CHAPTER ONE 1.

0
1.1

INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Construction Industry is one of the most booming industries in the

whole world. It is mainly an urban based one which is concerned with preparation as well as construction of real estate properties. The repairing of any existing building or the making of certain alterations in the same building also comes under the Construction Industry (http://www.economywatch.com/world-industries/construction). The construction industry accounts for around one-tenth of the world’s gross domestic product, seven percent of employment, half of all resource usage and up to forty percent of energy consumption. The construction industry is also a key indicator and driver of economic activity and wealth creation (http://www.economywatch.com/worldindustries/construction/world.html) Construction activity is an important contributor to GDP in most industrialized countries and contributes significantly to global economic growth (Walsh and Sawhney, 2002). Its contribution to GDP in the U.S in 1996 was around 10.7%, while in Australia, it is in the region of 6.3% (Crose et al. 1991).

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Over the last decade, several changes have occurred in Nigeria, which have helped all sectors of the economy, especially the construction sector. The construction industry has outgrown all other sectors of the Nigerian economy with double digit growth rates in the last three years (2005 – 2008). Also, there are several opportunities in the industry especially in the ICT, education, and sub-contracting sectors (Dantata, 2008). The Nigerian construction industry continues to occupy an important position in the nation’s economy even though it contributes less than the manufacturing or other service industries, (Aibinu and Jagboro, 2002). The contribution of the construction industry to national economic growth necessitates improved efficiency in the industry by means of cost effectiveness and timeliness, and would certainly contribute to cost savings for the country as a whole. It is also common knowledge that the implementation of the construction project in the industry is usually accompanied with time delay and cost increase as well as owner dissatisfaction (Hafez, 2001). In Nigeria, the industry contributes an average of 5% to the annual gross domestic product and average of about one-third of the total fixed capital investment (Omole, 2000). Aibinu and Jagboro (2002) explain that though the construction industry contributes less than manufacturing or other sectors of the economy, the construction sector continues to occupy an important position in the Nigerian economy. The fiscal projections for 2001 for instance show that out of the N892 billion expenditure proposed, N480 billion representing about 54% was earmarked for capital construction projects.
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The construction industry is one of the most information dependent industries (Tam, 1999) and heavily based upon traditional means of communication such as face to face meetings, phone calls and the exchange of drawings and associated paperwork or documents (Mohamed and Stewart, 2003). Communication can therefore be seen as the key factor in the overall success of any construction project. Crucial to the running of any construction project is the movement and transfer of project information amongst the distinct professions all of whom have conflicting priorities and differing objectives (Faniran et al, 2001). Construction projects are assembled by gathering different professions and areas of expertise under one “flag” (Wikforss, 2006). Typical of such assemblies is that each professional group also bears with it a set of principles, rules, knowledge domains and professional skills formulated in a certain manner. At the same time as this helps make the profession strong and successful, it also explains why they cannot cooperate with other professions particularly well. Some of the fundamental components contributing to the construction industry’s poor performance are its ineffective communication practices, its organizational fragmentation and lack of integration between design and production processes (Dainty et al, 2006). Successful communication between stakeholders in the industry can be seen to be a major contributory factor to project delivery as poor communication may lead to a delay in the
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decision making process that may in no small way affect the successful completion of such projects.

1.2

NEED FOR THE STUDY In enhancing project delivery, the construction industry has over the

years evolved from the traditional design/build and the design/bid/build delivery systems to an Integrated Project Delivery System that requires architects, contractors, clients and all stakeholders in the industry to take on new roles and competencies. This made a change in culture necessary for the professionals involved in the conception till project delivery. The efficiency and effectiveness of the construction process strongly depends on the quality of communication. Hoezen (2006) gave four reasons why improvements in communication were needed.

Improvement in the communication within the building team, project teams and between project manager and contractors could reduce failure.

 More open communication at all levels could lead to innovations and better technical solutions.

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 Communication improvements in early phases of projects would positively influence the quality as perceived by all stakeholders involved.  Improved communication during the briefing might lead to better decision making, for example less haste in moving to solutions and better ways of looking at the requirements first. Unlike other types of industries where the development and manufacture of products can be standardized and tested before being purchased, the nature of projects in the construction industry is extremely diverse and every project is unique. Even where identical buildings are under construction, site conditions in each will differ and introduce new challenges while the long periods between the decision to invest and the completion of works during construction projects lead to instability of supply and demand and high sensitivity to economic fluctuations. Moreover, it is a multi-party process where numerous specialist parties are involved due to the diversity of skills required and thus maintaining teamwork atmosphere and controlling potential conflicts is important (Wood, 2001). In the course of this study some questions to be answered include; a) Can lack of experience about construction work hinder communication on site? b) Can poor leadership cause poor communication?
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c) How has poor communication practices affected project delivery? d) What does research data tell us about the causes and consequences of poor communication? e) Will the introduction of seminars, workshop, posters and handbills improve communication on site?

1.3

AIM AND OBJECTIVES 1.3.1 Aim It is aimed at studying the effects of communication on project

delivery with a view to enhancing better communication for timely completion of construction projects

1.2.1 Objectives The aim is to be achieved through the following objectives; i. Examination of communication systems in use in the selected construction companies

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ii.

Determination of the contribution or influence of the communication systems in use to project delivery in the selected construction companies

iii.

