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The Impact of Poor Planning and Management on the
Duration of Construction Projects: A Review
Farah Jawdat Ibrahim Khalid
The construction business is a noteworthy player in the economic sectors, creating
both, wealth and employment. However numerous ventures encounter broad delays
and time overruns leading to as surpass in starting time and cost estimations. Despite
the fact that project management has demonstrated its accomplishment in construction
as a procurement strategy, there are issues related with the way in which the projects
have been planned or managed that have prompted venture postponements, cost
overruns and delays with low client fulfillment. The aim of this paper is to review the
impact of poor planning and management on the duration of construction projects.
This research is based on a descriptive methodology, in which the researcher tends to
review previous studies and literature that will help in identifying the relationship
between the poor planning and management of project and the occurrence of delays in
the construction projects. Literatures analysis discloses that poor project planning and
management is cited by several researchers as a delay factor in the construction
projects. The researcher concludes that poor planning and management of the
construction projects may lead to several negative effects on the duration and
completion of projects. Construction delays and duration issues are frequently
responsible of transforming productive ventures into loosing projects. These delays
can be reduced or prevented by an increased pre- project planning and successful
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project management as they are one of the most critical success factors of the
construction project accomplishment.
The construction sector consists of a range of activities related to buildings
and engineering constructions of all types, as well as maintenance, planning and
management. This sector is closely related to various other economic sectors, making
it an important and reliable indicator of the movement and trends of the national
economy (Sweis, Sweis, Hammad, & Shboul, 2008). However, there are many risks
that are encountering construction projects and threatening its operations. These risks
are caused mainly by poor planning and management that affect the progress of the
project and result in delayed delivery or increased cost, and sometimes poor
construction quality (Gajewska, & Ropel, 2011).
A construction project is normally recognized to be successful when it is
finished within its budget, on its planning time and according to its standards and
specifications Olawale and Sun (2012); (Frimpong, et al. (2003); Majid (2006). In the
development and construction business, contractual workers and engineers have a
tendency to limit the duration of their ventures and amplify their profit to increase
their construction market share and to provide this sector with successful progression
and development. To accomplish this tendency, it is vital for project managers to
deliberately recognize the schedules and plans of a project and measure their effects
before the implementation stage (Gunduz, Nielsen, & Ozdemir, 2013).
Construction projects are of a special nature and characterized by their long
period of time, which may lead to variations in conditions and possibilities. The long
duration of the projects and their multi-stage processes starting from the preparing and
beginning of the project to implementation and final delivery of it; lead to several
conditions, possibilities, uncertainties and the possibility of falling into the risk of
extending the duration of the project or incurred financial or other losses, which
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adversely affect the operation of the project and the economics of construction
(Gajewska, & Ropel, 2011). In spite of the similarity of construction projects in terms
of nature and purpose, the variation in their operating place or any other variable can
change the preparation process of project and the way to manage it. So, this requires a
good management and planning of the project in a way that avoids falling into
constructing and planning risks and guarantees success and achievement of its
objectives (Falqi, 2004).
Those projects may vary in duration, size, environment, complexity,
objectives, conditions, organization structures, deadlines, financial intensity,
uncertainty, and other different dimensions Keung and Shen (2012); Zou et al.
(2007). However, in a construction project where time really worth money, time
planning and management is vital (Duran, 2006). The delay in construction projects,
which means the non-completion and achievement of the project inside the predefined
construction contract's duration, is considered to be a standout amongst the most
repeating issues in the construction business (Mahamid et al. 2012). As indicated by
Duran (2006), the industry and business of construction has an awful notoriety for
familiarizing with delays and postpones. Postpone examination is either disregarded
or done subjectively by only including a contingency. Therefore, numerous
construction projects fail to meet the planning timetable's due dates (Duran, 2006).
One of the interested examples among many other countless examples is Indonesia, in
which Trigunarsyah (2004) recognized that 47% of the construction ventures were
finished within its timetable, only 15% of construction project were in front of the
timetable, and 38% were behind it which is a large percentage that requires to be
taken into account.
