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Article

Martin Skitmore and Derek Drew

The financial management of the construction procurement process is dependent on the performance of the managers involved. This paper describes an analysis of pre‐tender…

Abstract

The financial management of the construction procurement process is dependent on the performance of the managers involved. This paper describes an analysis of pre‐tender building price forecasts (estimates) made by a Hong Kong consulting organisation for a series of 89 building projects from 1995 to 1997 to identify factors influencing the accuracy of the forecasts made for possible improvement in performance. This involved the consideration of two distinct sets of models, the purpose of which was: (1) to identify and explain the underlying systematic causes of errors; and (2) to assist in improving the predictive ability of the forecasts. The analysis for (1) used ANOVA to detect significant differences between the errors grouped according to building size (value), building size (floor area), forecasting (estimating) method (approximate quantities and superficial), nature of the work (new build and alteration work), type of client and type of project. This was followed by a Gunner‐Skitmore price intensity theoretic analysis. For (2), MRA was used by using cross‐validation analysis to simulate the ex‐post errors.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Bo Xiong, Sidney Newton, Vera Li, Martin Skitmore and Bo Xia

The purpose of this paper is to present an approach to address the overfitting and collinearity problems that frequently occur in predictive cost estimating models for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an approach to address the overfitting and collinearity problems that frequently occur in predictive cost estimating models for construction practice. A case study, modeling the cost of preliminaries is proposed to test the robustness of this approach.

Design/methodology/approach

A hybrid approach is developed based on the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and principal component regression (PCR). Cost information for a sample of 204 UK school building projects is collected involving elemental items, contingencies (risk) and the contractors’ preliminaries. An application to estimate the cost of preliminaries for construction projects demonstrates the method and tests its effectiveness in comparison with such competing models as: alternative regression models, three artificial neural network data mining techniques, case-based reasoning and support vector machines.

Findings

The experimental results show that the AIC–PCR approach provides a good predictive accuracy compared with the alternatives used, and is a promising alternative to avoid overfitting and collinearity.

Originality/value

This is the first time an approach integrating the AIC and PCR has been developed to offer an improvement on existing methods for estimating construction project Preliminaries. The hybrid approach not only reduces the risk of overfitting and collinearity, but also results in better predictability compared with the commonly used stepwise regression.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap, Ban Leong Lim, Martin Skitmore and Jason Gray

Poor project knowledge and inadequate experience are frequently linked to construction time-cost overruns. This paper aims to expound on the criticality of project…

Abstract

Purpose

Poor project knowledge and inadequate experience are frequently linked to construction time-cost overruns. This paper aims to expound on the criticality of project knowledge and experience in the successful delivery of projects in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a detailed literature review, a quantitative positivist approach with a questionnaire survey involving industry professionals is used to appraise the 30 prevalent causes of time-cost overruns according to frequency, effectiveness and importance indices. The data are then subjected to Spearman’s rank correlation tests and exploratory factor analysis.

Findings

Using the importance index, which assimilates both frequency and effectiveness indices, the criticality of knowledge and experience in the overall context is seen as fundamental for addressing the contractor’s faulty planning and scheduling, construction mistakes and defective work, site management and supervision, delayed/slow decision-making, incomplete drawings and design documents and change/variation orders. Spearman’s rank correlation tests indicate a good consensus of perceptions among the key parties involved. Next, an exploratory factor analysis uncovers six underlying knowledge-based factors affecting construction performance, relating to inaccurate resource estimates, design changes, resource shortages, lack of experience, incompetence and mistakes and defects.

Originality/value

The study draws out the repercussions of the hitherto limited research into the deficiencies in knowledge and experience in undertaking construction projects to enhance performance using knowledge management functions.

