legislation for establishing construction industry development agencies in a number of countries. Other aspects of the construction industry which are studied in the research programme include the parameters of performance in the industry, such as productivity and environmental performance. An information technology framework for construction was also developed. As the world was entering the information age, the implications for the industry were also studied. Finally, the concepts of leadership, ethics and transparency, and their importance on construction projects and in the construction industry have also been studied. The focus here is on industry development and its application to the delivery of housing. It is suggested that effective ways should be found to reduce the tendency to duplicate studies on the subjects, and to effectively build on relevant findings over time. A research agenda is proposed.

Keywords: Industry development, Technology development, Environmental performance, Leadership