Indonesia is not the only country facing this delay and the postponement of the
construction project. On the contrary, most of the world's countries , specifically
developing countries face this specified problem in their construction sectors and it
becomes a common issue for the construction industry, which are primarily caused by
poor pre-construction planning and mismanagement of the project at its various stages
(Duran, 2006). Therefore, this research paper represents an investigation attempt to
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shed light on and review some of the prominent researches and literature that studied
the relationship between poor management and planning of the project and the delays
that result from it, as the construction delays has become a common bad phenomenon
associated with this sector.
1.1 Problem Statement and Study objectives:
Delays in construction ventures are common in the developing countries as well as
developed countries' industry (Falqi, 2004). Construction delays and duration issues
are frequently responsible of transforming productive ventures into loosing projects.
These delays can be reduced or prevented by an increased pre- project planning and
successful project management as they are one of the most critical success factors of
the construction project accomplishment (Yang et al., 2012). Construction projects'
managers ought to deliberately evaluate the likelihood of postponements and delays to
secure project achievement. Foreseeing and predicting the likelihood of
postponements and project preplanning play a crucial role towards the success and
achievement of project within its planned timeframe and budget (Kim et al., 2009).
Hence, this paper tends to explore and review "the impact of poor planning and
management on the duration of construction projects", which is achieved through
the following subdivided objectives:
1) To identify project planning and management process definitions.
2) To clarify construction projects situation in developing countries.
3) To identify delays, its types and responsibilities.
4) To review the relation between the project planning and management and the
duration of the projects.
Research methodology can be defined as a subject that deals with how research or
study is carried out in a scientific way. The importance of research methodologies lies
in its ability to highlight and give essential training in the arrangement and collection
of material in a way that can be recognized in an easy way (Saunders, 2011). This
research is based on a descriptive methodology, in which the researcher tends to
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review previous studies and literature that will help in identifying the relationship
between the poor planning and management of project and the occurrence of delays in
the construction projects. Primary data will be collected from the literature, related
studies, cases and investigations which will help in identifying the impact of poor
planning and management on the duration of construction projects.
2. Literature Review:
Project Management Institute defines a project as a temporary activity that is
initiated to create a unique product, service or outcome that has a specific beginning
and end, and is reached when the project objectives are achieved or when the project
is terminated because its objectives cannot be achieved or when the need arises for
this project no longer exists. The term "temporary" does not necessarily mean
shortening the time period, nor does it generally apply to the service or product
produced by the project, since most projects have a result that is expected to continue
and last, for example: the project which includes the construction of a monument, will
produce a result that is expected to last for centuries. Also, the projects may have
social, economic or environmental impacts that are greater than the projects
themselves in continuity (Snyder, 2014).
The construction project, as defined by Gould and Joyce (2009), is an idea that is
defined by the owner and then developed by the designers and then produced by the
contractor, where the contractor returns it to the owner after implementation have
accomplished as required. This project requires many processes in order to be
successful such as, managing, planning, controlling, monitoring and many other
processes. The project management and planning process is an important process and
the negligence of it leads to many problems in the construction project, including
economic or time duration problems (Lester, 2006).
A literature investigation uncovers that poor venture planning and management is
cited by numerous researchers as a delay factor in the construction ventures (Hoseini,
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2015). Project planning and management have a wide range of aspects and this review
just addresses time aspect of this process; hence it would be important to clarify the
project planning and management process precisely.
Concept of Project Planning and Management
Project is characterized as succession of tasks and activities that have certain
targets with specific standards, recognized beginning and complete dates, budgetary
constraints, requires nonhuman and human assets and include different functions
(Kerzner, 2009). The essential challenge of venture management and administration is
to accomplish venture targets considering its constraints and limitations (Zidane,
2012). This requires applying skills, techniques, tools, knowledge to project tasks in
order to achieve project prerequisites (PMI, 2013, Westland, 2007). As indicated by
(PMI, 2013), project management includes:
1) Identifying of the Project requirements.
2) Addressing project stakeholder desires.
3) Correspondence administration between the partners.
4) Adjusting venture imperatives.
