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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 June 2022

Paige M. Hulls, Frank de Vocht, Richard M. Martin and Rebecca M. Langford

Around 400,000 working days per year are lost in the construction industry due to stress, depression or anxiety, but a large proportion of the industry – those primarily…

Abstract

Purpose

Around 400,000 working days per year are lost in the construction industry due to stress, depression or anxiety, but a large proportion of the industry – those primarily not based “on-site” – is not included in these statistics. Little research has been conducted in this group about their experiences of occupational stress. The authors explored how stress was experienced and managed by construction professionals and its perceived impact on health.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors interviewed 32 construction professionals in a British construction company, with varying levels of seniority and years in the industry. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed thematically.

Findings

Stress was viewed an inevitable and increasing part of the construction industry, exacerbated by recent economic challenges. Participants talked about a culture of stress and overwork but often felt unable to challenge it due to job insecurity. Senior management acknowledged stress was a problem within the industry and something that potentially threatened company productivity. Company-wide initiatives had been implemented to address stress levels (e.g. Mental Health First Aiders), but were criticised for ignoring underlying issues. Informal means of managing stress were identified, such as careful consideration of team dynamics, which allowed employees to form close bonds and using “banter” and camaraderie to relieve stress. However, the persistence of a macho male image meant some participants were reluctant to talk about their feelings at work. Participants described individual coping strategies, such as exercise, but these were hard to prioritise in challenging times.

Originality/value

There is growing recognition that health and well-being must be given greater priority in the construction industry. Industry pressures and competitive practices undermine efforts to improve staff well-being. Action must be taken at senior levels to address this conflict, while building on existing informal mechanisms of support and stress relief.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 29 August 2017

Peter J. Edwards, Paul A. Bowen and Keith S. Cattell

In this chapter, the nature and extent of corruption in the construction industry is considered from a worldwide perspective, but particularly in the context of research…

Abstract

In this chapter, the nature and extent of corruption in the construction industry is considered from a worldwide perspective, but particularly in the context of research conducted in South Africa. The definition of corruption is expanded to include conflict of interest and unethical conduct. Corruption in the construction industry is found to be universal and pervasive, occurring in all areas, at all stages, at all levels, and in all forms. A simple triangular model of corruption is replaced by a more complex four-dimensional risk-based model. The challenge for the construction industry, in combating corruption, will essentially require multilateral action in all four dimensions of the enhanced model: eliminating and reducing opportunities where possible; relieving the pressures to commit corrupt acts; rebutting the rationales and arguments used to excuse corruption; and substantially improving and innovating more forensic methods of detection. While the decision to engage in corruption is risk-based, particularly in terms of the capacity to evade detection; in essence corruption is a cultural and moral issue for society.

Details

The Handbook of Business and Corruption
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-445-7

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 February 2022

Hany Omar and Lamine Mahdjoubi

Poor performance remains a challenge for the construction industry worldwide. One of the key performance indicators of the construction industry is the timely delivery of…

Abstract

Purpose

Poor performance remains a challenge for the construction industry worldwide. One of the key performance indicators of the construction industry is the timely delivery of projects. Despite the recent methodological and technological advances in the field, project-overrun remains a significant challenge for the industry. This paper seeks to propose practical solutions that allow overcoming the challenges and promote the opportunities for improving the performance of the construction projects in Dubai.

Design/methodology/approach

This study focussed on the construction projects in Dubai; therefore, this research adopted a sequential mixed approach in two stages. The first stage involved face-to-face interviews with seven carefully selected construction professionals. Their answers were analysed to provide with the literature study “the informed-basis for the development of the online questionnaire”. The second stage involved an online survey administrated to 425 carefully selected construction organisations working in Dubai. Accordingly, a meticulous analysis for the prime causes of project overruns has also been undertaken. This analysis assisted proposing the most suitable solutions-based technologies that enabled alleviating overruns in the construction projects.

Findings

The findings revealed that, there was a consensus agreement on the formidable opportunities for improving the performance of the construction industry in general and in particular in Dubai. These opportunities are intrinsically linked with the adoption of the latest technologies such as building information modelling, augmented reality, virtual reality and the artificial intelligence (AI). Whereas, adopting AI has already assisted two public authorities to release No Objection Certificates and work permits effectively within one day instead of 14 working days, which has saved 90% of the time and cost. Likewise, adoption of the AI has assisted delivering the construction project with a 9% of time saving and a 6% of cost saving due to embracing an automated system that enabled them to instantly detect and report the delays, once occurred.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this study is that the study was limited to the construction industry in the Emirate of Dubai. Therefore, future research could target the whole United Arab Emirates construction industry to propose the practical solution on the country level.

