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The impact of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Phases on Project Performance: A Case of Large-scale Residential Construction Project

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The Construction Industry is a complex and fragmented industry worldwide with regards to its supply chain, products, and processes, and is faced with a similar dilemma as faced by manufacturers during its time in past decades. Scope, time, and cost are the triple constraints of project management and leading factors in defining the project performance. Productivity and efficiency of each construction project is measured through its triple constraints, therefore the factors that affect project success are significantly important. Despite the importance of understanding project performance indicators, few empirical studies have been conducted over the last decade in terms of analyzing the factors that determine the performance of high-rise buildings in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) projects. Hence, the aim of this paper is to analyze and rank EPC critical activities across large-scale residential construction projects in Iran, by using the TOPSIS method as a multi-attribute group decision-making technique. Results indicate that engineering design, project planning and controls are significant factors contributing to the project performance. In addition, engineering has a pivotal role in project performance and this significance is followed by the construction phase. On the contrary, all believe procurement is more important than Construction phase.
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buildings
Article
The impact of Engineering, Procurement and
Construction (EPC) Phases on Project Performance:
A Case of Large-scale Residential
Construction Project
Kamyar Kabirifar * and Mohammad Mojtahedi
Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales; Sydney 2052, Australia;
m.mojtahedi@unsw.edu.au
*Correspondence: kamyar.kabirifar@student.unsw.edu.au; Tel.: +61-478-195-323
Received: 23 November 2018; Accepted: 2 January 2019; Published: 8 January 2019


Abstract:
The Construction Industry is a complex and fragmented industry worldwide with regards
to its supply chain, products, and processes, and is faced with a similar dilemma as faced by
manufacturers during its time in past decades. Scope, time, and cost are the triple constraints of
project management and leading factors in defining the project performance. Productivity and
efficiency of each construction project is measured through its triple constraints, therefore the factors
that affect project success are significantly important. Despite the importance of understanding
project performance indicators, few empirical studies have been conducted over the last decade in
terms of analyzing the factors that determine the performance of high-rise buildings in Engineering,
Procurement, and Construction (EPC) projects. Hence, the aim of this paper is to analyze and
rank EPC critical activities across large-scale residential construction projects in Iran, by using
the TOPSIS method as a multi-attribute group decision-making technique. Results indicate that
engineering design, project planning and controls are significant factors contributing to the project
performance. In addition, engineering has a pivotal role in project performance and this significance
is followed by the construction phase. On the contrary, all believe procurement is more important
than Construction phase.
Keywords: EPC projects; project Performance; triple constraints; TOPSIS
1. Introduction
The project is a short-term attempt that seeks to create a product or service. The aim of the
project is to identify and achieve its respective owner’s goals. Projects are frequently carried out by
the project team as a means of attaining the organizations crucial plan or service production [
1
].
Project management forms the foundation of every construction project. Construction projects
are a multi-faceted and highly organized operation, consisting of many tasks focused solely and
in conjunction with the singular purpose of constructing a building or structure [
2
]. Cost, time,
and scope have been the triple constraints of Project Management Triangle (PMT) for many years.
These constraints have been linked with measuring the project management success [3,4].
The construction industry represents a significant percentage of many countries Gross Domestic
Product (GDP). According to World Bank, developing countries are responsible for approximately
6–9% of the GDP [
5
,
6
], therefore the success of the construction industry often leads to the promotion
and maintenance of long-term economic growth and stability. In recent years, multiple attempts
have been made to improve construction project productivity and success rates, which frequently
represent the fundamental principles for the successful implementation of the projects management
Buildings 2019,9, 15; doi:10.3390/buildings9010015 www.mdpi.com/journal/buildings
Buildings 2019,9, 15 2 of 15
and optimization. The construction projects success is the main foundation of management and control
procedures of the current project and detailed planning for future projects [7].
Construction projects generally involve complex and fragmented multi-tasks, which are carried
out by several professionals and non-professionals within the Project Life Cycle (PLC), which include
engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) phases. Construction projects comprise building
and infrastructure projects and need accurate coordination to meet project success. Accordingly,
the construction industry is often confronted with dilemmas in its processes which cause poor
performance. As such, the construction industry is left embattled by the resulting flow-on effects of
low efficiency and productivity [8].
The significance of these inefficiencies within the construction industry is heightened in terms of
cost and time overruns. Hussin, Rahman [
9
] revealed that 14% of project contract sum is consumed by
cost overruns, while time overrun happens to more than 70% of all construction projects, and 10% of
projects materials end up as waste material.
The successful implementation of construction projects in the competitive construction market
plays a significant role in the company’s success. Meanwhile, the construction companies that are able
to manage their resources (material, human, financial, equipment, and time) achieve high performance
efficiency. Construction projects are complex with regard to variety of works, budget, duration, and the
number of parties involved [10].
The construction industry, as any other industry, needs to be continuously improved. The principle
behind this continuous improvement has come from the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) which was
initially introduced in manufacturing and was later utilized in the construction industry [
11
]. PDCA is
highly dependent on continuous measurement. It is an iterative four-step management method applied
in enterprises for the control and continual improvement of processes and products [
12
]. There have
also been a lot of other approaches towards efficiency enhancement in the construction industry,
which is the preventive factor from poor performance. One of these trends is derived from the Toyota
Production System (TPS) that is looking for waste minimization, effort maximization, and secure
profit to end users. TPS has originated from the approach which is called Lean Production (LP).
The international group for lean construction identified lean construction (LC) to define a method for
the purpose of designing and implementing construction activities to minimize waste in construction
industry in terms of time, cost, and quality [
13
]. In addition to LC, there have been other approaches
towards better management of construction projects including adoption of Total Quality Management
(TQM), which is a management theory focused on improving an organization’s ability to deliver
quality to its customers on a continuously improving basis. Six Sigma and ISO 9001:2000 can also
enhance the organization’s efficiency by reducing the number of defects [14].
The construction industry is a project-specific industry and assessment of the overall performance
of construction projects is difficult due to the lack of development of standard procedure. The project
nature, the effective project management tools, and the adoption of innovative management approaches
are the Critical Success Factors (CSF) for construction projects [
15
]. Meanwhile, CSF should be
determined at the inception of the project, therefore, by focusing on these factors which are the
main inputs of the project management system, the likelihood of project success is most likely
increased. CSF explicitly influence the main goals of the project including time, cost, and scope [
16
20
],
however, CSF depends on the nature and type of construction projects and includes cost, time, quality,
satisfaction, management, safety, technology, organizations, environment, and resources [
21
,
22
]. Time,
cost, and quality are, however, the three predominant performance evaluation dimensions in the
construction industry, also known as the Iron Triangle or Project Management Triangle [22].
