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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…

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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2021

Tamara Fuller, Abid Hasan and Imriyas Kamardeen

The construction industry has a poor reputation for an unhealthy lifestyle and a high prevalence of health problems such as obesity, stress and hypertension among…

Abstract

Purpose

The construction industry has a poor reputation for an unhealthy lifestyle and a high prevalence of health problems such as obesity, stress and hypertension among construction workers. The review examines the factors influencing the design and delivery of health promotion programs implemented by construction organisations to educate workers and promote a healthy lifestyle. It also identifies gaps in research and practices and proposes directions for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of 51 relevant journal articles published during 2010–2019 was undertaken to achieve the aim of the study.

Findings

The review reveals 46 different factors grouped into four major themes related to individuals, organisations, industry and the program, influencing the successful implementation of health promotion programs. The top ten most cited factors are cost, time, facilities and resources, transient workforce, delivery method, influence from managers, long working hours, masculine culture, production pressure and interest. The review also found a noticeable lack of studies on implementing health promotion programs in the context of developing countries, small and medium-sized construction organisations, residential sector workers, and construction professionals and female workers.

Research limitations/implications

The review's scope is limited to research on health promotion programs, and it did not investigate the factors affecting the health of construction workers in construction projects.

Practical implications

A better understanding of various influencing factors present at different decision levels will inform the future implementation of targeted workforce health promotion strategies to foster construction workers' health and well-being.

Originality/value

The review reveals bottlenecks that need to be addressed to successfully implement health promotion programs in the construction industry. It provides new insights that can improve existing health and workplace policies and health promotion programs in the construction industry. Finally, it identifies new research directions in a neglected but crucial area of workers' health and safety management.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2021

Johnson Adafin, Suzanne Wilkinson, James O. B. Rotimi, Casimir MacGregor, John Tookey and Regan Potangaroa

This study aims to examine how innovation can be accelerated within the New Zealand (NZ) building industry to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how innovation can be accelerated within the New Zealand (NZ) building industry to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a mixed philosophical approach combining interpretivism and post-positivism. Data for the study were obtained through a focus group of 50 practitioners that were selected using a stratified sampling procedure. All focus group data were audio-recorded, notes of the discussions were taken and then transcribed, de-identified and managed using NVivo software. Data analysis was undertaken using thematic analysis and inductive reasoning consistent with interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings

The study findings revealed that the industry could benefit from the adoption of new and emerging technologies to improve its performance, especially its productivity and efficiency. Key drivers for the adoption of innovative practices included the adaptation of “local best practices” from case studies that would consist of stories of successful innovations that could foster confidence in future innovation. It was also identified that Government and industry should nurture innovation through collaborative contracts, policies and regulations. Further, it was highlighted that a culture of innovation needed to be developed to help nurture competencies and capability within the industry workforce.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides an in-depth examination of the need for innovation from the point of view of building industry practitioners. This study provides a useful starting-off point for further research and for the creation of policies that could help to support and accelerate innovation within the NZ building industry.

Practical implications

NZ’s building industry productivity and efficiency have been sub-optimal relative to other industries. But using evidence from the experiences and knowledge of industry practitioners, strategies can be developed to accelerate innovation within the NZ building industry that could help reverse industry performance. Further, the research findings can help inform government policies to develop support mechanisms that could encourage innovation in the industry in NZ. In addition, it is anticipated that the findings will provide a useful set of guidance for other countries that have similar market and physical constraints as those encountered by NZ.

Originality/value

There is a dearth of empirical studies on innovation in the NZ building industry which the current study contributes to. By sharing industry practitioners’ experiences and knowledge of innovation, the paper seeks to counteract more technocratic and technological optimist accounts of innovation within the building industry. Further, the paper provides insights into how the NZ building industry can transform its performance through innovation.

Details

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

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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.

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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2021

Martin Loosemore and Andrew McCallum

The aim of this paper is to explore the situational and individual factors which motivate entrepreneurs to start a business in the construction industry.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore the situational and individual factors which motivate entrepreneurs to start a business in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews are undertaken with twenty-five entrepreneurs in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

Findings highlight the importance of eight recurring “situational” themes leading to the decision to start a business in the construction industry: life experiences; family background; roles models; education; previous employment; construction industry experience - especially at an early age; cultural factors and serendipity. Findings also reveal six recurring “individual” themes: individual agency; need for achievement; work–life balance; desire for independence, frustration avoidance and strategic instrumentality.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicate that mainstream theories of entrepreneurship may underplay the importance of intergenerational traditions and cultural and informal institutional knowledge in the construction industry. The research is limited to interviews undertaken in the Australian construction industry.