Project management must combine the following three components in order to
achieve those previous mentioned requirements (Westland, 2007):
1) Skills: experience and skills in order to minimize the risks within the
venture and in the same manner increase the probability of its success.
2) Processes: several techniques and process including ; cost management,
time management , risk management , quality management and other
processes that are required in order to control and monitor cost , time
,scope and quality of projects.
3) Tools: such as; financial software, planning software, review and audit
forms that are used by mangers in order to increase project success
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Figure (1): Project management components (Westland, 2007)
According to (PMI, 2013), "project time management is the processes required
to manage timely completion of the project". Indeed, time management is a process
that records and controls time spent to finish each activity (PMI, 2013).
It is impossible to satisfy the venture management necessities and apply its
parts without planning for the project (Zwikael et al., 2014). Indeed, project planning
is a proposition of how to do all the venture administration activities and tasks to
accomplish the project objectives. The essential function of time project management
is to serve the venture manager as a guide to demonstrate the path from venture
begins date to its complete date (Mantel, 2001). Without having the guide, venture
manager cannot achieve the project tasks which result in failure in achieving
objectives of venture (Mantel, 2001).
Several investigators identify list of the things and steps that must be followed
in order to have a good plan for the project. However, PMI introduces project
planning process as following steps: create project management plan, Gather
requirements, Describe scope, Make Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Express
activities, order activities, Evaluate activity resources, Evaluate activity duration,
create schedule, evaluate costs, Decide budget, Plan quality, create human resources
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plan, communication plan, Risk management Plan, clarify risks, Perform quantitative
and qualitative risk analysis, Plan risk Reponses and finally Plan procurement (PMI,
Project planning activities continue for the whole duration of the construction
phases. Those planning periods are described as in the following (Hoseini, 2015):
1) Initiation planning: The initiation planning process frequently incorporates
initial scope description and budget preparation from the proprietor
association's point of view (Lines et al., 2015)
2) Preconstruction planning: After the project budgetary and scope
clarification, the project move into the detailed planning phase. This
preconstruction period may include the design phase, the planning phase,
and the award phase (Lines et al., 2015).
3) Construction execution planning: planning may happen amid the execution
stage, which comprises of all exercises past activation and completion of
preconstruction planning (Lines et al., 2015).
Project schedule is the output of venture time management and planning
process (PMI, 2013, Lines et al., 2015). This schedule enables the venture
administrator to control the measure of time spent by every action inside the project
(Westland, 2007). As specified previously, venture planning is a wide-ranging term
and comprises diverse perspectives. The Following figure demonstrates venture
planning is limited to project time management and the result of it is project schedule.
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Figure (2): project planning and management concept (Lines et al., 2015)
Construction Projects Situation in Developing Countries
Long et al (2004) state that performance of construction projects in developing
countries is influenced by many factors that results in project delays, poor quality,
safety issues and cost over runs. Problems in construction projects are evident across
the globe. However, there is a need to focus on factors based on geographical,
regional and country. Various factors that influence project performance are same in
different countries, but few are different in developing countries including
incompetent contractors or designers, poor quality of change management, social
constraints, challenges due to technological advancements, site specific issues, lack of
advanced tools and techniques, poor planning and estimation of project. All such
factors influence the performance of construction projects in developing countries and
results in delays. Frimpong, Oluwoye and Crawford (2003) state that cost over runs
and delays are very common in building projects. Developing countries have no
exception rather they have to face even greater number of problems causing delays
and cost overrun than developed countries. Different factors cause delays in
construction such as poor construction management skills of contractors, lack of
technical performance, increased material prices, and procurement of material and
disbursement difficulties from agencies. All these factors need to be identified
properly in projects and then proper planning and management is required to cope
with the challenges. Developing countries can overcome these problems by improving
their project planning, improving monitoring measures, establishing controls and
proper knowledge about the construction project management techniques and their
implementation. If managed properly, cost and delay problems can be controlled.