Despite the application of various theories, techniques, and tools, the construction industry is still
suffering from inefficiency in terms of time and cost overruns and poor quality globally, which can
threaten the entire life of the projects and lead to delays, disputes, and losses. [
23
]. Iran’s construction
industry has also not been an exception and suffers from inefficiencies which arise from several factors
that finally affect time, cost, and scope of the projects [18,23].
Buildings 2019,9, 15 3 of 15
There is lack of comprehensive research to explore factors causing poor performance of large-scale
residential construction projects (residential construction projects above 5000 square meters) with
regard to project phases (EPC) in Iran. Meanwhile, the prioritization of these factors and their
interaction with project performance have also not been studied. Therefore, this research aims
to identify and prioritize the factors that affect construction project management triangle (CPMT)
with regards to project phases (EPC) in constructing large-scale residential buildings in Iran’s
construction industry.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Management Practices in Construction Project Triangle Success
The concept of lean construction (LC) continues to expand. LC has been defined in numerous
ways, however the following explanations are among the most updated ones [
24
]. Co-founders of the
Lean Construction Institute (LCI), Greg Howell and Glenn Ballard, see lean construction approach
as a construction management procedure [
25
,
26
]. Lean construction has its roots in TPS and is a
novel way of designing and implementing construction projects that are uncertain and complex [
27
].
The Construction Industry Institute (CII) has defined lean construction as the constant process of
waste elimination, fulfilment of customer expectations and requirements, concentration on whole
value stream, and seeking perfection throughout all aspects within the operation of constructing a
project [2830].
Several initiatives play a significant role in order to yield improvement for construction projects.
These initiatives include; Lean Construction (LC), Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma,
and ISO 9001:2000. These initiatives have a close connection to Critical Success Factors (CSF), which is
a management term through which the success of a company or an organization is ensured and is the
most important factor that is related to project performance. According to [
31
,
32
], project performance
is determined by performance measurement, which is identified as evaluation of performance relevant
to project success in terms of time, cost, and quality.
2.2. Factors Affecting Construction Project Triangle Success
Many researchers have highlighted the causes and effects of poor construction project
management. Ogunde, Joshua [
33
] have highlighted the most important criteria of construction
projects, which include monetary stability, work progress, quality standard, health and safety,
relationships with stakeholder, resources, management capabilities, contractual and claim disputes,
and reputation.
Among the aforementioned factors, time and cost measurement are increasingly important due to
its capability to establish a crucial benchmark for the purpose of assessment of the project performance
and project efficiency [
34
]. It is also mandatory to determine the reasons for incomplete tasks as
planned. Often, the analyst role might have been assigned to a project scheduler or other staff who
have been educated in the principles of the construction lean methodology, however, traditional
measurements are no longer applicable [
35
]. Traditional construction management tools do not
address productivity, because they encompass cost overruns and schedule slippages [28,30,35].
Time, cost, and quality are the three most essential elements of construction projects, which are
used to determine and measure the efficacy of project success. These three elements exist throughout
the entire project lifecycle, commencing with the planning and design stages and culminating with
the final handover stage [
36
]. Ensuring a sustainable balance across these elements with reference
to the construction projects success is critical, particularly so in the execution of duties required and
targets set for the main stakeholders attached to the project, most especially with sub-contractors.
These stakeholders are often left at the mercy of the deadline imposed by the construction project
and the considerable financial burden yielded when the agreed upon targets are not met [
37
].
According to [
38
], there are a number of risks that can affect the project’s success. These relate
Buildings 2019,9, 15 4 of 15
to time and cost overruns, including, but not limited to, accidents, fluctuation of price, material
inadequacy, and inclement weather.
Chou, Irawan [
39
] conducted research about the construction professional’s knowledge of project
management. In this study a model was suggested, where the effects of various factors on the project’s
success where correlated against the areas of knowledge which were studied. These areas of knowledge
included project scope, time, cost and quality of the project, procurement management, risk, human
resources, and communication [
40
42
]. Poor performance of construction projects, especially in terms
of time overruns and delays, cost overruns, and quality defects has drawn the attention of many
construction practitioners and researchers [43].
Several researchers have identified Stakeholder satisfaction as an additional, yet major index for
measuring the prosperity of the construction project [44]. They have gone further in recognizing that
this index is equally as important as the previously mentioned elements of time, cost, and quality in
relation to the measurement of construction performance [45]. They have cited this index as a crucial
component of mutual stakeholder satisfaction [46].
Other researchers have since noted a clear distinction between the “projects success” and “projects
management success”, where the first phrase places emphasis on measurement against overall success
of the overall objectives of the project and the second phrase relies more on measurement against the
traditional measures of project performance, such as time, cost, and quality [47].
Numerous studies in recent years have been carried out to identify the factors influencing time and
cost overruns in construction projects worldwide [
48
,
49
]. These factors include deficiencies in contract
management, payments for the completed works, materials which are imported, alteration in design,
and deficiencies in subcontractors and supplier’s performance. In addition to the aforementioned
factors, a combination of variables inclusive of poor labor productivity, material shortages, inaccuracies
in the estimation of required materials, fluctuations in the cost of materials, in addition to insufficient
experience with the project type and location have been identified as the main reasons for project time
and cost overruns in the construction of a high-rise building in Indonesia. Other factors which caused
poor efficiency relating to the construction project were identified in Hong Kong, including mistakes
and discrepancies in design, poor site management and supervision, and delays in approvals [50].
There have also been several studies within the construction industry focused on project
control [
51
,
52
]. The aim of project control is to confirm that projects finish on-time, within budget,
and meet the agreed upon objectives. Project control in practice is undertaken by project or construction
managers and comprises continuous measurement of the project progress and taking correction
actions wherever necessary. In the past few decades several project control techniques have been
adopted, such as Gantt Bar Chart, Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), Critical Path
Method (CPM), and Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique (GERT). Meanwhile, several software
packages have become accessible that support the methodology behind the mentioned techniques,
such as Microsoft Project, Primavera, and more [50,53].
Generally, planning and scheduling are a required necessity for all construction projects. Each
construction activity includes several tasks; therefore, planning is a regular technique that identifies
which tasks should be completed, the resources (labor, materials, and equipment) that are needed,
and by the time they are needed. Each schedule indicates the whole plan in graphical form, which
would be in the format of a bar chart. This chart shows activities on a horizontal time scale (on the
basis of days, weeks, months, or even years, which actually depends on the complexity of the project).
