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International Journal of Applied Engineering Research

ISSN 0973-4562 Volume 9, Number 17 (2014) pp. 4169-4180

Research India Publications

Identification of Factors Leading to Construction Project
Success Using Principal Component Analysis

Sayali Sandbhor
, Snehpriya Choudhary
Anubhav Arora
, Prlavya Katoch

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering,
Symbiosis Institute of Technology, SIU, Pune, India.
2, 3, 4
Undergraduate scholars, Department of Civil Engineering,
Symbiosis Institute of Technology, SIU, Pune, India.


Construction industry is the second largest industry in India after agriculture.
It is highly competitive and involves number of parties, various processes and
different phases of work. Construction is a risky business and construction
companies have to consider factors that have significant effect on their
success. It requires a high degree of planning, organization to progress
smoothly. The study of success factors is to improve the effectiveness of the
project and overall performance of the same. The factors can help the project
parties to achieve their goals in an efficient manner. From the works reported
in literature, nineteen significant factors leading to success of construction
project have been identified. A questionnaire survey is conducted with various
groups of project participants namely contractors, consultants and owners.
Statistical analysis of questionnaire responses is done using Principal
Component Analysis (PCA) tool from XLSTAT software. PCA identifies six
distinct set of success factors. The most significant success factors obtained
for Indian scenario are effective project control & management, labour
productivity & scheduling, multi disciplinary & effective communication,
financial capability & clients input, resource planning & accurate design and
competency of participants & proper method of project delivery. The impact
of the identified factors is expected to guide the project team in addressing the
process of construction in an effective manner.

Keywords: Construction project, questionnaire survey, principal component
analysis, project success factors.

4170 Sayali Sandbhor et al

Project success is almost the ultimate goal for every project. Achieving success is a
highly critical issue for the companies to survive in a competitive business
environment. The construction industry is also an area where there is strong
competition and the study of factors affecting construction project are an aid of
measuring project success (Terry C., 2002). Construction industry is dynamic in
nature due to the increasing uncertainties in technology, budgets and development
processes. Nowadays, building projects are becoming much more complex and
difficult. The project team is facing unprecedented changes. The study of project
success and the critical success factors are considered to be a means to improve the
effectiveness of project (Walid B., et al, 1996). However the concept of project
success has remained ambiguously defined in the mind of the construction
professionals (Albert P.C. et al, 2004). Various attempts have been made by different
researchers to determine success factors in construction. A number of variables
influencing project success have been found. Some variables are common to more
than one list, but there is no general agreement on the variables. An attempt has been
made to identify critical success factors using statistical multivariate data analysis
called principal component analysis.

1.1 Literature review
The term Critical Success Factors (CSF) is defined as factors predicting success of
projects (Albert P.C. et al, 2004). Literature review has been conducted to generate a
set of factors believed to affect project performance. Project management action is a
key for project success which defines the scope of procurement as the framework
within which construction is brought about, acquired or obtained. Therefore attributes
used to measure this factor; are procurement method selection of the organization for
the design & construction of the project and tendering method procedures adopted for
the selection of the project team and in particular the main contractor (Albert P.C. et
al, 2004). Top management support is essential for achieving desired quality mainly
on account of four issues. It is the top managements prerogative to set all the policy
issues and control resources. In addition, top management arranges training of human
resources involved in the project (Jha K.N et al, 2006). Proper monitoring and timely
feedback help in controlling the workmanship and they enhance the quality of a
project. If each part of the activity of a project is monitored effectively and instances
of poor workmanship and improper usage of resources are reported promptly, it aids
in achieving the desired quality level (Enhassi A. et al, 2009). Committed participants
stick to the quality plan and they follow the accepted technical practices to carry out
the different project activities (Terry C., 2001). The owners play an important role in
achieving the desired quality level. Not only are they responsible for the preparation
of a clear and unambiguous specification, but they also monitor the actual work at the
site. It is well recognized that having the clients inspectors work with the contractor
to establish good quality control procedures before the work is done (Niringa G. et al,
2013). Any relaxation in quality performance can set a bad precedence. Thus
competence of the owner plays a prominent role in defining the expected level of
Identification of Factors Leading to Construction Project Success 4171