According to Enshassi, Mohamed and Abushaban (2009), construction
projects have to face many complex issues and problems due to the impact of certain
factors. The most important factors influencing the performance of construction
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projects in developing countries are lack of resources required for construction,
hindrances at borders or due to roads closures thus resulting in material shortage, lack
of leadership skills, appreciation of material prices, lack of qualified and experienced
personnel and poor quality of construction material and equipment. All these factors
influence the performance of project resulting in delays, claims and disputes.
Construction project managers can control delays and cost overruns by
focusing on these factors. Sambasivan and Soon (2007) stated that delay of
construction projects is a global phenomenon and the construction inductor in
developing countries is no exception. Delays in construction projects are caused by
improper planning of contractors, inadequate experience, poor site management,
inadequate finance, delayed payments, conflicts with subcontractors, lack of material,
lack of equipment, and communication gap between parties and errors in construction
methods. Such factors results in disputes, cost overrun, delays, litigation, arbitration
and total abandonment.
Delays, Its Types and Responsibilities
Delay in construction projects is defined as the time difference between the
date of termination of the project listed or specified in the contract and the actual date
of completion of the project (Falqi, 2004), or the time difference between the planned
time and the actual time of project activities (González et al., 2008). The delay in the
construction projects is also defined as the time beyond the completion date specified
in the contract or beyond the date agreed upon by the parties to hand over the project
whether or not the owner is allowed to extend the time or is subjected to a fine or
penalty or not (Al-Ghafly, 1995), and the delay was defined as something unexpected
and non-existent Planned occurred that cause a delay in the project schedule (Trauner,
2009). In another definition of Stumpf (2000), the delay is an act or event that results
in an extension of the time required to perform a specific task required by contract or
contract frame, where the delay appears in the form of additional days or late onset of
subsequent activity, which may or may not include changes in the scope of the
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Several studies and researchers like (Alaghabri et al., 2007); (Vidalis and
Najafi, 2002) have classified the delays faced by construction projects into several
major types, which are: Concurrent delay, Critical delay, Compensable delay, and
Excusable delay. Figure 3 represents the sequential relationships between those
different groups of delays (Vidalis and Najafi, 2002).
Figure (3): the sequential relationships between different groups of delays (Vidalis and
The project process is affected internally or externally by those previous types
of delays. The external causes of delay are due to outside construction project's
factors such as utilities, subcontractors, governments, labor unions, suppliers, nature,
etc. however, the internal causes of delays are resulted from the contractors ,
designers , owner and consultants (Vidalis and Najafi, 2002) .
The responsibilities of delay categorized by (Vidalis and Najafi, 2002) as following:
Neither party responsible: The cause of this delay is neither of the project's
parties, and occurs for reasons beyond the control of the parties to the
contract, or the so-called "acts of God". In this case, the contractor obtains an
extension of the period of execution as the owner deems appropriate and does
not receive compensation for the collateral damages. Also he shall not be
liable to pay fines or penal conditions.
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Owner responsible: this delay caused by the owner or one of his agents and
representatives, and here the contractor is entitled to claim compensation for
material damage suffered as well as the extension of the implementation time.
Contractor or subcontractor responsible: it is considered as a breach of the
contract by the Contractor. In this case, the Contractor shall not be entitled to
extend the period of implementation of the Project nor to receive
compensation. Also, the Owner shall also be entitled to impose delay
penalties on the contractor and deduct it from his dues.
Both parties are responsible: in this case the contractor gets additional time to
complete the work, but does not receive compensation and does not pay any
penalty or fines.
Furthermore, (Doloi et al., 2012) examined the critical key factors that cause the
delays in construction project, where they mentioned that the most critical ones are :
1. Absence of commitment .
2. Inadequate site management.
3. Weak and inadequate site management.
4. Unsuitable planning.
5. Absence of clearness in project scope.
6. Lack of communication.
And all of those previous causes are related to the improper and inappropriate
management and planning for the project, which its relation and impact will be
identified clearly in the following.