The master scheduling plan is typically generated before the commencement of the construction phase
by the experienced estimators [28,54,55].
A study conducted by [
56
] on the influence of deviations from specific standards of delivered
materials in construction projects indicated that lack of communication (communication failure) among
all relevant parties included in a construction project led to deficiencies in the construction performance.
Generally, since the construction industry is a labor intensive industry and laborer’s are
getting paid on a regular basis, time management can assist in controlling the costs of wages [
57
].
Buildings 2019,9, 15 5 of 15
Meanwhile, working with any delays or behind schedule can retard the overall duration of the project,
especially when a group of workers should execute a specific task, or any material should be used in
the construction site. Inevitably, if construction projects are not completed within their allocated time
span, then the contract can be terminated because of the breach of duty, therefore construction disputes
may arise and payment loss will be imposed to the construction company [
58
]. Based on studies
conducted by [
58
,
59
], two of the most important causes of poor project performance are manageable
and non-manageable, which are illustrated in Table 1.
Table 1. The most important factors causing construction project’s inefficiency.
Factors
1. Manageable
1.1 Flows (Resources and information inadequacy)
1.2 Conversion (Poor planning, poor design, improper implementation and execution,
insufficient quality)
1.3 Management (Ineffective control, poor allocation, poor dispensation)
2. Non-Manageable 2.1 Failure in external methods
2.2 Environmental issues
In addition to prior descriptions of wasted time, construction poor performance is caused by
several factors, including contractor, consultant, or labor related, such as inefficient site management,
problems with sub-contractors, poor scheduling, monetary problems, and inexperienced crews, as well
as absenteeism [
60
63
]. Moreover, there are other reasons that create delay which are not under
control of project participants, such as economy instability, natural disaster, revolutions, and inclement
weather, and there are causes that are created by the owners (clients), such as changes in design or late
payments [6467].
Poor performance can happen due to unexpected events. Unexpected events can influence
construction performance severely. One study [
68
] has highlighted the three main categories of delay
caused by unexpected events; delay to commencement, extension of the time span, and suspension of
work during the execution of the project.
The main causes of construction project management poor performance are different in different
countries and depend on their construction culture. Some researchers have highlighted the most
important causes of poor performance that are common in many countries. According to [
66
,
69
,
70
],
the major causes of delays in construction projects are inadequate and poor supervision of construction
site, problems due to inefficient working of subcontractors, planning and scheduling problems,
contractors lack of experience, changes in design during construction phase, late delivery of materials,
unpredictable geological conditions, difficulties and shortages in providing materials, equipment,
and manpower, delays in payment from owners, contractors’ monetary difficulties, design deficiencies,
excessive bureaucracy and paperwork in obtaining work permits, harsh weather conditions, economic
loss due to inflation or fluctuation, and slow pace toward decision making processes.
2.3. Factors Affecting EPC Project Success
A study conducted by [
71
] indicates the differences and similarities between Iranian and Nigerian
construction culture regrading causes and effects of delay. This study highlights the effects of strong
communication among parties from both consultant and contractor views and how this affects
construction efficiency. Another study conducted by [
72
] revealed the identification and prioritization
of the key success factors of mass construction projects in Iran. One study [
73
] has identified and
evaluated the factors influencing success of gas, oil, and petrochemical contractors. This study has also
considered the projects of a well-known oil and gas company in Iran and presented a model for the
success of such types of projects.
In another study, project success has been predicted and evaluated by using the indexes of the
business environment and development model. Determination of the importance of the key factors
Buildings 2019,9, 15 6 of 15
influencing project success in oil and gas projects by identifying them has also been carried out by
another researcher [74].
In addition, another study has conducted by [
75
] based on evaluation of key factors of the success
of the project management in the South Pars Project, the largest gas project in Iran. The identification
and evaluation of the key success factors in project-based organizations was performed by [
76
].
There have been other studies regarding the identification of success factors of healthcare projects in
Iran [77].
EPC phases in projects are complex due to transactions involving a series of construction tasks
to complete a specific asset within a certain time. EPC phases are the most critical phases of
the construction projects, which are related to project success. Some researchers have identified
three aspects of project success in EPC phases of projects; execution process, the project value,
and client satisfaction. Another researcher has emphasized on the importance of time, cost, quality,
and satisfaction of customers in EPC phases [
78
]. Generally, the success of complex construction
projects is strongly related to their lifecycle performance and the performance of each EPC phase
can be attributed to the triangle of time, cost, and quality [
79
]. Several studies have explored the
ways that construction project stakeholders affect the performance of the project. In these studies
the relationship among owners, contractors, consultants, suppliers, and sub-contractors have been
studied [
41
]. Collaborative relationships among construction parties, information sharing and
communication, continual improvement, mutual objectives, dynamic problem solving, equitable
risk allocation, supplier and subcontractor selection criteria, trust, and measuring project outcomes in
EPC phases of construction projects have been considered by other researchers [
80
]. The use of time,
cost, and quality as critical success factors of construction projects for the purpose of construction
project performance evaluation have widely been studied by several researchers [
42
], however, there is
great need to understand these critical success factors with regard to EPC phases of the construction
projects and to identify and prioritize the factors that can affect critical success factors of the project in
the different phases of EPC and affect project performance.
Although there have been several studies investigating construction project management success
factors in Iran, there have been few studies identifying and prioritizing the factors causing poor
performance in residential construction projects. In addition, the evolution of one model for all
construction projects is not reasonable because of dissimilarity in size, nature, and level of complexity
of the projects. Regardless of the valuable research, it should be noted that the accurate identification
and prioritization of factors causing poor performance depends on comprehensive analysis and
investigation of the projects, expert’s judgements, and literature review. Therefore, the identification
and prioritization of the factors causing poor performance of residential projects in Iran has not been
studied specifically, and such research is necessary more than ever.
While all the above studies, to various extents, helped with better understanding the problems
associated with poor efficiency in construction projects, there are some limitations.
1.
Although several studies have highlighted the causes and effects of poor performance in the
construction industry, only a limited number of them have focused on Iran’s construction industry,
especially for residential buildings.
2.
Identification, prioritization, and interaction of factors causing poor construction performance
with regard to engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) in constructing residential
buildings in Iran has been far from the researcher’s attention.
