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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2000

FLORENCE YEAN‐YNG LING and GEORGE OFORI &SUI PHENG LOW

Architects and engineers (AE) need to possess both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. Soft skills are important because AE interact in organizational settings instead of working by…

Abstract

Architects and engineers (AE) need to possess both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. Soft skills are important because AE interact in organizational settings instead of working by themselves. Soft skills may be grouped under ‘conscientiousness’, ‘initiative’, ‘social skills’, ‘controllability’ and ‘commitment’. As part of a larger study on the selection of consultants by design‐build (DB) contractors in Singapore, a survey was conducted to gauge whether contractors felt that soft skills are important for consultants to carry out their design tasks in DB projects. From the literature, attributes relating to these skills were identified. Data were collected via mailed questionnaire. The questionnaire requested respondents to indicate on a five‐point scale the importance of various soft skills. It was found that all the soft skills, which were operationalized into 14 attributes, are important factors that contractors look for when selecting consultants. It is, therefore, concluded that contextual performance is important and relevant.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2018

Florence Yean Yng Ling, Yan Ning, Yi Hao Chang and Zhe Zhang

More attention should be paid to project managers’ (PMs) job satisfaction as they play an important role in ensuring projects are completed successfully. The purpose of…

Abstract

Purpose

More attention should be paid to project managers’ (PMs) job satisfaction as they play an important role in ensuring projects are completed successfully. The purpose of this paper is to identify human resource management (HRM) policies and practices that lead to higher PMs’ job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was conducted on PMs who are working in construction firms and project management consultancy firms. Data were collected via random, convenience and snowball sampling. The data collected were analysed using partial least square-structural equation modelling, independent samples t-test and Pearson’s correlation.

Findings

The findings show that PMs who are satisfied with their firms’ HRM practices and job rewards also have higher job satisfaction. Several HRM strategies that give rise to higher job satisfaction are identified, e.g. a system to recognise and develop talent, and taking active steps to identify and develop backups in case of emergency. Unfortunately, some practices are not implemented to a significant extent, and these include: systematically recruiting and retaining talented PMs, encouraging PMs to plan for their careers, offering performance and development coaching, and appraising employees.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations include the low response rate and the relatively small sample size of 81. The profile of respondents is largely from construction companies with more than 150 staff, and, therefore, the findings are more applicable to medium- to large-sized construction firms.

Practical implications

The study identified many HRM practices and policies that are significantly associated with PMs’ job satisfaction, yet many of these are not implemented to a significant extent by the employers. The practical implication is that employers of PMs should systematically implement these in order that their PMs have higher job satisfaction which is important for a project’s success.

Originality/value

The originality of this research is that the HRM practices and policies that are associated with job satisfaction of PMs are uncovered. Its value is in showing that PMs derive greater job satisfaction when HRM policies encompass talent development, career coaching and a personalised management style. Among these important practices, those that have been neglected were also identified. The study offers recommendations on the HRM practices that firms should be put in place for their PMs to experience higher job satisfaction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2018

Florence Yean Yng Ling

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the performance of public projects in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney to uncover which areas project managers should…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the performance of public projects in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney to uncover which areas project managers should focus on when managing public projects in different countries.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the literature review, a structured questionnaire was designed to collect data of completed public projects. In total, 244 sets of data of completed public projects were collected.

Findings

Significant cost and schedule overruns are found in all four cities. Hong Kong’s public projects have the highest cost and schedule overruns. Singapore’s public projects have the lowest cost overrun and Beijing’s projects have the lowest schedule overrun. Public projects in all four cities recorded significantly good project quality.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are not easily generalizable due to the relatively small sample size in Sydney, low response rate and data being collected from only four cities. The research implication is that the plethora of project management strategies does not seem effective in preventing cost and schedule overruns in public projects.

Practical implications

This study found that across the four cities, there are significant cost and schedule overruns. Projects in Hong Kong perform the worst in terms of cost and schedule, when compared to Beijing, Singapore and Sydney. The implication is that more attention should be paid to managing cost and schedule, especially in Hong Kong.

Originality/value

The originality is that the study discovered which areas project managers should focus on when managing public projects in different countries. In laissez-faire or free market economies, more attention should be paid to managing project cost and schedule. When a country has lower transparency index, more attention should be paid to controlling project quality. Project team members should focus on delivering public projects to the highest level of quality in developed countries.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

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Article
Publication date: 19 February 2018

Jonathan K.M. Lian, Zhi Yu Foo and Florence Yean Yng Ling

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the value of internships for professional careers in the built environment (BE) sector from the perspective of industry…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the value of internships for professional careers in the built environment (BE) sector from the perspective of industry practitioners. It examines the perceptions of practitioners about internship and explores the relevance of internships for professional careers in the sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methods used were questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews and focus group discussion. The study focussed on careers such as architects, civil engineers, facility managers, project managers and quantity surveyors.

