Contractors blamed for delays on complex projects

Many complex construction projects are likely to be finished more than six months late, due to poor time control, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Building. Over 70 responses provided data on more than 2000 projects. The research examined the construction industry’s methods to manage time on projects, in particular the techniques and the competence of those engaged in the process. Those responding to the survey felt that the design team is rarely consulted by the contractor about a time-management strategy. They also expressed concern that the more complex a project is the less likely it is to be completed on time, with a high proportion likely to be completed more than six months late. The research found that the type of construction contract and procurement method has no discernable effect on the incidence of delayed completion and that the contractor is usually held to be predominantly at fault for delayed completion. Respondents also indicated that records of resources used and work performed are usually inadequate for effective time control and that very few projects are currently managed by reference to modern methods of time control. Delayed progress is not often notified promptly or widely. The consensus was that improved facilities for the education, training and accreditation of planning engineers and project schedulers are needed. Keith Pickavance, senior vice president of CIOB, says, ‘In the last 10 years we have seen massive developments in hardware, software and communications that have made it virtually impossible to efficiently conduct any business without the use of computers and electronic services. The construction industry uses those facilities intensively in many areas. It uses them in virtually every field other than time management, which currently does not use the available technology effectively. ‘The growth in training, education and skill levels within the industry in the use of time-management techniques has not kept pace with the technology available. This should be of concern to many companies, as there is a trend towards developing contracts which are increasingly punitive if not executed efficiently. ‘It should be recognised that the industry manages many projects very well indeed, and the UK construction industry is regarded around the world as a leading force, but we have to accept that respondents in this survey regarded the quality of time management on construction projects as generally poor.’ A copy of the report is available at the address below.
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