3. There is a significant need for up-to-date data.
This paper identifies and prioritizes the most relevant factors that cause construction project
management poor performance in terms of time, cost, and quality in constructing residential buildings
in Iran.
Buildings 2019,9, 15 7 of 15
3. Theoretical Framework
Some researchers have studied factors that affect construction project poor performance in
Iran’s construction industry, yet there has not been adequate study on identification, categorization,
and prioritization of these factors according to engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC)
phases of the project. EPC includes three steps in each construction project: (1) Engineering (design);
(2) procurement; and (3) construction. Each of these three phases include factors that affect construction
project performance regarding the project triangle (time, cost, and scope).
The formation of a conceptual framework has been illustrated in Figure 1.
Buildings 2019, 9, x FOR PEER REVIEW 7 of 14
prioritization of these factors according to engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) phases
of the project. EPC includes three steps in each construction project: (1) Engineering (design); (2)
procurement; and (3) construction. Each of these three phases include factors that affect construction
project performance regarding the project triangle (time, cost, and scope).
The formation of a conceptual framework has been illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Conceptual diagram for a decision making model.
4. Materials and Methods
Residential buildings in Iran have the greatest number of users among all construction projects
which have been the focus of this research. There were several Iranian entities that participated in
this research, including public construction companies, private construction companies, city councils,
and construction engineering organizations. Therefore, they were selected as a sampling frame in this
research.
The research methodology began with formulating a problem statement and identifying
objectives of the study. The first step of conducting this research was formed based on reviews of
literature to identify main factors that influence poor performance in constructing residential
buildings in Iran’s construction industry. Then, operationalization of established factors into a
questionnaire was carried out. Subsequently, pilot testing of the questionnaire was carried out and
the developed format of the questionnaire was formed. The developed questionnaire included the
factors causing poor performance of residential buildings in Iran with regard to EPC phases of the
project.
4.1. Step 1: Identify Factors
A systematic investigation will identify most of the relevant critical factors in the literature based
on the developed conceptual framework that construction contractors need to implement for EPC
project management and achieve better performance for large-scale construction projects. The list of
factors identified is presented in Table 2. This study draws critical factors from previous studies as
potential critical factors for the project performance for EPC projects.
Table 2. Attributes and Initial Measurement indicators.
Project Phase
Indicator
EPC Project Performance Attributes
Reference
Engineering (X1)
X11
1. Poor design
[33, 38, 45, 46]
X12
2. Poor project planning
X13
3. Poor estimation
X14
4. Design incompletion
Procurement
(X2)
X21
5. Insufficient stakeholder engagement
[56-58, 62]
X22
6. Dispute
X23
7. Reputation loss
X24
8. Long-lead item delivery
Construction
(X3)
X31
9. Poor site supervision
[60, 61, 63, 64, 66, 67,
69]
X32
10. Poor project control
X33
11. Changes in project execution
Figure 1. Conceptual diagram for a decision making model.
4. Materials and Methods
Residential buildings in Iran have the greatest number of users among all construction projects
which have been the focus of this research. There were several Iranian entities that participated in
this research, including public construction companies, private construction companies, city councils,
and construction engineering organizations. Therefore, they were selected as a sampling frame in
this research.
The research methodology began with formulating a problem statement and identifying objectives
of the study. The first step of conducting this research was formed based on reviews of literature
to identify main factors that influence poor performance in constructing residential buildings in
Iran’s construction industry. Then, operationalization of established factors into a questionnaire was
carried out. Subsequently, pilot testing of the questionnaire was carried out and the developed format
of the questionnaire was formed. The developed questionnaire included the factors causing poor
performance of residential buildings in Iran with regard to EPC phases of the project.
4.1. Step 1: Identify Factors
A systematic investigation will identify most of the relevant critical factors in the literature based
on the developed conceptual framework that construction contractors need to implement for EPC
project management and achieve better performance for large-scale construction projects. The list of
factors identified is presented in Table 2. This study draws critical factors from previous studies as
potential critical factors for the project performance for EPC projects.
Buildings 2019,9, 15 8 of 15
Table 2. Attributes and Initial Measurement indicators.
Project Phase Indicator EPC Project Performance Attributes Reference
Engineering (X1) X11 1. Poor design
[33,38,45,46]
X12 2. Poor project planning
X13 3. Poor estimation
X14 4. Design incompletion
Procurement (X2) X21 5. Insufficient stakeholder engagement
[5658,62]
X22 6. Dispute
X23 7. Reputation loss
X24 8. Long-lead item delivery
Construction (X3) X31 9. Poor site supervision
[60,61,63,64,66,67,69]
X32 10. Poor project control
X33 11. Changes in project execution
X34 12. Late delivery of onsite construction materials (late or on time)
X35 13. Poor quality of construction materials
X36 14. Redo of deficient tasks
X37 15. Inadequate or inefficient equipment or machinery
X38 16. Sub-contractor’s poor conditions
X39 17. Skilled workforce
X40 18. Changes in workforce
X41 19. Accidents or incidents
X42 20. Excessive bureaucracy
X43 21. Inclement weather
4.2. Step 2: Collect Data and Evaluate EPC Contractors
Data was collected from local EPC companies accredited by Iran Construction Engineering
Organization to apply to the model developed in Step 1. The questionnaires were then distributed to
relevant parties of Iran’s construction industry. The questionnaire’s structure is based on two parts.
The first part is to attain the respondent’s background and experience in the construction industry,
including qualification, position in the company, years of experience, business activity, and the nature of
the company. The second part was framed based on major causes of poor performance in constructing
residential buildings in Iran’s construction industry.
Data achieved using questionnaires from respondents was gathered and quantitatively analyzed.
A total number of 100 questionnaires (hard and soft copies) was distributed to the all parties involved
in the construction industry in Iran, including clients, consultants, contractors, sub-contractors,
and suppliers, who have been engineers, architects, project managers, engineer assistants, quantity
surveyors, and foremen. The respondents’ working experience ranged from less than three years
to more than 30 years and they had different levels of education from Diploma to PhD. However,
only 40 questionnaires were returned, which constitutes a sum of a 40 percent response rate. EPC
contractors were asked to rate individual questions on a seven-point Likert scale pertinent to their
project performance approaches developed in Table 2.
