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Assessing the competencies of construction supervisors in providing work-based training components for construction labour – Sri Lankan perspective

Kesavan Manoharan (Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and Department of Construction Technology, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka)
Pujitha Dissanayake (Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
Chintha Pathirana (Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
M.M.D.R. Deegahawature (Department of Industrial Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka)
Renuka Silva (Centre for Quality Assurance, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 8 December 2022

21

Abstract

Purpose

Studies highlight that poor labour supervision and inadequate labour training facilities are the primary factors that result in labour skill shortages and productivity-related challenges among construction firms. This study aims to assess the construction supervisors’ abilities in providing work-based training elements and evaluating labour skills in construction.

Design/methodology/approach

A construction supervisory training programme was newly designed with a set of labour training exercises using comprehensive approaches. A total of 64 construction supervisors were trained to deliver the labour training components for more than 250 labourers working on 23 construction projects in Sri Lanka. The supervisors’ competencies were assessed using a detailed marking guide developed through expert discussions and literature reviews.

Findings

The results show the detailed cross-section of a wide range of competencies of the construction supervisors in providing labour training elements with the levels of standards/descriptions. The generalisability of the study applications and the reliability of the results were ensured using statistical tests and expert reviews. The findings further describe the impacts of the well-improved competencies of construction supervisors on labour working patterns and work outputs.

Research limitations/implications

Though the study findings were limited to the Sri Lankan construction sector, the study applications can have a considerable impact on the current/future practices of the construction sector in developing countries as well as other developing industries.

Social implications

The study outcomes may contribute to a rapid increase in the number of construction supervisors becoming certified assessors of National Vocational Qualifications up to certain levels. This paper describes the further extensive implications and future scopes of the study elaborately.

Originality/value

The study adds new characteristics and values to construction supervision practices that can be remarkable in achieving higher levels of performance and productivity in labour operations. Importantly, the study contributes to adorning the job role of construction supervisors with the title of “labour training expert”.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the construction professionals who actively participated in the discussion sessions, workshops and reviews conducted for this study. The authors also acknowledge the labourers, construction supervisors and CMT members who were directly involved in the work-based training components in the selected projects. In addition, the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka, Construction Industry Development Authority, University of Peradeniya and Wayamba University of Sri Lanka are also acknowledged for providing valuable support to this study.

Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

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

Citation

Manoharan, K., Dissanayake, P., Pathirana, C., Deegahawature, M.M.D.R. and Silva, R. (2022), "Assessing the competencies of construction supervisors in providing work-based training components for construction labour – Sri Lankan perspective", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-07-2022-0343

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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