Practical implications

The literature study is replete with solutions, which tend to be theoretical more than practical. Therefore, the proposed practical recommendations will significantly assist the construction industry to improve its suboptimal performance to rescind the sovereignty of the irrelevant involvements. The research recommended establishing independent entity to lead the change in the construction industry; this entity will have the power of enacting rules and legislations. Furthermore, this independent entity will have the power and authority of dictations and impose sanctions on the non-committed organisations that are reluctant to adopt the recommended technologies and approaches.

Originality/value

Based on the findings of the study, this paper draws a road map for the construction industry by determining practical solutions for improvements starting with an establishment of an independent authority that selects and tests the most appropriate technologies and approaches to contribute to performance improvements.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 February 2022

Kai Kang, Xinlai Liu, Yishuo Jiang, Ken, Kam Hang Lee, Sean Ka Wai Wan, George Q. Huang and Ray Y. Zhong

Blockchain as a disruptive technology has revolutionized many industries, such as finance, logistics and manufacturing sectors. This paper aims to explore Blockchain…

Abstract

Purpose

Blockchain as a disruptive technology has revolutionized many industries, such as finance, logistics and manufacturing sectors. This paper aims to explore Blockchain applications in construction to effectively manage project workflows and uplift construction efficiency.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with various stakeholders from a public infrastructure project to analyze Blockchain applications in the construction industry. Eleven key construction workflows are selected to identify and discover the necessity and significance of Blockchain applications in the construction industry. They are related to construction program, daily operations and payment. Based on workflow analysis, several issues are discussed to design a development roadmap of Blockchain in the construction industry.

Findings

The findings show Blockchain can improve construction efficiency, reduce paper-based manual operation and address the fragmentation and communication issue. However, the development of Blockchain in the construction industry is still impeded by some challenges. Traditional work modes might be existing even though Blockchain-enabled systems are introduced, which may increase the workload of construction practitioners. Thus, a feasible and practical development roadmap is proposed to instruct implementation of Blockchain in construction.

Originality/value

This research systematically analyzes the development of Blockchain in the construction industry from several existing workflows, based on a real-life case study. Several considerations are given to provide referential value for applying Blockchain in the construction industry, including opportunities and challenges, cost–benefit analysis, obstacles and possible solutions, as well as development strategies with a prototype system.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 December 2021

Liané van Wyk, Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu and Akintayo Opawole

The South African construction industry appears to be lagging behind other industries in the country in terms of implementation and adoption of innovative technologies…

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Abstract

Purpose

The South African construction industry appears to be lagging behind other industries in the country in terms of implementation and adoption of innovative technologies. Moreover, sufficient empirical data on the adoption of innovative technologies, especially, in developing countries are not readily available. The aim of this study is therefore to assess the adoption and implementation of innovative technologies in the South African construction industry with a view to improving the industry's performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was undertaken using a questionnaire, administered to construction professionals primarily in project management, quantity surveying and architectural firms.

Findings

The key findings show that there are some innovative technologies such as building information modelling, 3-dimensional mapping, drones, 3-dimensional printing and virtual reality that have been deployed. However, limited adoption of innovative technologies within the industry and low levels of knowledge of its benefits among the respondents were reported. This low implementation of innovative technologies was due to critical barriers such as high cost, limited knowledge, time requirement, fear of change, lack of interest, nature of construction processes and lack of team dynamics. Key drivers of innovation were found to include globalization and competition.

Practical implications

The current level of implementation of innovative technologies indicated that they are not yet optimized in the South African construction industry and suggests implications for change, adaptation and growth. The study recommends that firms should consider investing in research and development in order to exploit the potential of innovation for organizations and the industry at large.

Originality/value

The drivers and barriers indicated will help to prioritize the direction of adoption and growth which could help to improve the industry.