4.3. Step 3: Develop a Group Decision-Making Model and Data Analysis
A mathematical optimization model based on multi-attribute group decision-making was
developed to combine the factors identified in Step 1 and collected in Step 2 into a composite
decision-making matrix that best represents the range of approaches used in project performance by
EPC contractors in Iran. Multi-attribute group decision-making is an optimization technique which
can address the problem of conflicting conditions [
81
]. The aim of multi-attribute decision-making is to
select the most desirable project management approaches that have the highest degree of performance
for all of the relevant EPC contractors. In multi-attribute decision-making, decision-makers need to
select or rank the alternatives that are associated with commensurate or conflicting attributes. In order
to index the various factors, a multi-attribute decision making technique is required [8183].
In this paper, a non-compensatory approach is introduced for the ranking of project management
approaches in terms of their impact on project performance, using the original TOPSIS, known as
the elimination and choice translating reality method, which is a widely used multi-attribute group
decision-making method [
84
]. This approach provides solutions to performance activities and selection
Buildings 2019,9, 15 9 of 15
problems of transport infrastructure involving multiple conflicting objectives, particularly when
compensation among the criteria is not allowed. By producing a decision matrix and a criteria
sensitivity analysis, TOPSIS can be applied to perform a reasonable strategy selection for a particular
application, including a logical ranking of considered EPC contractors [8186].
TOPSIS is an effective method for analyzing and ranking alternatives and uses the Net
Concordance (NC) value from the best solution and Net Discordance (ND) value from the worst
solution [
85
,
86
]. TOPSIS concurrently takes into account both NC and ND distances to calculate a
Net Concordance Dominance (NCD) value [
87
]. The NCV notion is derived from prospect theory,
which is used to identify the ideal point from which a compromised solution would have the shortest
distance. In this paper, TOPSIS and the notion of NCV is used to develop score values for each project
management approaches in each engineering, procurement, and construction phase to rank the most
critical factors for project performance.
5. Results
Table 3presents the respective Net Concordance Dominance (NCD) value obtained from the
TOPSIS procedure. The table shows that FR2-project planning (NDC = 0.92), FR10-project control in
procurement (NDC = 0.84), and FR1-detailed design (NDC = 0.79) have a greater focus than other
critical factors for project performance based on EPC head contractor’s perspective.
Table 3.
Ranking EPC critical factors on project performance in large-scale residential construction
projects by head contractors.
Indicator ID EPC Performance Related Indicators NC ND NCD RANK
X11 FR1 Poor design 0.82 0.75 0.79 3
X12 FR2 Poor project planning 0.91 0.92 0.92 1
X13 FR3 Poor estimation 0.41 0.32 0.37 20
X14 FR4 Design incompletion 0.54 0.42 0.48 14
X21 FR5 Insufficient stakeholder engagement 0.76 0.54 0.65 6
X22 FR6 Dispute 0.5 0.33 0.42 15
X23 FR7 Reputation loss 0.31 0.44 0.38 18
X24 FR8 Long-lead item delivery 0.6 0.15 0.38 18
X31 FR9 Poor site supervision 0.34 0.75 0.55 11
X32 FR10 Poor project control 0.89 0.78 0.84 2
X33 FR11 Changes in project execution 0.37 0.45 0.41 16
X34 FR12 Late delivery of onsite construction materials 0.5 0.55 0.53 12
X35 FR13 Poor quality of construction materials 0.75 0.82 0.79 3
X36 FR14 Redo of deficient tasks 0.46 0.52 0.49 13
X37 FR15
Inadequate or inefficient equipment or machinery
0.35 0.45 0.4 17
X38 FR16 Sub-contractor’s poor conditions 0.46 0.66 0.56 10
X39 FR17 Skilled workforce 0.55 0.58 0.57 9
X40 FR18 Changes in workforce 0.79 0.35 0.57 8
X41 FR19 Accidents or incidents 0.66 0.89 0.78 5
X42 FR20 Excessive bureaucracy 0.55 0.69 0.62 7
X43 FR21 Inclement weather 0.48 0.24 0.36 21
In addition, the TOPSIS analysis shows that the engineering phase has a pivotal role in project
performance. Table 4shows the ranking and the significance of EPC phases on project performance.
Table 4. Ranking EPC phases and their impact on project performance.
EPC Phase NC ND NCD RANK
Engineering 0.670 0.603 0.636 1
Procurement 0.655 0.550 0.454 3
Construction 0.553 0.403 0.572 2
Buildings 2019,9, 15 10 of 15
Table 4shows that the engineering phase of EPC projects has a leading role in project performance
and on the contrary of the clients’ perspective, construction is more important than procurement phase
in EPC projects for well-performed projects.
6. Discussions
Although several researchers have studied some causes of construction project’s poor performance
in Iran, there is a vital gap in identification, categorization, and prioritization of these factors in
residential construction projects which have been the focus of this study [
88
91
]. The residential
construction projects play a significant economic role regarding the project’s stakeholders and resources
involved in many economies [
92
]. Poor construction performance resulting from poor project planning
and control is among the most critical issues affecting project success [
91
93
]. This paper reports on
a recent study that specifically aims to prioritize head contractors’ EPC activities for better project
performance in a broader project management context. The most substantive outcome of this research
is clear confirmation that head or general contractors believe that developing engineering design
standards is the main critical factor for successful projects. In fact, the engineering phase of large-scale
residential construction projects has achieved the first rank in this study, which emphasizes that design
and planning at the beginning of the projects are crucial [
94
]. Many residential construction projects
in Iran have not been successful due to the poor aforementioned factors [
92
,
94
]. Financial benefits
generally play the most significant role in a project’s initiation in Iran’s construction industry, which is
common among all project’s stakeholders [
95
,
96
]. This issue leads to acceleration in project initiation
without adequate and precise design, estimation, and planning. Therefore, the project success is
transforming into project failure [
90
]. After engineering, construction, and procurement have achieved
second and third ranks, respectively.
Regarding indicators themselves, all participant EPC general contractors in this study also believe
that precise project planning in engineering and project control in construction should be taken to
prevent project failure. Meanwhile, quality of construction materials in the construction phase and
proper and detailed design in the engineering phase have proven to be effective tasks for improving
EPC project performance. To date, such measures have proven ineffective in high-rise building
projects and this is a main concern for engineers, project managers, clients, and other stakeholders [
62
].
Future research should seek to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of engineering standards,
and so guide building development to less hazardous locations and less vulnerable structures.
A further benefit of the results of this paper is that the critical factors for better performance in
EPC projects of different general contractors can be directly compared in project management terms.
Individual builders or developers can benchmark their project management activities against other
comparable contractors. Funding agencies can utilize the values of TOPSIS technique in prioritizing
the allocation of resources to the head contractors.