The Impact of Poor Planning and Management on the Duration of
Several researchers and investigators identified causes of construction delays
based on the country in which they develop their study. One of the most common
delay factors that were mentioned by several researchers was "poor project planning
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and management". This factor was cited by several authors indicated in the following
table (Hoseini, 2015):
Table (1): poor project management and planning as common delay factor in
Common delay and time overrun factor
Poor project management and planning
(Khoshgoftar et al., 2010), (Al-Kharashi
and Skitmore, 2009), (Faridi and El-
Sayegh, 2006), (Assaf and Al-Hejji,
2006), (Sweis et al., 2008), (Pourrostam
and Ismail, 2011), (Akogbe et al., 2013),
(Marzouk and El-Rasas, 2014), (Muya et
al., 2013) , (Toor and Ogunlana, 2008),
(Sambasivan and Soon, 2007)
Considering those previous mentioned researches , poor planning and
management was mentioned in their works as general term of delay and time overrun
, including : resource planning ,time planning, financial planning, equipment and site
management , etc. (Hoseini, 2015).
The advantages of pre-project planning incorporate expanded benefit, higher
quality and decreased hazard (González et al. 2008). The efforts used up in this early
venture stage influence the level of progress amid start-up and in the detailed outline
and development stages (Yang and Wei 2010). This finding is upheld by Thomas and
Ellis (2007), who utilized straightforward pre-project planning and management
techniques to diminish introductory construction duration by 30%. Hanna and
Skiffington (2010) contended that expanded construction management and arranging
enables the contractual worker to be more proactive than responsive with respect to
basic factors that influence a venture. As per Gibson et al. (2006), the beneficial
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outcomes of reasonable planning for expense and time before configuration, and also
amid the construction stage, are enhanced project result, more noteworthy client
fulfillment, and decreased venture duration and cost. Consequently, distinguishing
and testing for huge contrasts in the effects of the vital success factors on cost,
quality, and time are essential in managing these elements in pre-project arranging as
an approach to secure the best outcome of the venture.
As indicated by Dvir et al. (2003), there is a solid relationship between fruitful
project planning and management and the achievement of a venture from the point of
view of venture partners. These researchers likewise demonstrated that reasonable
definitions of useful and specialized details in venture planning can prompt more
viable execution of tasks. They additionally found a solid relationship between
effective usage of planning systems and advantages to construction project partners.
Such discoveries are affirmed in a later report which demonstrated that venture
success can be estimated in perspective of the quality of the project planning and
management; though poor management and planning implies uncontrolled changes in
the arranging factors of quality, time and cost (Dvir and Lechler, 2004). Zwikael
(2009) contended that numerous construction ventures will probably be liable to the
danger of poor project arranging when contrasted with ventures in non-construction
areas. Zwikael evaluated the significance and impact of project planning in
construction projects and found that the degree of utilization of proper venture
planning by venture managers and other project partners was not at the ideal level of
project prerequisites. He promote contended that a solid attention ought to be set on
characterizing the venture scope, venture exercises and expenses. With respect to
planning, the improvement of a good venture schedule is imperative to a
comprehension of project execution and control. Good scheduling demonstrates a
guide and map for venture chiefs, schedulers and planners in observing and following
basic milestones and activities amid the progress of venture (Baldwin and Bordoli,
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The reason for construction project planning and management is to organize, plan,
coordinate, monitor and control the utilization of project goals in the best way as
indicated by project partners' needs. It includes numerous processes and sub-processes
and incorporates the identifying of venture scope, duties and responsibilities of the
project workers, cost evaluating, venture stakeholder management, and additionally
the use of arranging and control strategies and instruments. These require learning of
the essentials of project management keeping in mind the end goal to create fruitful
project schedules and plans, which are vital for the conveyance of the venture to time,
quality and cost destinations. Where there is an absence of knowledge, the application
of venture planning and management ideas will bring about fragmented and
incomplete venture plans or poor planning and, henceforth, loss of project's execution
efficiency and performance.
Due to this review of several researches and literature, the researcher can conclude
that poor planning and management of the construction projects may lead to several
negative effects on the duration and completion of projects. Construction delays and
duration issues are frequently responsible of transforming productive ventures into
loosing projects. These delays can be reduced or prevented by an increased pre-
project planning and successful project management as they are one of the most
critical success factors of the construction project accomplishment
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