Based on (i)-(iii) above, recommendations will be made that will enhance communication for effective project delivery in the Nigerian construction industry.

1.3

METHODOLOGY Methodology defines the entire method adopted in this project work

as well as the procedure followed in realizing the objectives. It involves the adequate description of the project and stressing on the inclusiveness of the chosen area of study, the research tools and sampling techniques necessitating the administration of questionnaire. The sample population is twenty-eight construction companies out of which the sample size for the study is twenty construction firms. The method to be adopted in this study is the use of questionnaires which are to be distributed randomly to the twenty construction firms. The types of data to be collected are questions that are related to communication at different levels and stages of a project cycle.

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The questionnaires are to be distributed through direct contact and to be collected on an individual basis. The questionnaire will be prepared in such a way that the options of the respondents will be required on the subject of the dissertation and split into five sections. Section A will consist of fixed response questions that will give information about the respondent and the organization he belongs to. Sections B to E will have both fixed response and open end questions based on the objectives of the study as well as proffered solutions to aid in achieving the aim of the study. The respondents are to tick any of the options which portrayed their own opinions. The open end aspects of the questionnaire will give an insight into personal views of the respondents based on their wealth of experience. The analytical tools to be used are the descriptive statistical tools like percentage, tables, pie charts and Relative Importance Index. Conclusions shall be made from the analysis and recommendations on how to improve communication. The Relative Importance Index (R.I.I.) is a statistical tool used to determine the frequency of occurrence in data analysis of questionnaires. The formula used is; Relative Importance Index = af/AF where a = value assigned variable i.e. 1 – 5 A = highest value assigned to variable F = f = the frequency of occurrence.
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Each section of the questionnaire will be analyzed using the Relative Importance Index and the results of the analysis will be discussed afterwards. Each scale will represent the following ratings: 5 = very high 4 = high 3 = medium 2 = low 1 = very low

1.4

SCOPE The study is intended to examine the effects of poor communication

on project delivery (from inception/design stage to completion) in the construction industry in Ilorin, Kwara State. The study is carried out at the operational level (skilled and unskilled craftsmen, artisans, and operators) of medium sized construction companies within the Ilorin Township.

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CHAPTER TWO 2.0 2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW THE NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

2.1.1 Overview of the Nigerian Construction Industry

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In spite of the huge capital outlay, public utilities are unable to cope with the demand of the increasing population of the country. Government’s budgetary allocation no longer meet demands hence the involvement of the private sector for the financing, development and operation of infrastructure projects. This is becoming common practice globally to allow for dwindling fiscal resources to be committed to other national development projects. Capital outlays on infrastructure in the form of housing provisions and other infrastructure facilities are central to growth and development. More so in developing countries, such expenditures are necessary to create advancement in the technology and by extension industrialization obtainable in developed societies. Infrastructure play critical but not independent role in stimulating and sustaining economic growth. Kesside (1993)’s research on developed countries support the fact that infrastructure capital has a significant and positive effect on economic output. Further, she notes that developing countries need infrastructure, and more importantly the services that stem from their provision, so that they can achieve economic growth. Unfortunately, developing countries have become associated with the stigma of poorly managed infrastructure with resultant cost implications. First are higher maintenance costs from many years of neglect; and then costs associated with the provision of alternative (temporal) infrastructure

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where there is complete inoperation of the facilities. Facility failures have far reaching implications beyond this. For example the idle time of labour, yet they still have to be remunerated; there is also the cost of lost production, the associated goodwill and the revenue forfeited. Study of sixty developing countries by Bazin (1996), found that half the utilities in operation had very low rates of return and that several incurred losses. In Nigeria, performance during the construction phase fall short of expectations too. A critical appraisal of the performance of the construction sector brings to question its ability to support infrastructure development needs. Between 1996 and 2000, the building and the construction sector of the economy contributed only 0.85% to the nation's GDP at current basic prices; while between 2000 and 2004 the value fell to 0.78% (CBN Annual Reports 2006) whereas the relative contribution of the finance and insurance sector was 1.23% and 1.17% during these periods respectively. The wide margin between the expected contribution of the construction industry and the actual contributions; are an indication that something must be wrong somewhere even with our development efforts.

2.1.2 Reasons for Marginal Contribution of the Construction Industry to Nigeria’s Economy

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Two reasons can be given for the net marginal contribution of the construction sector in Nigeria as earlier stated, to economic growth in the last ten years. These are:

The lack of initiatives by the captains of the construction industry to seize the opportunities offered by the sector to become more innovative and improve their capacity to deliver. This will in turn contribute to overall economic growth.

 Poor financial base coupled with a poor technical capacity. Accessibility to funds would be a good catalyst for the development of the construction industry. As indicated above, the diminished contribution of these sectors has a knock-on effect on other sectors of the economy. Remedying the situation would require reforms that cut across all the sectors. The current quest for advancement in the energy and telecommunication sector backed by private sector investment may be the break the construction industry needs to make wide sweeping changes.