7. Conclusions
The results from this research will inform clients, planners, engineers, architects, and economists
as they develop more quantitative indicators and standards for project performance, set targets,
and make improvements over time. Clients also can use the TOPSIS indicators developed in this
paper for comparing the contractors in the tender stage to assign the job to the best contractors,
in terms of history of past performance. The TOPSIS technique provides a more realistic form
of modelling for multi-attribute group decision making because it allows for trade-offs between
engineering, procurement, and construction activities. This study has focused on the project triangle
(cost, time, and scope) due to the fact that these factors are more tangible for project’s stakeholders for
the purpose of assessing project success. However, factors such as safety, sustainability, and satisfaction
can also be discussed as project success measures.
Buildings 2019,9, 15 11 of 15
Author Contributions:
K.K. designed and performed the experiments and analysis tools. M.M. formed the
conceptual framework and analyzed the data.
Funding: This research received no external funding
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... These methods aim, in general terms, at obtaining a ranking of the alter-natives of the problem by applying a set of algorithmic/optimization steps. LSGDM methods introduce new features regarding the classical decision methods for GDM in order to meet the new challenges posed by large-scale problems [22], [23]. ...
... Other research line is devoted to study the consistency of the DMs' preferences [22], [52]- [54], since sometimes the information provided by these DMs may be contradictory and lead to unreliable results. ...
... 5) Optimization Models: Due to their flexibility, the use of mathematical programming techniques is also pretty popular among researchers. Therefore, it is usual to find models which rely on optimization models to complete missing information [53], managing individual semantics [49], translating preference structures [15], for weighting determination [52], [54], [57] defining groups [73], in SNA [97], or in consensus models [22], [36], [41]. ...
Article
The society in the digital transformation era demands new decision schemes such as e-democracy or based on social media. Such novel decision schemes require the participation of many experts/decision makers/stakeholders in the decision processes. As a result, large-scale group decision making (LSGDM) has attracted the attention of many researchers in the last decade and many studies have been conducted in order to face the challenges associated with the topic. Therefore, this paper aims at reviewing the most relevant studies about LSGDM, identifying the most profitable research trends and analyzing them from a critical point of view. To do so, the Web of Science database has been consulted by using different searches. From these results a total of 241 contributions were found and a selection process regarding language, type of contribution and actual relation with the studied topic was then carried out. The 87 contributions finally selected for this review have been analyzed from four points of view that have been highly remarked in the topic, such as the preference structure in which decision-makers' opinions are modeled, the group decision rules used to define the decision making process, the techniques applied to verify the quality of these models and their applications to real world problems solving. Afterwards, a critical analysis of the main limitations of the existing proposals is developed. Finally, taking into account these limitations, new research lines for LSGDM are proposed and the main challenges are stressed out.
... Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) is one of the most common contracts in a construction project in which the contractor will carry out all activities from design to construction on behalf of its project owner [1]. Generally, the EPC project includes three main phases: engineering, procurement, and construction, when in practice, all three will run concurrently at some points [3]. Several studies had concluded that the most common factor that leads to project delay and cost overrun was poor design in engineering phase before construction [3][4][5]. ...
... Generally, the EPC project includes three main phases: engineering, procurement, and construction, when in practice, all three will run concurrently at some points [3]. Several studies had concluded that the most common factor that leads to project delay and cost overrun was poor design in engineering phase before construction [3][4][5]. ...
... Defects category is strongly correlated with cost overrun based on multivariate correlation test. This result is similar with [17] and [3][4][5]. This waste can be minimized by quality assurance procedure and control tool such as checklist. ...
... Project management aims to keep the project on track and find the right balance between cost, time, and quality, which, if not appropriately managed, can lead to serious negative consequences and project failure [3]. However, there is ample evidence that the success of many construction projects may be compromised by a variety of unanticipated risks and losses [4,5]. Projects are, indeed, characterized by uncertainty and risk, and they are frequently carried out in a dynamic and complex environment, which may exacerbate the consequences of the risks [6]. ...
... Weakness of the analysis and design team before the start of producing product R 3 Weak knowledge of the project manager R 4 Weak knowledge of the consultant R 5 Weakness of required infrastructure (hardware, network, . . . ) ...
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Successful implementation of construction projects worldwide calls for a set of effective risk management plans in which uncertainties associated with risks and effective response strategies are addressed meticulously. Thus, this study aims to provide an optimization approach with which risk response strategies that maximize the utility function are selected. This selection is by opting for the most appropriate strategies with the highest impact on the project regarding the weight of each risk and budget constraints. Moreover, the risk assessment and response strategy of a construction project in Iran as a case study, based on the global standard of the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) and related literature, is evaluated. To handle the complexity of the proposed model, different state of the art metaheuristic algorithms including the ant lion optimizer (ALO), dragonfly algorithm (DA), grasshopper optimization algorithm (GOA), Harris hawks optimization (HHO), moth-flame optimization algorithm (MFO), multi-verse optimizer (MVO), sine cosine algorithm (SCA), salp swarm algorithm (SSA), whale optimization algorithm (WOA), and grey wolf optimizer (GWO). These algorithms are validated by the exact solver from CPLEX software and compare with each other. One finding from this comparison is the high performance of MFO and HHO algorithms. Based on some sensitivity analyses, an extensive discussion is provided to suggest managerial insights for real-world construction projects.
... Their study verified the effect of schedule and cost through 13 megaprojects. Kabirifar and Mojtahedi [10] studied the most critical factors in EPC project execution by applying the TOPSIS method to a large-scale residential construction project in Iran. In addition, they derived that procurement is the most vital risk factor. ...
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The development of intelligent information technology in the era of the fourth industrial revolution requires the EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) industry to increase productivity through a digital transformation. This study aims to automatically analyze the critical risk clauses in the invitation to bid (ITB) at the bidding stage to strengthen their competitiveness for the EPC contractors. To this end, we developed an automated analysis technology that effectively analyzes a large amount of ITB documents in a short time by applying natural language processing (NLP) and bi-directional long short-term memory (bi-LSTM) algorithms. This study proposes two models. First, the semantic analysis (SA) model is a rule-based approach that applies NLP to extract key risk clauses. Second, the risk level ranking (RLR) model is a train-based approach that ranks the risk impact for each clause by applying bi-LSTM. After developing and training an artificial intelligent (AI)-based ITB analysis model, its performance was evaluated through the actual project data. As a result of validation, the SA model showed an F1 score of 86.4 percent, and the RLR model showed an accuracy of 46.8 percent. The RLR model displayed relatively low performance because the ITB used in the evaluation test included the contract clauses that did not exist in the training dataset. Therefore, this study illustrated that the rule-based approach performed superior to the training-based method. The authors suggest that EPC contractors should apply both the SA and RLR modes in the ITB analysis, as one supplements the other. The two models were embedded in the Engineering Machine-learning Automation Platform (EMAP), a cloud-based platform developed by the authors. Rapid analysis through applying both the rule-based and AI-based automatic ITB analysis technology can contribute to securing timeliness for risk response and supplement possible human mistakes in the bidding stage.
