A comparative study of causes and effects of project delays and disruptions in construction projects in the South African construction industry

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 9
  • SDG 8
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Construction projects have been observed to have problems of project delays and disruptions and the South African construction industry is not an exception. This research identified causes and effects of project delay and disruption through a desktop study. Subsequently, a questionnaire was designed and used to conduct a survey to obtain the views of the three main construction project participants – clients, consultants, and contractors. The questionnaire contains 48 causes and 13 effects of project delay and disruption identified from the desktop study. This research identified sixteen most important causes of project delay and disruption and five most important effects of delay and disruption. Sixteen most important causes were: (1) strikes, (2) rework due to errors during construction, (3) shortage of materials in market, (4) suspension of work by the client, (5) poor communication between the parties, (6) ineffective planning and scheduling of project, (7) delays in issuing working drawings, (8) mistakes and discrepancies in design documents, (9) shortage of labours and equipment, (10) delay in decision making process by the client, (11) unforeseen ground conditions, (12) unclear and inadequate details in drawing, (13) inadequate contractor’s experience, (14) delay in approving changes in the scope of works, (15) delay in material delivery and (16) unacceptable quality of materials. The five major effects include: (1) create stress on contractors, (2) cost overrun, (3) time overrun, (4) poor quality of work due to rush, and (5) disputes. Furthermore, the result of this research was compared with the result of previous studies conducted in other regions of Africa in terms of causes and effects of project delay and disruption. The research concludes that numerous causes and effects of delay and disruption are limited to South African construction projects based on the comparison. The causes limited to South African construction projects include: (1) strikes, (2) suspension of work by the client (3) mistakes and discrepancies in design documents (4) delay in approving changes in the scope of works and (5) unacceptable quality of materials, while the two major effects limited to South African construction projects includes: (1) create stress on contractors and (2) poor quality of work. In conclusion, some recommendations were made in order to minimise the causes of delay and disruption identified.