quality from the contractor organization; hence the factor truly justifies its importance
(Jha K.N. et al, 2006).
A compatible work environment affects the success of a construction adversely. A
good work environment not only increases productivity but it also affects the project
quality. In addition, good climatic conditions give rise to a better workforce, leading
to a better quality project (Albert P.C. et al, 2004). Project delivery method refers to
the owners approach in organizing the project team that will manage the entire
design and construction process. There are mainly three categories of delivery
methods: traditional design-bid-build, design-build and construction management.
The choice of the appropriate delivery method is a key decision that has to be made
by owners early in the project lifecycle. This decision has a great impact on project
success (Sameh Monihir, 2007). Various researchers support environment as a factor
affecting the project further described environment as all external influences on the
construction process, including social, political, and technical systems. The attributes
used to measure this factor are economic environment, social environment, political
environment, physical environment, industrial relation environment, and level of
technology advanced (Albert P.C. et al, 2004). Labour productivity and vocational
training on site is an important determinant of productivity growth (Sandbhor S. et al,
2014). Effective communication system between all the project participants is the
inputs to the project management system that directly increase the likelihood of
achieving project success. Proper allocation of resources in all the phases of the
project helps us to utilize only that much resources which are required (Walid B.,
1996). Accurate estimation of initial cost can help prevent the occurrence of cost
overruns in construction projects as observed in the construction industry of UK.
Therefore, the research identified CSFs that have an influence in the cost performance
of projects. (Susana G. Arcila, 2012). The goal of design planning is to gain key
insights or unique essential truths resulting in more holistic solutions in order to
achieve better experiences for users with products, services, environments and
systems they rely upon (Pakseresht A. et al, 2012). Timely client consultation is an
excellent initiative for both consultancies and clients alike. It provides a mutually
beneficial framework so that the client/consultancy journey is as effective, smooth
and profitable as possible (Godwin I., 2011). Equipments and tools have an advantage
over manpower resource as it can work under adverse circumstances continuously,
requires less manpower and other facilities. The selection and utilization of equipment
in a project must be an integral part of the total plan. The type and number of the
equipments required in any project depends on the nature of the project which
significantly affects construction cost (Robert L., et al, 2000). Proper planning and
scheduling of each activity is effective for completion of project in terms of time and
cost (Scott J., 1982).
Based on the literature survey and discussion with experts located across India, a total
of nineteen variables have been finalized for further analysis. These nineteen variables
are as shown in Table 1 below.

4172 Sayali Sandbhor et al

Table 1: Variables identified for the study

Variable Nomenclature
1 Labour productivity and vocational training V1
2 Effective communication systembetween all the project participants V2
3 Proper allocation of resources in all phases of the project V3
4 Proper planning and scheduling V4
5 Clear, realistic and well framed goals V5
6 Accurate estimation of initial cost V6
7 Efficient project manager V7
8 Financial capability of the owner V8
9 Appropriate project delivery method V9
10 Good health and safety conditions V10
11 Multi-disciplinary project team V11
12 Environmental factors like climate and topography V12
13 Availability and maintenance of tools and equipments V13
14 Characteristics of participants involved V14
15 Regular monitoring of project V15
16 Competency, commitment and motivation of team V16
17 Timely client consultation V17
18 Duration of defect liability period V18
19 Accurate design and drawing V19

1.2. Principal component analysis
Principal component analysis is a canonical and widely used method for
dimensionality reduction of multivariate data (Andreson E. et al, 1999). PCA finds an
underlying dimension that explains the correlation among a set of variables (Malhotra
N. et al, 2011). It is a method that projects a dataset to a new coordinate system by
determining the eigenvectors and eigen values of a matrix. It involves calculation of a
covariance matrix of a dataset to minimize the redundancy and maximize the
variance. PCA is concerned with finding the variances and coefficients of a dataset
from the eigenvalues and eigenvectors. PCA is a widely used mathematical tool for
high dimension data analysis. Just within the fields of computer graphics and
visualization alone, PCA has been used for face recognition, motion analysis and
synthesis, clustering, dimension reduction, etc (Jeong D.H. et al., 2008). The study
attempts to apply PCA for identification of factors leading to construction project
success. Factor analysis is useful for finding clusters of related variables and thus
ideal for reducing a large number of variables into a more easily understood