2.2

CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION Communicating frequently is necessary throughout the life of any

project because all projects are executed by humans and they interact by way of teams (Mehra, 2009). The best way to communicate in the teams is to
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involve team members in all activities because Project manager along with team members are responsible for managing communication on projects. Communication may be carried out using symbols, signs, behaviour, speech, writing or signals, as well as through project plans, project scope statement and status reports. Mehra (2009) also noted that projects fail when expectations are not aligned with results. Timely and effective communication can bridge this gap to avoid surprises at the end. Expectations, goals, and priorities of the project stakeholders should be well documented and communicated to the stakeholders. Communication consists of transmitting information from one person to another. In fact, some scholars of communication take this as working definition, and also as a means circumscribing the field of communication theory. Their definitions are outlined below; • Communication is a term used to refer to any dynamic, informationsharing process. (Clevenger, 1959)

Communication is the exchange of information, usually via a common system of symbols (Dance F., 1970)

Communication is the process of conveying information from a sender to a receiver with the use of a medium in which the communicated information is understood the same way by both sender and receiver (Mehra, 2009).
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With inference from the above definitions, communication can defined as “the process of exchanging information related to the progress and successful completion of a project through the sharing of knowledge and experiences for the mutual benefit of the parties involved in ensuring timely project delivery”.

2.2.1 Characteristics of Communication Some of the characteristics of communication according to Mehra (2009) are as follows; i. ii. iii. iv. Communication is a process – it is continuous, ongoing, and dynamic Communication requires a sender and a receiver Communication has information (message/content) Communication requires a medium (symbols, signs, behaviour, speech, writing, or signals)
v.

Communication requires shared understanding – all parties understanding the same thing the same way

vi.

Communication is transactional and irreversible

2.2.2

Methods of Communication
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There are various ways and methods of communicating information in the construction industry. Although a vast majority of information is exchanged verbally and delegated, most data is exchanged in written format either as hard copy or electronically. Even if information is exchanged verbally such as through project meetings and instructions, this information is well documented and stored for future reference. Scope of work and details of construction are communicated by means of drawings, contract documents, addenda and specifications (Maslej, 2006). Contracts are commonly issued when one entity passes down work to another: for example, when an owner hires a consultant or designer they form a contractual relationship by means of signed contract. Same is true when a consultant, on behalf of the owner, hires a general contractor to execute the work designed by the consultant. The contractor may wish to sub-contract some of his work to subcontractors in which case, again a contractual relationship is formed. Unfortunately, miscommunication is a common occurrence in construction when work is passed down from one entity to another (Maslej, 2006). For ease of classification, the forms and methods of communication in the construction industry are outlined below (Mehra, 2009);
1)

Formal Written – This takes the form of Project Plan, Project charter, Specifications, Reports, Metrics

2) Formal Verbal – Presentation and speeches fall under this category
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3)

Informal Written – Examples of informal written methods of communication include memos, e-mail, notes, etc.

4) Informal verbal - Meetings, stakeholders and conversations are categorized under informal verbal method. 5) Nonverbal Messages – These are conveyed through our facial expressions as well as our postures and gestures and account for about 55% of what is perceived and understood by others. 6) Para-verbal Messages – These include the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voice and account for about 38% of what is perceived and understood by others. Effective communication is a two-way process which involves active listening and reflects the accountability of speaker and listener. It also utilizes feedback to confirm understanding which makes it free of stress. 2.2.3 Communication Model

In communication, there is always a sender and a receiver (maybe more than one in some cases). Both parties have their own experiences, their perceptions, their ideas, etc; hence they may experience, perceive, and interpret things differently. The same event will always be perceived a little differently by each party. Mehra (2009) gave a simple communication model as Figure 1 shows how the information travels from sender to receiver.
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Medium of Transmission

Feedback through appropriate medium

Figure 2.1: A Simple Communication Model (Mehra, 2009)

1.

Sender – Is an information source, who initiates communication. Encode – Information is encoded into a message. Sender should make sure that he truly provides understandable information to another project team member. This means that sender must attempt to take the perspective and knowledge of the receiver into consideration and create and present a message that he or she is likely to interprete in the way intended.

2.

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3.

Medium – Messages may be sent using traditional mail, email, phone call, face-to-face or using gestures alone. Medium is the communication method used to transmit the message.

4.

Decode – Message is decoded to understand the information sent by sender. Sender uses his knowledge and understanding of the subject matter to decode this message, hence extra caution is required to interpret the message in right context (sender’s context).

5.

Receiver – The person to who the information is sent. Feedback – Receiver sends a feedback to sender to acknowledge that the information is received and understood. Sender may have to act further to ensure that the receiver understood the message by eliciting feedback that helps sender to assess whether receiver interpreted the message as intended.

6.

Sender may use symbols, signs, behaviour, speech, writing, or signals to transfer the information in the message. The purpose is to ensure that both parties understand the perspective (Mehra, 2009). 2.2.4 Communication Channels

Machinery needs to be put in place for further communication to take place, either downward communication (from superior to sub-ordinate), horizontal communication (between colleagues) or upward communication (from sub-ordinates to superior).
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Mehra (2009) stated that communication will always involve more than one person. In the figure below, the number of communication channels required to communicate with five other team members in a team of six is seen.

Figure 2.2: Communication Channels (Mehra, 2009)

The formula to calculate the total number of communication channels is: (n2- n)/2 or n (n-1)/2 where n = total number of team members.
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2.2.5

Barriers to Communication

Mehra (2009) gave some examples of barriers to communication in the construction industry as:
1.