Findings

It was found that quantity surveyors and civil engineers value internship the most and are more likely to hire those who interned with them. Project managers also value internships but to a lesser extent. Facility managers and architects value internship the least and are also least likely to offer positions to their ex-interns. It is not conclusive whether internships are absolutely necessary to increase undergraduates’ employability upon their graduation.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to only five professions and focused on the perceptions of professionals and not the interns or academic supervisors.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made to improve internship programmes in the BE sector. These include making internships compulsory for students who intend to pursue civil engineering and quantity surveying careers and extending the duration of internships to six months.

Originality/value

The views of professionals in the BE sector are uncovered. Tertiary institutions can use the findings to improve their internship programmes and their students’ employability upon graduation.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

ENG HWEE LIM and FLORENCE YEAN YNG LING

Clients' financial status, characteristics, management competency and construction experience can have significant effects upon the attainment of project success. A survey…

Abstract

Clients' financial status, characteristics, management competency and construction experience can have significant effects upon the attainment of project success. A survey was conducted to gauge whether consultants and contractors felt that 20 client related attributes uncovered from the literature have influence on the project outcome. Data were collected via a mailed questionnaire. Results show that all the 20 client related attributes are important and contribute to project success. A multiple linear regression model was constructed to predict a client's contribution to project success. Five predictive attributes were identified: ‘client sets down project objectives clearly’, ‘client is credit worthy’, ‘client does not contribute to project complexity’, ‘client is not litigious’, and ‘client trusts project team members’. This model provides consultants and contractors with a tool to evaluate their clients. It is recommended that clients focus on the more important attributes identified in this study, to ensure project success.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 9 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2008

Florence Yean Yng Ling and Amy Hui Min Chan

With the advent of globalization, consultancy firms could easily offer services outside their home countries. This study aims to investigate how quantity surveying (QS…

Abstract

Purpose

With the advent of globalization, consultancy firms could easily offer services outside their home countries. This study aims to investigate how quantity surveying (QS) firms in Singapore internationalize their services, by examining the unique characteristics of exporting firms, the forces that drive them to export and the strategies they adopt in internationalization.

Design/methodology/approach

The research method is based on a structured questionnaire and data were collected via postal survey. Questionnaires were sent to all 47 QS firms operating in Singapore. A total of 25 responses were received.

Findings

The results show that QS firms that offer services overseas have more staff than non‐exporters, handle larger projects and offer a wider range of services. In addition, these firms are focused on generating additional revenue and conduct their own market research to secure overseas contracts. They enter foreign countries first as wholly owned foreign subsidiaries and later on form joint ventures with firms in the host country.

Originality/value

The finding suggests that to internationalize, firms need to be of a critical size in terms of staff strength. They must offer integrated and other value added services. To secure more overseas projects, firms should undertake aggressive marketing, collect market data in host countries, instead of relying on published information. Many projects were won through past and present clients' recommendations. To win more overseas contracts, it is recommended that QS firms form close relationships with clients who are best placed to give referrals or repeat business.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Florence Yean Yng Ling and Dinh Song Anh Nguyen

There is a lack of waste minimization in Vietnam. This study aims to investigate the barriers that are faced in implementing waste management and the extent to which waste…

Abstract

Purpose

There is a lack of waste minimization in Vietnam. This study aims to investigate the barriers that are faced in implementing waste management and the extent to which waste management practices are adopted. It recommends improvements to management of waste in Vietnam, with a focus on Ho Chi Minh City.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the questionnaire survey approach, data were collected from construction practitioners in Vietnam using the self‐administrated postal survey. Findings were validated via in‐depth interviews with three experts.

Findings

There is a lack of awareness about construction and waste minimization in Vietnam. Effective waste management for Vietnam are: employ subcontractors with waste management ability; conduct training; audit and provide close supervision of subcontractors and workers; sequence activities to reduce damage to completed work; set level of wastage allowable; and enforce these through rewards and punishments.

Research limitations/implications

As the survey was conducted on a small sample size of contractors in Ho Chi Minh City, the findings may not be representative of the whole of Vietnam. The data were based on respondents’ perceptions rather than factual records.

Practical implications

The effective strategies identified by this study could be used by construction industry practitioners in Vietnam to reduce waste generated, and thereby undertake construction in a more sustainable manner.