1.3. Research methodology
A questionnaire survey has been designed by incorporating the 19 factors leading to
construction project success. The questionnaire is divided into two parts. The first part
requests background information about the respondents. The second part of the
Identification of Factors Leading to Construction Project Success 4173

questionnaire focuses on factors considered to find their affect on the project success.
In the survey, the proposed success factors are rated by construction professionals and
experts who have project management knowledge and related experience. The
questionnaire askes to rate the variable on a five point liker scale with 1 representing
not significance, 2 slight significance, 3 moderate significance,4 very significance and
5 for extreme significance . The questionnaire has been distributed either personally
or via e-mail to members of top and middle management with experience of 10- 35
years in various construction companies. The sample size collected is 50. Opinions of
the experts have been used to further analyze the importance of these factors and their
co-relation with each other using analytical tool of PCA in software package called
XLSTAT-Pro (version 2014). The XLSTAT statistical analysis add-in offers a wide
variety of functions to enhance the analytical capabilities of Excel and helps to
perform multivariate data analysis.

2.1 Tests for sample adequacy & correlation criteria
PCA using XLSTAT identifies factors which represent underlying dimension that
explains the correlation among a set of variables (Malhotra N., 2011). Kaiser
Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy tests whether the partial
correlations among variables are small. It should be greater than 0.5 for analysis to
proceed (Jolynne P., 2008). For the present analysis the KMO measure of sampling
adequacy is 0.661 which shows that collected sample size is sufficient for further
analysis. Bartlett's test of sphericity tests whether the correlation matrix is an identity
matrix, which would indicate that the factor model is inappropriate (Jolynne P., 2008).
The alpha option provides an effective tool for measuring Cronbach's alpha, which is
a numerical coefficient of reliability. Computation of alpha is based on the reliability
of a test relative to other tests with same number of items, and measuring the same
construct of interest (Hatcher L., 1994). Cronbachs Alpha for the given sample is
0.863.The study shows that test has p-value less than 0.001 and hence rejects the
hypothesis that the correlation matrix is an identity matrix. Table 2 below gives test
results which indicate that the adopted method i.e. PCA is reliable for further analysis.

Table 2: Result for Bartletts test of sphericity

Chi-square (Observed value) 390.759
Chi-square (Critical value) 202.513
DF 171
p-value <0.0001
Alpha 0.05

2.2 Determination of number of the factors to be retained
The number of factors to be retained is determined on the basis of either eigen values
or scree plot so that cumulative percentage of variance extracted by factors reaches a
4174 Sayali Sandbhor et al

satisfactory level. Factors extracted should account for at least 60% of variance
(Malhotra N. et al, 2011).

2.2.1 Eigen Values greater than 1
Only factors with Eigen values greater than 1.0 are retained; the other factors are not
included in the model (Malhotra N. et al, 2011). Table 3 shows the eigen values of
factors which depict that first six factors have eigen values greater than 1 and hence
should be retained.

Table 3: Eigen values and variability of factors

F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10 F11 F12
Eigen value 5.863 1.805 1.606 1.458 1.273 1.066 0.991 0.804 0.750 0.645 0.569 0.492
Variability % 30.856 9.500 8.451 7.676 6.697 5.612 5.214 4.233 3.950 3.393 2.995 2.591
Cumulative % 30.856 40.357 48.808 56.484 63.181 68.793 74.007 78.240 82.190 85.583 88.578 91.168

2.2.2 Scree-plot
A scree plot is a plot of eigen values against number of factors in order of extraction.
The shape of the plot is used to determine the number of factors. The plot has a
distinct break between the steep slopes of factors, with large eigen values and a
gradual trailing of associated with the rest of the factors. This gradual trailing is
referred to as scree. The point on which scree begins denotes the true number of
factors (Malhotra N. et al, 2011). The rationale for this test is that a few major factors
will account for the most variance, resulting in a cliff, followed by shallow scree
depicting the consistently small error variance described by minor factors. Though it
works well with strong factors, it suffers from ambiguity and subjectivity when there
is no clear hinge in the depicted eigen values (Courtney M.G., 2013).

Fig. 1: Scree Plot

Identification of Factors Leading to Construction Project Success 4175

2.3 Factor Pattern
The factor pattern matrix consists of coefficients used to express the standardized
variables in terms of factors. Table 4 gives the factor pattern and loadings. It is the
correlation between a variable and a factor that has been extracted from the data.
These coefficients the factor loading, represent the correlation between the factors and
the variables. A coefficient with a larger absolute value indicates the factor and the
variable are closely related (Malhotra N. et al, 2011). The table also shows the final
communalities of all variables that are greater than 0.5. Amount of variance a variable
shares with all the other variables being considered. This is also the proportion of
variance explained by the common factors (Malhotra N. et al, 2011).