Physical – noise, distance, time, environment, physical medium Cultural - ethnic, religious, and social differences Perception - viewing what is said from your own mindset Words - we assign a meaning to a word often because of culture, experience, etc reasons which results in improper encoding of message

2.

3.

4.

5.

Experience - lack of similar experience Emotion - personal feelings at the moment or doing other things besides listening

6.

7.

Linguistic - different languages or vocabulary Non-verbal - non-word messages Gestures - misunderstood gestures are a major barrier in language - accent, dialect

8.

9.

10. Variations

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Any of the above barriers to communications can create interferences or disturbances and impact the effectiveness of the communication negatively. 2.3 PATTERNS OF COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. Good communications is one of the main prerequisites for the smooth and profitable running of any organisation. This is particularly so in the construction industry, as communication in the industry according to Shutt (1992) is often hampered for the following reasons:
a)

Lack of co-operation and early consultation between the various stages of construction. i.e client’s conception stages, design stages, planning and other legislative approvals, erection stage.

b)

The increasing proportion of subcontract labour (if nominated) over which the main contractor has no direct control.

c)

The problem of the erection site being far from the specialist head office functions often leads to instructions being issued by phone, rather than more concise written instructions being given. In the following pages, the areas of communication problems will be

considered under the following headings (Shutt, 1992); 1. Conception/Design stage
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2. Approval by the planning authority 3. Design Team and the Building Team 4. Contractor’s Organisation 5. Between parties on site 2.3.1 Communication at Conception/Design Stage At this stage, communication is between the client (owner) and the consultants, and is a continuous process from inception to completion of the project. The client’s statement of requirements which include information such as the size of the building, nature of the building, funds available, building function and time limitation of the project will be made available to the consultants. As stated earlier by Shutt (1992), it is the lack of early consultation and co-operation that has hampered communication and subsequently timely project delivery. The architect prepares a general outline of client requirements after carrying out feasibility studies with the other consultants and communicates it to the rest of the members of the design team for collective action. As soon as the client approval is obtained, the architect and engineer start preparing the working drawings, schedule and specification and at the same time seeking the opinion of the quantity surveyor who sees to the cost
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implication of the project to see if the project design is still within the approved budget.

2.3.2 Communication during Approval by the Planning Authority The role of the construction industry in the society is to satisfy the wants of the consumers in terms of construction projects, whether they are houses, places of work, entertainment, or transportation routes (Shutt, 1992). To this end, approval from the planning Authorities can be considered at two levels. 1. Structure Plans These look at the overall area in relation to its surroundings and lay down policies within the areas of employment, transport, recreation, housing, industry, population and education. These plans are not detailed, but tend to be proposed statements of policy for the area with regard to the various considerations (Shutt, 1992). 2. Local Plans These are prepared to examine in detail the local area under construction, and to prevent problems that might arise from complications due to conflicts on planning applications. It would be foolish, for example, to proceed with a planning application for a roadside extension to a client’s factory, if there is
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a local plan proposing a road widening scheme in the future, which will affect the factory. All development plans are available for inspection at Local Authority Planning offices to forestall problems with certain clauses in the Building Regulations (Shutt, 1992).
2.3.3

Communication between Design Team and Building Team On nearly every job, certain difficulties arise, usually practical

difficulties in construction to certain detailed drawing. These problems in many cases could have been overcome, had there been consultation between the architect and builder at an earlier stage. Shutt (1992) stated that builders are seldom aware of many such problems until the job has progressed considerably, because of the usual procedure of issuing detailed drawings long after the project has started. This point alone raises communication problems, in that the builder may have to order purpose-made components, and the project could be delayed during their manufacture. On the other hand, many builders cause a lot of delays. There are many situations where it is obvious to the builder/site agent that he is going to have to seek the architect’s advice, or ask for details about certain points, but it is not mentioned until such a late stage that delay occurs.
2.3.4

Communication within Contractor’s Organisation

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Within a building company, the type of communication system and the speed with which it works are to a large extent a function of the size of the organisation (Shutt, 1992). The smaller the company, the faster information will be disseminated. With large companies, a communication network has to be developed that ensure that the information necessary for decision-making gets to where it may be wanted. This can sometimes lead to overload “in” trays with the majority of the information being irrelevant to the particular department.
2.3.5

Communication between Parties on Site The construction site is the place where the efforts made by the

design team in visualizing the client’s requirements will be put into practice and the client’s dream made a reality. Generally, site meetings are the regular meetings held on site to discuss the progress of the project to date, the difficulties and delays arising from the project at hand. According to Shutt (1992), communication on site between the parties can be greatly improved with the aid of site meetings which could hold weekly. All the relevant parties like the architect, contract manager, general foreman, clerk of works, main subcontractors, etc could be in attendance. Other methods of communication on site include weekly reports, which are a complete record summarizing daily happenings on site for the week and recorded by the clerk of works.

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2.4

STAKEHOLDERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Communication according to Maslej (2006) is said to be effective

within the working group in the construction industry only when the transmitted ideas achieve their desired action or reaction, as the operations involve the team effort of the client, quantity surveyor, architect, consulting engineer, specialists and the contractor’s organization with the main objective of getting things done through human beings. Maslej (2006) noted that to better understand the concept of communication in the construction industry, it is important to acknowledge the roles, responsibilities and the authority of various participants on a typical construction project and how information gets exchanged. 2.4.1 Roles of Participants in Construction Projects The roles of participants in construction projects as stated by Sompura and Viramgami (2005) are outlined below:

2.4.1.1

Project Manager  Conceptual Planning of the Project  Overall administration of the Project.