Details

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4708

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 September 2021

Lerato Millicent Aghimien, Clinton Ohis Aigbavboa, Chimay J. Anumba and Wellington Didibhuku Thwala

The South African construction industry (SACI) is a huge employer of labour as the industry depends mostly on human resources to carry out its activities. However, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The South African construction industry (SACI) is a huge employer of labour as the industry depends mostly on human resources to carry out its activities. However, the industry has also been noted for its poor workforce management and lack of attention to human resource management (HRM) issues. Therefore, this study aims to assess the challenges facing the effective management of the construction workforce in South Africa with a view to improving HRM activities in the industry and improve overall service delivery through an effectively managed workforce.

Design/methodology/approach

A pragmatic philosophical view using a mixed-method research design was adopted. The study’s qualitative strand was achieved through a Delphi, whilst the quantitative strand was achieved through a questionnaire survey. In addition, descriptive and inferential statistics such as mean item score, Kruskal-Wallis H-test, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were adopted for data analysis.

Findings

With high reliability, construct validity and model fit indices, the study found that for effective HRM to be attained within construction organisations, careful attention must be given to issues surrounding the nature of the industry, unhealthy working environment, employee-related issues, diversity and working condition in the industry.

Originality/value

Whilst several studies have been conducted on HRM, there is a lack of studies on the major challenges facing effective HRM in the SACI. The findings also offer future research studies a good theoretical platform to build upon.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 March 2021

Laith Hadidi and Ahmad Abzakh

Business process reengineering (BPR) is a management improvement tool that entails radical changes to organizations' core processes, culture and legacy systems. Although…

Abstract

Purpose

Business process reengineering (BPR) is a management improvement tool that entails radical changes to organizations' core processes, culture and legacy systems. Although BPR initiatives are favored by many mangers, employees on the other hand, perceive BPR as a potential threat to lose their jobs. This research aims to enhance the employee perception toward BPR implementation in the construction industry as BPR asks for job enlargement (number of different tasks) and enrichment (degree of responsibility) and doesn’t target the workforce downsizing by itself.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is conducted in Saudi Arabia by involving experienced construction industry practitioners in a survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to gain an insightful perception toward BPR constituents. BPR asks for job enlargement (number of different tasks) and enrichment (degree of responsibility). The survey questionnaire is verified from the literature related to BPR and pilot study through experienced construction practitioners. The experts validated the findings.

Findings

The findings of this research reveal a general positive acceptance toward BPR constituents in construction industry. Jobs enrichment and enlargement should be approached: by integrating IT with business functions (especially communication); developing flexible management systems; and encouraging and empowering employees to generate value through their jobs with more delegated authority.

Originality/value

The work is one of the few studies to address the concept of Business Process Reengineering in the construction industry. We explore two research questions as detailed in the submission (BPR perception in the construction industry, and how to have a successful BPR by job enlargement and enrichment. The methods can be extended to other industries and in different parts in the world.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Sevilay Demirkesen and Algan Tezel

The purpose of this study is to explore the challenges hindering the adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) among construction companies.

1054

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the challenges hindering the adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) among construction companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The construction industry needs innovative technologies due to its complex and dynamic nature. In this respect, the latest trends such as digitalization, building information modeling (BIM), Internet of things (IoT) are of utmost importance in terms of fostering the change in managing projects and encouraging industry practitioners to adopt the change for better performance. This paper focuses on I4.0adoption among construction companies. In this respect, a questionnaire was designed and administered to construction professionals to reveal the challenges in I4.0 adoption among construction firms. The respondents were requested to fill in the questionnaire on the I4.0 efforts of their companies. The questionnaire was intended to collect the perceptions of industry practitioners working at large construction companies. Based on these, the challenges listed were ranked based on their relative importance and success indices. Finally, the Mann–Whitney U test was conducted to test whether statistically significant responses exist among groups of respondents (i.e. young and old companies, large and small, high and low revenue and main area of expertise).

Findings

The results of the study indicated that resistance to change, unclear benefits and gains and cost of implementation are the major important challenges in terms of I4.0 adoption in construction projects. On the other hand, the data analysis implied that the majority of construction organizations successfully deal with the problems arising from lack of standardization, legal and contractual issues and cost of implementing in terms of promoting I4.0 adoption.

Research limitations/implications

The study is expected to guide construction practitioners in terms of benefitting from I4.0 applications and deliver projects with better outcomes. This study might be used as a guide for the companies aiming to start their I4.0 transformation knowing the challenges and develop strategies for how to handle them. A concrete plan would help them achieve greater performance and benefit from the I4.0 implementation at the maximum level. Finally, the study implies that construction firms shall prepare action plans for handling each challenge listed and monitor their performance based on the planned and actual data of their projects.