Table 4: Factor pattern and final communalities

F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 Final communality
V1 0.474 -0.549 -0.097 0.247 -0.212 -0.026 0.642
V2 0.583 -0.018 -0.473 0.271 -0.150 0.262 0.728
V3 0.231 -0.696 0.045 -0.130 0.452 0.000 0.761
V4 0.514 -0.380 0.357 0.315 -0.316 0.075 0.741
V5 0.628 -0.084 -0.177 -0.148 0.044 -0.314 0.555
V6 0.618 0.024 -0.277 -0.201 0.186 -0.169 0.563
V7 0.521 0.119 -0.249 -0.627 -0.017 -0.259 0.808
V8 0.227 -0.496 0.121 -0.628 -0.291 0.068 0.796
V9 0.530 0.276 0.509 -0.151 0.114 -0.155 0.676
V10 0.687 0.281 -0.052 0.169 -0.192 -0.092 0.627
V11 0.452 0.192 -0.469 -0.279 -0.431 0.365 0.858
V12 0.595 -0.408 0.088 0.174 -0.015 0.084 0.566
V13 0.774 0.104 0.267 0.050 -0.185 0.101 0.727
V14 0.624 -0.011 0.339 -0.129 0.231 0.084 0.581
V15 0.660 0.107 0.059 0.201 0.009 -0.408 0.657
V16 0.808 0.241 0.041 0.132 0.093 0.040 0.741
V17 0.448 0.110 -0.357 0.318 0.307 -0.143 0.555
V18 0.432 0.386 0.436 -0.139 0.096 0.434 0.743
V19 0.330 -0.071 -0.245 -0.043 0.586 0.475 0.744

2.4 Rotation
Once the total number of factors to be retained is finalized, rotation of these factors is
carried out. Rotation is an inherent part of performing PCA. An important output from
PCA is factor matrix which gives loadings or simple correlations of variables on the
identified factors. Although the initial or unrotated factor matrix indicates the
relationship between the factors and individual variables, it seldom results in factors
that can be interpreted, because the factors are correlated with many variables
(Malhotra N. et al, 2011). Rotation of factors in which the axes are maintained at right
angle is called varimax rotation. The purpose of rotation is to achieve a solution
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where each factor has a small number of large loadings and a large number of small
loadings, simplifying interpretation, since each variable tends to have high loadings
with only one or with only few factors (Basto M. et al, 2012). The goal of rotation is
to simplify and clarify the data structure. A rotation can help to choose the correct
number of factors to retain and can also help the interpretation of the solution. Results
of varimax rotation are shown in Table 5 and Table 6. Table 5 gives total cumulative
variance of 68.793% as explained by first six factors.

Table 5: Percentage of variance after varimax rotation

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6
Variability (%) 14.144 14.236 9.840 8.059 8.026 14.489
Cumulative % 14.144 28.379 38.220 46.279 54.304 68.793

Table 6 shows the factor loadings on rotation which simplifies the interpretability of
the factors and contributing variables. It also highlights the maximum loadings in a
row for easier interpretations.

Table 6: Factor pattern after Varimax rotation

D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6
V1 0.152 0.748 0.139 0.098 0.129 -0.120
V2 0.183 0.406 0.643 -0.253 0.230 0.015
V3 0.162 0.340 -0.324 0.319 0.634 -0.103
V4 -0.051 0.801 0.020 0.102 -0.072 0.283
V5 0.665 0.263 0.126 0.058 0.111 0.107
V6 0.640 0.102 0.220 0.000 0.270 0.145
V7 0.747 -0.151 0.286 0.345 0.045 0.156
V8 0.146 0.201 0.110 0.848 0.046 0.031
V9 0.342 0.077 -0.174 0.037 -0.083 0.717
V10 0.409 0.319 0.355 -0.253 -0.138 0.386
V11 0.183 0.016 0.886 0.172 -0.002 0.102
V12 0.157 0.653 0.074 0.081 0.261 0.187
V13 0.252 0.451 0.256 0.014 -0.038 0.627
V14 0.268 0.238 -0.051 0.112 0.272 0.603
V15 0.581 0.393 -0.019 -0.259 -0.100 0.295
V16 0.413 0.308 0.266 -0.253 0.155 0.563
V17 0.418 0.177 0.140 -0.496 0.291 0.007
V18 -0.088 -0.060 0.167 0.028 0.122 0.830
V19 0.035 -0.046 0.202 -0.108 0.810 0.178