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 Bills and reconciliation of material.  Minimize wastage of Construction Material.

Liaison with Client / Consultants

 Coordination with architects and consultants.  Motivating and managing site personnel as team leader.  Planning day to day activities of Project.

Timely completion of project within the given time frame and maintaining quality

Attending major site coordination meetings with client for reviewing site progress and resolving pending problems for various projects under execution

 Leadership, delegation, communication, interfacing and presentation skills. Experience in handling multi-functional management role is mandatory 2.4.1.2 Structural Engineer  Serve as the Senior Site Representative for all matters related to construction quality assurance of structural works.

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Monitor the structural works for conformance with the provisions of the contract documents and the procedures manual.

 Liaise with local authorities and ministerial agencies having jurisdiction over the project.  Review contractor's structural change order proposals.  Review contractors' claims related to structural works and prepare recommendations for claims approval or rejection.  Assist in negotiations with contractors regarding the value of claims or changes in schedules.  Review of structural drawings for projects designed by others  Perform all other duties that may be requested by the Resident Engineer 2.4.1.3

Architect Furnishing the contractor with drawings and information and certifying them for code compliance and safety.  Nomination of sub-contractors and suppliers  Suspension of the works

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 Issue of variation orders altering extent, nature or quantity of the works  Carrying out feasibility studies together with other consultants

2.4.1.4

Quantity Surveyor  Sees to the cost implication of the project and ensures that the project is still within the approved budget  Prepares the Bill of Quantity for the project  Recommends action to the client through a tender report for the purpose of selecting the most suitable contractor  Examines the Bill of Quantity and helps in deciding the best for the purpose of the project  Managing the tendering process  Assessing capital and revenue expenditure over the whole life of a facility  Managing and analysing risk  Giving advice on the avoidance and settlement of disputes.

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 Valuing construction work for interim payments, valuing change, assessing or compiling claims for loss and expense and agreeing final accounts  Negotiating with interested parties  Control construction costs by accurate measurement of the work required, the application of expert knowledge of costs and prices of work, labour, materials and plant required, an understanding of the implications of design decisions at an early stage to ensure that good value is obtained for the money to be expended.  Advising clients on ways of procuring the project.

2.4.1.5

Construction (Resident) Engineer  Directs the affairs of a construction project  Provides technical advice to all parties involved with the project  Inspecting the site to ensure that the building which will be erected can be accommodated by that area.

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 Provides information to the pertinent parties and general public to keep them informed and in the case that any issues arise before, during and after the construction

2.4.2 Communication Structure in the Construction Industry Although not all participants have a contractual relationship with each other, they all must communicate effectively to make the project work. Maslej (2006) noted that larger and more complex projects will often require the involvement of additional parties such as structural engineers, environmental officials and other consultants working for the owner. An example of the communication structure of a residential project is given in Fig 2.3 below;

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OWNER Prime Consultant

Builder

Civil Engineer (Consultant)

Architect (Consultan t)

Quantity Surveyor

Utility Consulta nt

Authoriti es

Prime Contract or

Municipal Services Contracto r

Soils Consulta nt

Utility Contracto r

Sub Contractors

Surveyo rs

Sub Contractors

Supplie rs

Sub Contractors

Supplie rs

Supplie rs

Figure 2.3: Parties involved in a Residential Construction Project. Source: Maslej (2006); p5 Aside from the communication that takes place between businesses, each entity will have to communicate a significant amount of information

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internally, that is, within the company (Maslej, 2006). Figure 2.4 below displays the communication that occurs within a construction firm.

Officer in Charge

Estimati ng

Schedulin g

Project Manager

Project Engineer

Superintende nt

Foreme n
Craftspeopl e

Subcontractor s
Second – tier Sub contractors

Foreme n

Craftspeopl e

Figure 2.4: Contracting Firm’s Internal Communication Structure Source: Maslej (2006); p6 It is reasonable to assume that each individual entity presented in Figure 3 will have a similar internal communication breakdown structure as
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presented above in Figure 4. It becomes clearly evident that the communication process is complex in the construction industry considering the large number of people and entities involved. 2.4.3 Causes of Poor Communication Quite often, it has been stated that the major problem facing the construction industry is that of ineffective communication (Latham, 1994; DETR, 1998). Many atimes, poor communication has caused delays in the delivery of projects. Extension of time will be necessary and the contractor equally charges for the extended time provided the delay was not his fault. Some of the causes of poor communication are listed below: 1. Lack of standardized Communication Methods A significant portion of communication problems in the construction industry is closely linked to lack of standardized communication methods. Poor communication between companies is the root cause of risk in the design and construction process. This often results in cost, schedule and quality problems. The construction firms have strongly focused on optimizing their own internal communication processes and controls while the hand off of information between companies remains largely unstructured. The lack of common vocabulary largely contributes to real construction industry-wide process advancements from taking place. (Kenig,