Originality/value

This study investigates the major challenges of I4.0 among construction companies. This is one of the important studies, which puts I4.0 focus forefront of the construction industry with a clear identification of challenges that construction organizations have to address to transform their organizations into construction 4.0. The study has the potential to guide both industry practitioners and researchers to develop awareness for the benefits of using the latest technology and fostering innovation. This is expected to create value for construction clients in terms of achieving the product with serious gains such as time and cost.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 December 2020

Michael Welton, Ye Shen, Mark Ebell, David DeJoy and Sara Wagner Robb

The purpose of this study was to investigate occupational and non-occupational mortality among Mexican immigrants in the South Eastern United States. The construction

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate occupational and non-occupational mortality among Mexican immigrants in the South Eastern United States. The construction industry has the highest burden of occupational fatalities in the USA of all industries, and foreign-born Hispanic workers are disproportionately affected.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained from 3,093 death certificates maintained by the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta, Georgia. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were used to compare occupational-related deaths among construction industry occupations, and logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between manners of death not related to occupation and employment in the construction industry.

Findings

The proportion of Mexican immigrants who died from occupational injuries is higher among all construction workers (SMR = 1.31), roofers (SMR = 2.32) and carpenters (SMR = 2.25) than other workers. Among the population in this analysis suicide [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.63] and death from natural causes (aOR = 0.70) were inversely related to work in the construction industry.

Research limitations/implications

Interventions to reduce occupational fatalities among Mexican migrant construction workers should target roofers and carpenters. Future research should further investigate the industry’s association with suicide and natural death.

Originality/value

This is one of the first analyzes that investigated associations between construction industry employment and non-occupational fatalities among immigrants. The analysis provides evidence that a large portion of the Mexican immigrant population is used in the construction industry (38%) and face elevated risks for occupational fatalities and the results of this investigation should encourage greater surveillance of occupational illness and injury among foreign-born immigrants who work in construction, as well as other high-risk industries.

Details

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9894

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Muhammad Sami Ur Rehman, Muhammad Tariq Shafiq and Muneeb Afzal

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the global economy and, thus, the global construction industry. This paper aims to study the impact of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the global economy and, thus, the global construction industry. This paper aims to study the impact of COVID-19 on construction project performance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted a qualitative and exploratory approach to investigate the impact of COVID-19 and its policies on project performance in the UAE construction industry in critical areas of the project management body of knowledge (e.g. schedule, cost, resources and contracts). Semi-structured interview questions were asked from ten construction professional to obtain valuable insights into the pandemic’s effects on the UAE construction industry and the effectiveness of policies implemented to rectify the damage and identify the industry’s new normal.

Findings

The findings indicate that the construction industry faced several challenges such as schedule delays, disrupted cashflows, delayed permits, approvals and inspections, travel restrictions, serious health and safety concerns, material and equipment shortages, among others which hindered the timely delivery of construction projects. It also indicates that efforts made by the government institutions and the construction industry of the UAE such as economic support programs, digitization of processes, fee and fine waivers, health facilities, among other statutory relaxations proved effective in supporting the construction industry against the adverse effects of the pandemic.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings are limited to the literature review and ten semi-structured interviews seeking an expert’s opinion from industry professionals working in the UAE construction industry. The research team did not get access to project documents, contracts and project progress reports which may be required to validate the interview findings, and to perform an in-depth analysis quantifying the impact of COVID 19 on construction projects performance, which is a limitation of this research.

Practical implications

The implication is that, owing to the imposed lockdowns and strict precautionary measures to curb the rapid spread of the pandemic, smooth execution of the construction project across the country was affected. The government institutions and stakeholders of the construction projects introduced and implemented various techniques and solutions which effectively handled the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the construction industry of the UAE.

Originality/value

This study has identified the challenges faced by the construction industry of the UAE in the context of the management of project schedule, project cost, construction contracts, health and safety of construction employees and other related aspects of the construction projects. This study also identified the techniques and solutions adopted by various public and private institutions of the country and their implications on construction projects. Therefore, this study provides guidelines for policymakers and future research studies alike.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

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