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Improving efficiency in roading projects: a New Zealand study

Saeed Haji Karimian (Department of Construction, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand)
Jasper Mbachu (Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Temitope Egbelakin (Department of Construction, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand)
Wajiha Shahzad (Department of Construction, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 28 February 2019

Issue publication date: 30 May 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the key productivity constraints faced by New Zealand (NZ) road pavement maintenance and rehabilitation contractors (RPMRCs) and the associated mitigation measures.


Interview-based exploratory research strategy was used to survey senior managers and directors of medium- to large-sized road contracting firms in NZ. Empirical data were analyzed using the multi-attribute analytical technique.


Results revealed 70 productivity constraints faced by the RPMRCs in NZ; in diminishing order of influence, these constraints were aggregated into eight broad categories as follows: finance, workforce, technology/process, statutory/regulatory compliance, project characteristics, project management/project team characteristics, unforeseen circumstances and other/external factors. The most important constraints in each of the eight broad categories were presented.

Research limitations/implications

The key limitation of the research is that it was based on feedback from a limited number of participants which were less than the minimum required to represent the views of the potential participants in the sampling frame for the study. As a result, the findings may not be reliably generalized beyond the scope of the data used. Further research on the subject is recommended to ensure that the representation of the views of the individuals and companies that comprised the sampling frame is achieved. The current findings could be formulated as propositions or hypotheses to be tested in future confirmatory research.

Practical implications

At the industry level, the findings could provide the basis for the skill development programs of the NZ RPMRCs. The application of the research findings by the RPMRCs and consultants could result in significant improvement in the productivity of the NZ roading sector and the sector’s enhanced contribution to the economy.


Currently, there is little research on the priority constraints to productivity and performance in the NZ roading sector. The findings contribute to knowledge by revealing critical factors constraining productivity performance of the NZ RMRCs and the associated improvement measures. New and more enriching viewpoints were provided on how contractors could leverage their limited resources to address the identified key constraints.



Haji Karimian, S., Mbachu, J., Egbelakin, T. and Shahzad, W. (2019), "Improving efficiency in roading projects: a New Zealand study", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 827-849.



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