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2005, p.67) The construction industry requires standards if it hopes to improve its major processes, particularly project delivery processes 2. Severity of the Problem and Brief History The construction industry has been suffering from communication difficulties for many years. Findings of a 1995 construction industry training survey strongly indicate that new tools for communication are desperately needed in the business and that poor communication has a strong detrimental effect on productivity (Finding, 1998, p. 1110) Individuals surveyed for this thesis similarly agree they witness problems in their line of work as a direct result of poor communication practices. This concludes that exactly half of those surveyed for this study recognize the communication problem in the construction industry as being severe. 3. Construction work demand Construction work demand has been on a constant rise for the past decade as a direct result of the growing and changing economy. Increased construction activity has formed a growing reliance on immigration to fill the many labour shortages within the construction industry that begin to exist (Finding, 1998, p. 1111). 4. Language Barrier Language barriers, lack of proper training or no training at all contribute to extreme conditions on the jobsite (Flory, 2001, pp. 37-38). Secondary
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research strongly indicates that language barrier largely contributes to poor communication in the construction industry and has a tremendous effect on worker safety on the jobsite.

2.4.4

Effects of Poor Communication on Projects

Poor communication in the construction industry has a significant detrimental effect on project quality, cost, schedule, and worker safety (Maslej, 2006) 2.4.4.1 Effect on Schedule

Construction schedules can be significantly delayed as a direct result of poor communication. Miscommunicated information leads to work being redone or corrected. In construction, work is organized so that minimal or no time is wasted in the assembly process. To achieve this trades are scheduled to work consecutively as a team. For example, in a housing project, a high labour turnover is employed. The framing crew could be scheduled to start work immediately after the foundations are completed by the concrete crew. If the concrete crew has to correct their work due to miscommunication this in turn will delay the framing crew who will then delay all the consecutive
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crews. Conclusively, it only takes a small misunderstanding to lead to significant project delays. According to Jergeas (2005), many project delays, particularly on larger scale developments occur due to unrealistic schedules. Project changes typically mean additional work. They must be communicated to the execution team early on if schedule deadlines are to be met.

2.4.4.2

Effect on Cost

The cost on any given construction project can grow significantly as a direct result of poor communication. According to Maslej (2006), project cost can increase due to three main reasons;  Incomplete or faulty contract documents  Misinterpretation of contract documents  Lack of proper project supervision. Lack of proper project supervision can lead to schedule delays and can significantly increase the cost of any given project. Poor communication and inefficiencies between companies is responsible for 30% of design and construction costs, excluding material costs such as concrete, brick and mortar. (Constructware, n.d., 2009)
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2.4.4.3

Effect on Worker Safety

Maslej (2006) also noted that language barrier was a strong contributor to poor communication practices on the jobsite and had a tremendous impact on worker safety. In many cases, contractors are willing to take risks associated with hiring employees who cannot communicate freely with other workers. Apart from the fact that the contractors take on a larger workload in order to maximize profit, they also save a considerable amount of money in labour costs by making use of illegal immigrants with language barrier. Many of these immigrants have little or no English skills which can cause severe communication problems on the worksite and affect productivity, profitability and above all worker safety (Dexter, 2005). The four most common causes of all deaths and fatal injuries in construction are falls, being struck by something, caught in between machinery or some other equipment, electrical shock which are all related to workers with little or no language skills (Maslej, 2006 ). 2.4.4.4 Effect on Project Quality

Quality in construction refers to the standard of work that is expected based on the requirements of the contract documents including drawings, specifications, contracts, addenda and any additional conditions supplementary to the contract (Collier, 2005).

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Dunbar (2006) stated that the purpose of a construction specification is to clearly communicate the owner’s expectations to the contractor in a manner that was fair and equitable. He further suggested that well written specification will result in accurate documents. Although poor project quality is often associated with being the contractor’s fault, it is predominantly the mistakes that designers and specification writers make that are responsible for desired project quality not being achieved (Maslej, 2006). Inefficiencies in contract documents issued by consultants are a form of miscommunication and can lead to significant quality problems.

CHAPTER THREE 3.0 3.1 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY INTRODUCTION The essence of this chapter is to define the entire method adopted in this project work. It describes the procedure followed in realizing the objectives. This involves the adequate description of the research and stressing on the inclusiveness of the chosen area of this study, the research tools and sampling techniques necessitating the administration of questionnaires and oral interview. Other discussions centered on study
40

design which describes the major procedure followed in carrying out the project, the method of data collection and finally, the analysis of data indicating the statistical tool used and suitability of such tools. 3.2 CHARACTERISTICS OF POPULATION OF STUDY This consist twenty-eight construction companies out of which the sample size for the study is twenty construction firms. The reason for seeking this information from the construction companies is to know the effects of communication on project delivery in the Nigerian Construction Industry. The population of the research is made up of Architects, Builders, Structural Engineers, Project Managers and Quantity Surveyors. 3.3 SAMPLING The procedure for sampling in this project is based on the use of questionnaires. The sampling size for this research work is twenty construction firms. The questionnaires are distributed to the five professionals listed above i.e. Architects, Builders, Structural Engineers, Project Managers and Quantity Surveyors. 3.4 QUESTIONNAIRE ADMINISTRATION In order to obtain appropriate and adequate responses from the respondents, a combination of fixed response and open end questions was prepared in such a way that the options of the respondents were required on the subject of the dissertation. The questionnaire was split into five sections.
41

Section A consists of fixed response questions to obtain demographic data about the respondent and the construction firm where he works. Sections B to E will have both fixed response and open end questions based on the objectives of the study as well as proffered solutions to aid in achieving the aim of the study. The respondents are to tick any of the options which portrayed their own opinions. The open end aspects of the questionnaire will give an insight into personal views of the respondents based on their wealth of experience. 3.5 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION The questionnaires were distributed to the respondents through direct contact in order to supply the necessary data to be used for the project work. Responses were collected on individual basis and also interviews were conducted with respondents in respect of questionnaires earlier distributed.

