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An empirical study on non-physical waste factors in the construction industry

Charles Igwe (BCEE, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Fuzhan Nasiri (BCEE, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Amin Hammad (Computer Information Systems, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 13 September 2021

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022




This study highlights the findings of an empirical study to investigate waste factors (WFs) affecting the performance and delivery of construction projects in developing countries. The objectives of this study are to identify non-physical WFs in developing nations and rank the identified factors based on their degree of influence on the key performance indicators (KPIs) of cost, quality and time.


In total, 34 WFs were identified through a detailed literature review and consolidated using semi-structured interviews with construction practitioners. The statistical analysis involved a normality test using the Shapiro–Wilk test to determine if sample data have been drawn from a normally distributed population, ranking the WFs using the Frequency Index (FI), Severity Index (SI) and Importance Index (IMPI), ranking the WFs based on their effect on the project KPIs of cost, quality and time, and identify clustering structures for the identified WFs to using factor analysis (FA).


The results revealed ineffective planning and scheduling, rework/repair of defective work and resource quality problems (human, material and equipment) as the three most important WFs affecting construction projects. The factor analyses showed that WFs can be grouped into five interrelated components, suggesting the need for integrated and holistic strategies to overcome the identified WF.

Practical implications

Understanding the effects of WFs on construction projects is a first step towards designing holistic solutions to ensuring projects deliver value to the clients and other stakeholders. The findings of this study provide direction to construction practitioners on where to focus appropriate strategies to manage the identified WFs effectively and, therefore, improve the productivity of construction projects.


This study provides the first holistic analysis of WFs affecting the productivity of construction projects in developing countries.



The survey participants are much appreciated for their time and contribution. The authors also wish to thank the reviewers for their time and constructive feedback.

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability statement: All data used that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


Igwe, C., Nasiri, F. and Hammad, A. (2022), "An empirical study on non-physical waste factors in the construction industry", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 29 No. 10, pp. 4088-4106.



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