... In construction projects, contractors are obligated to execute projects to fulfil clients' expectations in terms of cost, time, and quality to remain in the competitive construction market [3][4][5][6]. Clients demand their desired project goals, and contractors should perform an appropriate trade-off between these goals [7]. However, failure to recognise the external and internal factors creating the project risks leads to increased errors in managerial decisions, accurate estimation of project time and budget, and proper customisation based on client orders [8]. ...
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To successfully complete a project, selecting the most appropriate construction method and configuration is critical. There are, however, plenty of challenges associated with these complex decision-making processes. Clients require projects with the desired cost, time, and quality, so contractors should trade-off project goals through project configuration. To address this problem, in this study, an integrated FTA-DFMEA approach is proposed that implements the integrated AHP-TOPSIS method to improve construction project configuration. The proposed approach applies quality management techniques and MADM methods concurrently for the first time to improve construction project configuration considering project risks, costs and quality. At first, the Client’s requirements and market feedback are considered to identify potential failures in fulfilling project goals, and an integrated AHP-TOPSIS is used to select the most critical potential failure. Then fault tree analysis is used to indicate minimal paths. An inverse search in the operational model is performed to determine relevant tasks and identify defective project tasks based on WBS. Afterward, failure modes and effect analysis are applied to identify failure modes, and an integrated AHP-TOPSIS is used to rank failure modes and select the most critical one. Then Corrective actions are carried out for failure modes based on their priority, and project configuration is improved. This study considers construction resource suppliers with different policies, delivery lead times, warranty costs, and purchasing costs. Moreover, redundancy allocation and different configuration systems such as series and parallel are taken into account based on the arrangement and precedence of tasks. Finally, a case study of a building construction project is presented to test the viability of the proposed approach. The results indicate that the proposed approach is applicable as a time-efficient and powerful tool in the improvement of construction project configuration, which provides the optimal output by considering various criteria with respect to the client’s requirements and contractor’s obligations. Moreover, the algorithm provides various options for the contractor to improve the implementation of construction projects and better respond to challenges when fulfilling project goals.
... Building Production Management (BPM), according to [3], involves the management of construction processes and resources (human, material, financial and plants) in construction. [4] [5] confirmed that BPM plays a significant role in achieving the projects goals and the survival of construction firms. However, lack of competence in the BPM process results to cost overrun, poor workmanship, poor supervision, project rework, project abandonment and building failure. ...
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The study examined the competencies required by building students for building production management and the barriers to their competency in the practice of building production management in the construction industry. Using a quantitative research method, a total of 302 construction professionals and 35 building programme lecturers completed a set of questionnaires survey. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical tools such as mean score and Mann Whitney test. Study findings identified setting out of different building types, interpretation of architectural drawings and specifications, tendering and contract processes, and construction of various components and effective communication on construction sites as the most significant competencies for building production management practice in the construction industry. However, the study discovered a significant difference in the competencies for building production management practice between construction professionals and building lecturers. Also, the study identified poor institutional and industry collaboration, underfunding of institutions, insufficient equipment and infrastructure for training, and theoretical training rather than practical training as the major barriers to the competency of building production management practice in the construction industry. The study suggested a more vital collaboration between the construction industry with tertiary institutions in needs assessment, funding, provision of infrastructures and involvement in the practical training of students
... This method lacks innovation and does not make use of new developments in design, materials, and construction approaches, and constitutes a potential cause of projects poor performance (Simushi, 2017;Alofi, Kashiwagi and Kashiwagi, 2016;Alzara, et al., 2018). Procurement is more important than the construction phase according to Kabirifar and Mojtahedi (2019). The lengthy procedures and deficiencies in tender documents along with payments delay are risks that are priced by bidders. ...
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has the largest construction market in the gulf region. Nevertheless, the sector faces issues related to inefficiency and ineffectiveness in project delivery. This research aims to explore the impact of current practices across projects lifecycles, and to utilize findings to develop an integrated strategic construction project management framework (ISCPMF) that may pave the way to efficient and effective project implementation. To achieve this objective, the authors have traced the implementation processes of nine projects for data collection. This was based on a deductive approach with preconceived themes. Within-case and cross-case analysis was conducted. The data was complemented by holding three separate focus-group discussions with a total of nineteen participants, and the initial findings were cross-checked with six experts. The deficiencies that surround the pre-construction phase and disconnected activities that are carried out in different timespans represent the first barrier to implement projects successfully. This is coupled with low capacities contractors and non-proactive construction teams that lack a management toolbox to alleviate accumulated issues and control project progress. The unavailability of infrastructure and utilities did not ease construction nor made inspection possible, which led to late occupancy of facilities, waste of resources and failure to deliver the desired benefits effectively. The adoption of ISCPMF will institutionalize and bridge project phases. This may play a vital role in implementing projects efficiently and effectively and building data to benefit future projects. Though the research is limited to higher education facilities, the findings may be generalized to public construction projects.
... They performed a new analysis of the supply risk of large-scale engineering projects. Kabirifar K. et al. [26] used the TOPSIS method to analyze the multi-attribute group decision-making problem in EPC projects. The paper found that engineering design, project planning, and control are important factors that affect project performance. ...
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The main purpose of this paper is to study the influence of game players' behavior preferences on the strategy choice and equilibrium results in the game process of large-scale engineering projects’ extreme disputes. In contrast to the self-interested preference and completely rational assumptions of traditional economics, this paper focuses on the discussion of loss aversion preference and fairness preference against the background of incomplete information about the game subject. Considering the influence of the decision-makers’ multidimensional preferences, this paper establishes a three-party game model for the government, the project construction units, and the public. Furthermore, the equilibrium results of four different types of extreme disputes are deduced using the game method. We deduce the evolutionary paths and equilibrium characteristics and discuss them in combination with actual cases in China in an attempt to provide theoretical support and scientific analysis tools to avoid serious disputes and conflict decision results. Through research, this paper finds that the transformation of prior beliefs, the role of multidimensional preference sets, and a lack of information between the game players in the game process are key to the evolution of project disputes into extreme dispute decisions.