3.6

LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY In some cases, the difficulties are that professionals were not available

and when available to fill questionnaires and some opted for oral interview and the researcher had to do a lot of writing. In other cases, some professionals collected questionnaires and never filled them till date despite regular visits to their sites which has resulted into time waste. Some
42

professionals actually claimed that they could not find the questionnaires and asked for another copy but still did not fill them.

CHAPTER FOUR 4.0 PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
43

4.1

PRESENTATION OF DATA The information and data collected from the professionals from the

construction firms was used in making the analysis, summary, and conclusions as well as recommendations in the next chapter. 4.1.1 Response to Questionnaire Table 4.1: Response to Questionnaire by professionals in the selected Construction firms SECTION NUMBER GIVEN OUT Architects Builders Quantity Surveyors Contractors Engineers Total 30 30 150 25 18 90 28% 20% 100% 30 30 30 15 20 12 NUMBER OF RESPONSES 17% 22% 13% PERCENTAGE

Source: Field Survey (2009)

Table 4.1 shows that 90 questionnaires out of the total 150 questionnaires distributed were completely filled and returned. 4.1.2 Sample Size of Respondents
44

The sample size of respondents is as analyzed below. Table 4.2: Sample size of Respondents Number Percentage Section of Pie Chart 15 20 25 18 12 17% 22% 28% 20% 13% 61 79 101 72 47

Professional Architects Builders Contractors Engineers Quantity Surveyors

Qu tity S rveyors an u En in g eers

A itects rch

B ild u ers

Cn o tractors

Architects B uilders C ontractors E ineers ng Quantity S urveyors

Figure 4.1: Pie Chart showing sample size of respondents Source: Field Survey (2009) From Table 4.2 above it is noticed that the highest population of respondents is the Contractors, followed by the Builders, then the Engineers, and then the Quantity Surveyors and lastly the Architects. 4.1.3 Work Experience of Respondents
45

Table 4.3: Work experience of respondents Years 0 – 5 years 6 – 10 years 11 – 15 years 16 – 20 years Above 20 years Number 14 19 41 12 4
Above 20 years 16 years -20 0-5 years
0-5 y rs ea 6-10 yea rs 11-15 y rs ea

Percentage Section of Pie Chart 15.56% 21.11% 45.56% 13.33% 4.44% 57 76 164 47 16

1 5 years 1-1

6 0 years -1

16-20 y rs ea Abov 20 yea e rs

Figure 4.2: Pie Chart showing Work experience of respondents Source: Field Survey (2009) Table 4.3 clearly indicates that majority of the respondents are those whose years of experience fall between 11and 15 years. 4.1.4 Age of Firm/Organization Table 4.4: Age of Firm/Organization Years 0 – 5 years 6 – 10 years Number 2 2 Percentage Section of Pie Chart 10% 10% 36 36
46

11 – 15 years 16 – 20 years Above 20 years

6 8 2

30% 40% 10%

108 144 36

Above 20 y rs ea

0-5 yea rs 6-10 yea rs

0-5 years
11-15 y rs ea 16-20 yea rs

6-1 years 0 11 years -15 16 years -20 Above 20 years

Figure 3.3: Pie Chart showing age of firms/organizations Source: Field Survey (2009)

4.2

ANALYSIS OF DATA AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS Table 4.5:
S/N

Assessment of Communication at Design Stage by respondents
1 2 3 4 5 R.I.I RANK

COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS AT DESIGN STAGE

1

Incomplete and inaccurate drawings make construction more difficult

3

0

9

16

6

0.90

1

47

2 2
Early consultation between the architect and builder enhances project delivery

8

16 17

9

4 1

0.73

2

3

Client approves a project after the members of the design team have taken a collective action on the feasibility report

9

6

34

21

2 0

0.68

3

4

Client communicates any alterations or modifications to the consultants

14 9

17

36

1 4

0.66

4

5

Feasibility studies are carried out by the architect only

9

9

50

13

9

0.61

5

Source: Author’s Survey (2009)

From the results of the analysis shown in Table 3.5 above, it is observed that majority of the respondents agree that incomplete and inaccurate drawings make construction more difficult as earlier retrieved from Constructware. Table 4.6: Assessment of Communication between professionals on Construction projects
S/N 1 FACTORS
Use of simple and direct language will enhance communication on site

1 0

2 0

3 3

4

5

R.I.I 0.92

RANK 1

29 5 8

2

Site meetings lead to a faster flow of information 0 during a construction project

0

9

29 6 2

0.91

2

3

Poor communication on site leads to delay in schedules

3

3

9

29 4 6

0.85

3

48

4

Site meetings are an important channel of communication between consultants and contractor

0

0

20 32 3 8

0.84

4

5

Channels of communicating must be applicable to all members of the construction team. Poor and distorted information affects the level of work done on site