Identification of Factors Leading to Construction Project Success 4177

3.0. Interpretation of factors
Interpretation is facilitated by identifying the variables that have large loadings on the
same factor (Dash S. et al, 2011). In Table 6, factor 1 has high loadings for variables
F5 (Clear realistic and well framed goals), F19 (Accurate estimation and initial cost),
F7 (efficient project manager), F10 (good health and safety conditions), F15 (regular
monitoring, quality analysis and control on site). Factor 2 has high correlations with
F1 (labour productivity and training), F4 (proper planning and scheduling), F12
(environmental factors). Factor 3 has variables F2 (effective communication) and F11
(multi-disciplinary project team) loading heavily. Factor 4 comprises of F18 (financial
capability of the owner), F17 (timely client consultation).Factor 5 comprises of F19
(Accurate design and drawing) and F3 (proper allocation of resources).Factor 6
comprises of F9 (Appropriate project delivery method), F13 (Access, availability and
maintenance of tools and resources), F14 (Characteristics of participants), F18 (defect
liability period), F16 (Competency, commitment and motivation of team members).
Now these factors are labeled according to the nature of group of variables forming it.
As variables in Factor 1 represent effective project management, accurate estimation
and goals, Factor 1 is labeled as effectiveness of project management and control.
Similarly factor 2 represents labour productivity, proper planning with consideration
to the environment; it may be renamed as labour productivity and scheduling. Factor
3 comprises of variables explaining importance of communication system and project
team on site, hence labeled as multi-disciplinary and effective communication.
Factor 4 comprises of financial ability and effective consultation by client and is
labeled as financial capability and client input. Factor 5 is explained by accurate
design and drawings and resource allocation, it is labeled as resource planning and
accurate design and drawing Factor 6 comprises of proper project deliver method,
duration of defect liability period, maintenance, of resources and tools, characteristics
of participants commitment and motivation of employees, hence is named as
competency of participants and proper method of project delivery. The summary of
interpretation of factors is shown in Table 7 below.

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Table 7: Interpretation Summary

Factor Variable loading heavily Correlation
with Factor
Factor Label
Factor 1

V5- Clear realistic and well
framed goals
0.665 Effective project control and
V6- Accurate estimation and
initial cost
V7- Efficient project manager 0.747
V10- Good health and safety
V15- Regular monitoring,
quality analysis and control
on site
Factor 2

V1- Labour productivity and
0.748 Labour productivity and
V4- Proper planning and
V12- Environmental factors 0.653
Factor 3 V2- Effective communication 0.643 Multi-disciplinary and
effective communication V11- Multi-disciplinary
project team
Factor 4 V8- Financial capability of
the owner
0.848 Financial capability and
client input
V17- Timely client
- 0.496
Factor 5 V3- Proper allocation of
0.634 Resource planning and
accurate design and drawing
V19- Accurate design and
Factor 6 V9- Appropriate project
delivery method
0.717 Competency of participants
and proper method of project
delivery V13- Access, availability and
maintenance of tools and
V14- Characteristics of
V16- Competency,
commitment and motivation
of team members
V18- Defect liability period 0.830

Identification of Factors Leading to Construction Project Success 4179

Identifying the factors leading to success of construction project is crucial to reduce
the delay in construction. This study attempts to select variables from literature survey
and discussion with experts. Studying the outputs from questionnaire survey by PCA
using XLSTAT shows that six factors affect the success of construction project. The
factors have been interpreted based on the variables comprising them. It is observed
that effective project control & management, labour productivity & scheduling,
multidisciplinary & effective communication, financial capability & client input,
resource planning & accurate design and competency of participants and proper
method of project delivery are the most important factors affecting success of
construction project in India. Due attention to these factors and their study for Indian
scenario will be helpful to contractors, owners and the project team on construction in
making project related decisions. Due attention to these factors would lead to a
successful project in terms of attaining the predefined project quality in stipulated
time and budget.


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