Social implications

The benefits of better waste management include: improved environmental credentials; savings in disposal and transport costs; revenue from reuse and recycling; and reduced cost of materials.

Originality/value

Vietnam is undergoing infrastructure development, and these construction projects have large impacts on the environment. This study identified areas in which waste management is found wanting, and suggested ways for Vietnam to improve.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Florence Yean Yng Ling and Wan Theng Ang

The purpose of this paper is to identify control systems that give rise to better construction project performance; and develop and test project performance predictive…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify control systems that give rise to better construction project performance; and develop and test project performance predictive models based on control systems adopted in the project.

Design/methodology/approach

Research design was questionnaire survey. Data were collected via Electronic mails. The sampling frame was Singapore-based construction firms.

Findings

In all, 16 control mechanisms are significantly correlated with project outcomes. The more important control mechanisms are: adequacy of project information to develop the project schedule; adequacy of float in the schedule; and quality of techniques used to support risk identification. Two relatively robust predictive models were constructed and validated to predict schedule and quality outcomes of construction projects. Schedule performance may be predicted by adequacy of float and stringency of criteria to select suppliers. Quality outcome is most significantly affected by competency of quality manager, rather than the hard systems adopted in the project.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations include low response rate, and subjective nature of the five-point Likert scale used to rate project outcomes and extent to which control mechanisms were adopted in the project.

Practical implications

The implication of the findings is that merely having good project management practices and adequate resources are not sufficient to achieve good project outcomes. Instead, construction projects need to have control systems in place, as they play an important role in project outcomes.

Originality/value

The paper has shown empirically that control systems affect project outcomes. They are needed not just to control the project, but also help the project to achieve good outcomes. The research designed and tested two relatively robust models to predict schedule and quality outcomes of a project. These models may be used to make an initial assessment of the project's likely outcome, based on the control systems that contractors are going to adopt.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 13 January 2012

Florence Yean Yng Ling and Hoang Bao Tram Tran

A construction project typically involves many participants such as owners, consultants, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. It is important for them to have…

Abstract

Purpose

A construction project typically involves many participants such as owners, consultants, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. It is important for them to have harmonious relationships so that the project can be completed expeditiously. Trust is a critical factor to maintain harmonious relationships. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the ingredients to bring about trust in construction project teams in Vietnam. The specific objectives were to investigate the existence of personal trust, explore relationship between trust and project outcomes, and identify attributes that help to improve trust.

Design/methodology/approach

This research employed questionnaire survey as the research method and collected data via face‐to‐face and e‐mail interviews. The sample comprised randomly selected construction practitioners in Vietnam. Data were analyzed using the SPSS software.

Findings

The results showed that trust exists between members of construction project team members in Vietnam. It was found that trust can leverage project quality and client satisfaction. In this regard, a number of factors were found to be significantly important to the development of trust.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size was relatively small.

Practical implications

When operating in Vietnam, practitioners should adopt a long‐term mindset so as to develop trust. They should also select partners who have good reputations as these are more trustworthy.

Originality/value

This study contributes to knowledge by showing that trust exists between individuals participating in construction projects in Vietnam and it leads to higher output quality and client satisfaction. Unique attributes to increase trust in Vietnam were also uncovered.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Florence Yean Yng Ling

The objectives of this paper are to: find out whether design‐bid‐build (DBB) or design‐build (DB) procurement method gives better quality building; identify variables that…

Abstract

Purpose

The objectives of this paper are to: find out whether design‐bid‐build (DBB) or design‐build (DB) procurement method gives better quality building; identify variables that significantly affect quality scores of DBB and DB projects; and construct models to predict quality scores of DB and DBB projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design was based on a structured questionnaire and data on quality performance and factors that may affect quality of a building project were collected by postal survey and face‐to‐face interviews.

Findings

There was no significant difference between the quality scores of DB and DBB projects. To ensure that buildings procured through DBB have high quality, owners should adopt the following practices: engage experienced consultants; short‐list bidders and select contractors based on a combination of price and ability. To obtain high quality DB buildings, owners should engage architects to prepare the scheme design and not to set the budget too early. For both types of projects, owners should allow contractors to propose changes to the contract with a view to improving its quality.

Research limitations/implications

As there is no significant difference in quality of DBB and DB projects, the argument that DB projects produce lower quality buildings is demolished.

Practical implications

The practical implication is that owners play an important part in ensuring that they obtain buildings of high quality.

Originality/value

Building owners and consultants can use the two models to predict quality scores of DBB and DB projects and take specific actions to improve the quality of their projects if necessary.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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