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This study aims at identifying the parameters that govern the environmental costs in oil and gas projects. An initial conceptual model was proposed. Next, the costs of environmental management work packages were estimated, separately and were applied in project control tools (WBS/CBS). Then, an environmental parametric cost model was designed to determine the environmental costs and relevant weighting factors. The suggested model can be considered as an innovative approach to designate the environmental indicators in oil and gas projects. The validity of variables was investigated based on Delphi method. The results indicated that the project environmental management’s weighting factor is 0.87% of total project’s weighting factor.
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Construction projects have been rarely completed at the estimated cost and time as it is forecasted approximately more than fifty percent of projects face significant delay and major cost escalation. Hence, it is of importance to investigate the main schedule and cost performance indicators of Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) projects and address these challenging issue. In spite of the fact that a vast range of studies conducted to identify the Leading Performance Indicators (LPIs), lack of consistency between these Indicators has been a matter of debate among construction practitioners and scholars. Furthermore, since construction phase activities consume the largest portion of the project budget and time, most of the previous studies concentrated solely on the performance of construction phase. As a result, the performance of engineering and procurement phases has received the least attention. Therefore, this study will review numerous existing research documents to collect the identified leading time/cost performance indicators and then prioritize them based on their frequency of occurrence in the literature. To accomplish this objective, over two-hundred peer-reviewed papers from different parts of the world have been studied and a vast range of LPIs in each EPC phase was identified. This study concludes that the principal common cause of delay and cost overrun in both engineering and construction phases is “design change”. Moreover, the schedule and cost performance of procurement phase can be highly affected by “resource shortage” and “price fluctuation” respectively. Although, it is proven that any delay in the project causes cost overrun, the other root causes of cost escalation lie in “poor economic condition”, “poor communication between different stakeholders” and “severe weather condition”. The findings of this review assist construction practitioners to provide required resources properly and help academic researchers to conduct their future studies by presenting an extensive phase-based review of time/cost performance.
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Delays are among the most crucial adversaries to the success and performance of construction projects, making delay analysis and management a critical task for project managers. This task will be highly complicated in large-scale projects such as construction, which usually consist of a complex network of heterogeneous entities in continuous interaction. Traditional approaches and methods for the analysis of delays and their causes have been criticised for their ability to handle complex projects, and for considering the interrelationships between delay causes. Addressing this gap, this research introduces an alternative approach for delay causes analysis by adopting Semantic Network Analysis (SNA) method. The paper reports the results from an investigation of delays in construction projects in the Oil-Gas-Petrochemical sector using SNA. The method’s capacity to identify and rank delay causes, which can assist managers in selecting appropriate measures for eliminating them, are empirically examined and discussed. The paper argues that SNA leads to a more comprehensive understanding of the main causes of delay in large and complex projects, allowing a better identification and mapping of the interrelationships between these discrete factors.
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The implementation of lean principles and approaches is gaining grounds in the construction industry globally. However, there is no clear understanding of the number and categories of lean practices implemented and the benefits associated with it in the planning, design and construction of building and infrastructure projects. This paper relied on a systematic review of published literature in Scopus, Science Direct and Google Scholar to identify and categorize the different lean practices implemented in the construction industry and the benefits derivable from them. Totally, 102 documents published between 1996 and 2018 were reviewed and their contents analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. A total of 32 different lean practices categorised into design and engineering; planning and control; construction and site management; and health and safety management were identified. The review also found that the last planner system and just-in-time were the top two most implemented lean practices and about 20 different economic, social and environmental benefits were linked to the implementation of lean practices in the construction industry. This review is instructive that lean practices have good prospects for enhancing the productivity of the construction industry and achieving sustainable built environment, but a critical mass uptake and sustained implementation are required to attain these goals.
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The most significant unanticipated costs on many construction projects are the financial impacts associated with delay and disruption to the works. Assessing these, and establishing a causal link from each delay event to its effect, contractual liability and the damages experienced as a direct result of each event, can be difficult and complex. This book is a practical guide to the process of delay analysis and includes an in-depth review of the primary methods of delay analysis, together with the assumptions that underlie the precise calculations required in any quantitative delay analysis. The techniques discussed can be used on projects of any size, under all forms of construction contract, both domestic and international. The authors discuss not only delay analysis techniques, but also their appropriateness under given circumstances, demonstrating how combined approaches may be applied where necessary. They also consider problematic issues including 'who owns the float', concurrent delay, early completion programmes, and disruption. The book, which is well illustrated, features practical worked examples and case studies demonstrating the techniques commonly used by experienced practitioners. This is an invaluable resource to contractors, architects, engineers, surveyors, programmers and delay analysts, and will also be of interest to clients' professional advisors managing extension of time or delay claims, as well as construction lawyers who require a better understanding of the underlying assumptions on which many quantitative delay analyses are based.
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During the past several decades, the manufacturing and service industries significantly increased their levels of productivity, quality, and profitability through the application of process improvement techniques and information technology. Unfortunately, the construction industry lags far behind in the application of performance improvement and optimization techniques, as well as its overall competitiveness. Written by Lincoln H. Forbes and Syed M. Ahmed, both highly regarded for leadership and innovation, Modern Construction: Lean Project Delivery and Integrated Practices offers cutting-edge lean tools and other productive strategies for the management of people and processes in the construction industry. Drs. Forbes and Ahmed focus mainly on lean construction methodologies, such as The Last Planner(R) System, The Lean Project Delivery System (TM), and Integrated Project Delivery(TM). The tools and strategies offered draw on the success of the world-renowned Toyota Production System (TPS) adapted to the construction environment by construction professionals and researchers involved in developing and advocating lean construction methods. The book also discusses why true lean construction can best occur when all the construction stakeholders, owners, designers, constructors, and material suppliers are committed to the concept of optimizing the flow of activities holistically while de-emphasizing their self-interest. The authors also reintroduce process improvement approaches such as TQM and Six Sigma as a foundation for the adoption of lean methodologies, and demonstrate how these methods can improve projects in a so-called traditional environment. The book integrates these methods with emerging interest in "green construction" and the use of information technology and Building Information Modeling (BIM), while recognizing the human element in relation to motivation, safety, and environmental stresses. Written specifically for professionals in an industry that desperately needs to play catch up, the book delineates cutting-edge approaches with the benefit of successful cases and explains how their deployment can improve construction performance and competitiveness.