Practical implications

The findings have important implications for research, policy and educational practice. For researchers they highlight the potential value of social identity and new institutional theories as novel conceptual lenses in future construction entrepreneurship research. They also raise new methodological questions regarding the use of ethnographic methods which are relatively rare in construction research. This research also has important implications for educators in informing novel pedagogies for delivering entrepreneurial education which engages students in experiential learning. The findings also inform innovation policy to enable more entrepreneurship in what is seen widely as a low-innovation industry.

Social implications

There is widespread agreement about the importance of entrepreneurship as a driver of increased productivity, income, employment, ecological health and social equality and mobility in society. This is especially important to minority groups such as refugees and Indigenous people who employ entrepreneurship to circumvent the many barriers they face in gaining traditional employment in the construction industry.

Originality/value

Drawing on both psychological and sociological schools of thought in entrepreneurship theory, this paper answers calls for more qualitative and industry-specific entrepreneurship research. It contributes new insights to both mainstream and construction entrepreneurship research by contributing new insights by highlighting situational and individual factors which motivate entrepreneurs to start a business in construction.

Details

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

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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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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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

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Article
Publication date: 18 March 2021

Martin Loosemore, Suhair Z. Alkilani and Ahmed W.A. Hammad

In Australia, as in many other countries, refugees are over-represented in the ranks of the unemployed, under-employed and precariously employed and often become…

Abstract

Purpose

In Australia, as in many other countries, refugees are over-represented in the ranks of the unemployed, under-employed and precariously employed and often become frustrated in their attempts to secure work. Despite the construction industry being a major potential source of employment for refugees, there has been a surprising lack of research into their experiences of securing work in the industry. Addressing this gap and also the general lack of voice for refugees in construction research, the aim of this paper is to explore the barriers refugees face in securing employment in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reports a survey of refugees who have worked or attempted to seek work in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

Results show that the main barriers to securing employment in construction are: lack of local work experience; employer discrimination; employer failure to recognise previous qualifications, skills and experience and employers not understanding the challenges they face. Government employment agencies and systems are also perceived to be of limited value and overly complex, in contrast to the activities of not-for-profit support agencies.

Research limitations/implications

While the research is limited to Australia, the findings contribute an important and missing refugee dimension to the emerging body of research on construction social procurement. They also contribute unique sector-specific insights into the broader debate about refugee resettlement and employment. Further research is needed in other national contexts.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made to address the barriers to employment identified including: initiatives to provide refugees with work experience in the industry; education to break-down negative stereotypes of refugees among employers; greater support for not-for-profits supporting refugees and reform of government and employment agency systems and procedures.

Social implications

By enhancing understanding of the barriers to employment for refugees in construction and proposing solutions to reduce those barriers, this research contributes new insights into a growing global challenge of how we better integrate growing numbers of refugees into harmonious and prosperous societies.

Originality/value

The findings are important in facilitating the smoother integration of refugees into society. Beyond the moral imperative, there are significant social, cultural and economic benefits which successful refugee integration brings to host countries and industries like construction which in many countries are now being required to employ refugees in their workforce as a condition of public sector contracts.

Details

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

Keywords

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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

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Deepak MD and Gangadhar Mahesh

Safety in construction projects is essential and requires more attention towards minimizing the accident rate. Problems concerning awareness of safety risks, procedures…

Abstract

Purpose

Safety in construction projects is essential and requires more attention towards minimizing the accident rate. Problems concerning awareness of safety risks, procedures and practices still exist in the industry, which indicate a shortfall in diffusion of safety-related knowledge in construction industry. Also, there is dearth of studies on knowledge management strategies to prevent reoccurrence of accidents and thereby improve safety culture in construction industry. This study attempts to unveil aspects of knowledge management that are ignored in considering safety culture and discern the differences in the perception of key stakeholders of construction industry. Therefore, the objective of this study is to identify and measure knowledge-based safety culture elements.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the focus is on the application of a reliable, valid and sensitive knowledge-based safety culture assessment tool on key stakeholders operational in construction industry. Research method adopted is a questionnaire-based survey to seek responses from industry professionals. A total of 199 responses were obtained from 106 different companies operational in Indian construction industry. Statistical analyses including ranking analysis, t-test, correlation analysis, and ANOVA test are utilized for comparing and identifying the differences in view of stakeholder's perceptions concerning workplace safety.

Findings

This study helps to identify and rank critical knowledge-based safety culture elements from the perspective of key stakeholders of construction industry. This contributes in identifying the most critical and neglected variables among the key stakeholders regarding aspects of safety culture. Also, the study shows the importance of knowledge dimension in developing overall safety culture in construction industry.

Originality/value

Results of this study offer valuable insight in enabling key stakeholders of construction industry to examine and enhance their safety performance. The implications of this study contribute new knowledge in assessing conditions that will improve worker safety in the construction industry. The paper should be of interest to researchers and practitioners in the area of occupational health and safety management.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

Keywords

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