0

3

16 34 3 7

0.83

5

6

6

9

0

29 4 6

0.82

6

7

Face-to-face meetings are the most effective means of communicating

3

0

21 40 2 6

0.80

7

8

Poor communication is greatly reduced by allowing for feedback after communicating

3

1 5

24 19 2 9

0.72

8

Source: Author’s Survey (2009)

From the results of the analysis indicated in Table 4.6, it is observed that the use of simple and direct language will enhance communication on site. This agrees with Mehra (2009) assertion that variations in language are a major cause of poor communication. Table 4.7: Communication Process in Construction Firms
S/N COMMUNICATION IN CONSTRUCTION FIRMS 1
Situating the specialist near the site enhances communication and project delivery

1

2

3

4

5

R.I.I RANK

6

3

2 1

40 2 0

0.74

1

2

Irrelevant information in a department causes delay in decision-making

6

12

1

39 1

0.70

2

49

7 3
Concise and written instructions rather than phone calls enhances communication in a firm

6 31 1 9 0.70 2

9

6

2 6

4

Lack of communication equipment for speedy transfer of information

3

18

3 2

29 9

0.70

2

5

The type of communication system in a construction firm is determined by its size

1 2

6

3 2

19 2 1

0.67

3

6

Decision making is faster in construction firms with a small workforce

6

14

3 8

19 1 3

0.64

4

7

Organizational structure has the greatest effect on a construction project’s communication requirements

1 2

15

3 3

15 1 5

0.61

5

8

A large construction firm has more problem disseminating information

1 7

7

4 0

9

1 7

0.60

6

Source: Author’s Survey (2009)

From the results of the analysis in Table 3.7, a larger number of the respondents think that situating the specialist near the site will enhance project delivery. This agrees with Shutt (1992) whose opinion is that having a specialist far from site is will not improve project delivery Table 3.8: An assessment of methods of enhancing communication in Construction firms
50

S/N 1

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS
Having a standard method of communicating

1 0

2 0

3 14

4 16

5 61

R.I.I RANK 0.90 1

2

Regular site meetings in order to sort knotty issues that would have impeded the progress of the project

0

6

10

14

60

0.88

2

3

Ensuring that drawings are devoid 0 of ambiguities

9

18

12

51

0.83

3

4

Standardizing methods of exchanging project information

3

12

8

20

47

0.81

4

5

Maximizing use of modern communication technology

0

0

27

30

31

0.81

4

6

Roles of all parties to be clear and distinct

13

2

9

14

52

0.80

5

7

Using procurement methods such as Construction Management as against the traditional method

0

8

22

31

29

0.78

6

8

Offering technical communication training

0

16

8

40

26

0.77

7

9

Seeking of builders input during the design stage

15

9

17

21

24

0.67

8

Source: Author’s Survey (2009)

From the results of the analysis in Table 3.8, it is observed that majority of the respondents agree that having a standard method of communicating among different firms involved will enhance effective
51

communication. This agrees with Shutt (1992) view that a communication network has to be developed within large companies to ensure that the information necessary for decision-making gets to where it may be wanted.

52

CHAPTER FIVE 5.0 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND

RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS The data collected from the respondents can be summarized in the

following points; 1) Incomplete and inaccurate drawings make construction more difficult. 2) The use of simple and direct language will enhance communication on site. 3) Having a specialist from the construction firm situated near the site will help improve the communication between the firm and the site.
4)

Having a standard method of communication among the parties in the construction industry is needed to enhance communication.

5.2

CONCLUSION From the results obtained, it can be deduced that poor communication

is a major contributor to delay in construction project delivery. Its effects are felt not only within the construction industry but outside its walls. 5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS

53

1. Construction documents and drawings must be detailed in such a way that they become easy for the users to interprete. 2. The language to be used on site must be one that will be easily understood by everybody involved in the project.
3.

Having a site office with a resident engineer for as long as the project exists will provide a link between the construction firm and the site for the duration of the project.

4.

Having a standardized framework for communication among construction firms will enhance project delivery as this is critical to increasing productivity.

54

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Dexter, A. (2005, July). How to remove language barriers. Retrieved November 2009, from ProQuest database, Article No. 882308981. Dunbar, T. (2006, February). Specification Writing. Lecture presented at George Brown College, U.S.A. Faniran, O, O. Love, P.E.D. Treloar, G. and Anumba, C.J. (2001). Methodological issues in design construction integration. Journal of Logistics Information Management, Vol 14, No 5/6, pp 421-426. Flory, M. (2001, January). Solving the language barrier. Occupational Health & Safety, 70(1), 37- 38. Retrieved October 29, 2006, from ProQuest database, Article No. 67028556. Finding skilled labor is top construction industry concern, says survey. (1998, December). Aberdeen’s Concrete Construction, 43(12), 1110. Retrieved December 5, 2006, from ProQuest database, Article No. 38619475. Hafez, N (2001): Residential Projects Obstacles and problems in Kuwait MS Project. Department of Civil Engineering, Kuwait University. Hoezen M.E.L., Reymen I.M.M.J., Dewulf G.P.M.R. (2006). The problem of communication in construction. University of Twente, The Netherlands
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Maslej M. (2006) Communication in the Construction Industry. Technical Thesis Project (Diploma), George Brown College, U.S.A Mehra S. (Project Management Professional) (2009) Project communication Management Summarized. Omole, A.O. (2000). Surveying input to engineering projects: need for
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