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

Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap, Kai Yee Lee and Martin Skitmore

Corruption continues to be a pervasive stain on the construction industry in developing countries worldwide, jeopardising project performance and with wide-ranging…

Abstract

Purpose

Corruption continues to be a pervasive stain on the construction industry in developing countries worldwide, jeopardising project performance and with wide-ranging negative implications for all facets of society. As such, this study aims to identify and analyse the causes of corruption in the construction sector of an emerging economy such as Malaysia, as it is crucial to uncover the specific facilitating factors involved to devise effective counter strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a detailed literature review, 18 causes of corruption are identified. The results of an opinion survey within the Malaysian construction industry are further reported to rank and analyse the causes. The factor analysis technique is then applied to uncover the principal factors involved.

Findings

The results indicate that all the considered causes are perceived to be significant, with the most critical causes being avarice, relationships between parties, lack of ethical standards, an intense competitive nature and the involvement of a large amount of money. A factor analysis reveals four major causal dimensions of these causes, comprising the unique nature of the construction industry and the extensive competition involved; unscrupulous leadership, culture and corruption perception; a flawed legal system and lack of accountability; and ineffective enforcement and an inefficient official bureaucracy.

Research limitations/implications

The study presents the Malaysian construction industry’s view of the causes of corruption. Therefore, the arguments made in the study are influenced by the social, economic and cultural settings of Malaysia, which may limit generalisation of the findings.

Practical implications

This paper helps stakeholders understand the root causes and underlying dimensions of corruption in the construction industry, especially in Malaysia. Recommendations for changing cultures that may be conducive to corrupt practices, and anti-corruption measures, are suggested based on the findings of the research.

Originality/value

These findings can guide practitioners and researchers in addressing the impediments that give rise to the vulnerability of the construction industry to corrupt practices and understanding the “red flags” in project delivery.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article

Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap and Martin Skitmore

Legions of projects fail to attain their time and cost objectives due to ineffective coordination. This is often due to a lack of essential learning from projects because…

Abstract

Purpose

Legions of projects fail to attain their time and cost objectives due to ineffective coordination. This is often due to a lack of essential learning from projects because of insufficient communication and working experience. One of the key reasons why this occurs is that managers are unaware of what knowledge needs to be retained. In contrast with knowledge management research, which mostly focuses on the systems and processes for capturing, storing, and retrieval of knowledge, this paper investigates the nature of project communication and learning and their role on project time and cost control.

Design/methodology/approach

A stratified proportional purposive sampling approach was adopted in choosing the interview participants for the study. They are experienced industry practitioners working on building construction projects in Malaysia. Content analysis was then performed on the interview data. The identified variables were further validated by 11 industry experts from the three primary construction stakeholders.

Findings

The results of a series of 12 in-depth interviews with industry practitioners are provided to reveal the effective communication tools for sharing and learning in a project-based environment, the learning inducing situations involved, and the use of reusable project experiences to improve project time and cost control.

Research limitations/implications

A possible limitation of the study is its focus on a small group of Malaysian practitioners delimits the generalizability of the findings.

Originality/value

A two-phase model with three-step project management process of input, tools, and output is developed from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide as an aid for more effective knowledge reuse in project time and cost control in the future.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article

Xiaoying Li, Heng Li, Martin Skitmore and Fan Wang

Neglecting to wear a safety helmet can result in serious injuries at construction sites, but the cause of such unsafe behavior has not been fully understood. Therefore…

Abstract

Purpose

Neglecting to wear a safety helmet can result in serious injuries at construction sites, but the cause of such unsafe behavior has not been fully understood. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide a means of systematically understanding on the causes of non-helmet use behaviors at construction sites.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilizes the system dynamics (SD) modeling to portray the construction system works at project, management and individual levels to understand the relative importance of safety climate and productivity pressures. A real-time helmet use behavior tracking system (the Eye on Project (EOP)) is developed to provide an objective record of helmet use practices. Using the data collected from the EOP, the proposed SD model can be calibrated to simulate the influence of safety climate and productivity pressures on the non-helmet use behaviors of construction workers.

Findings

The data collected from 91 responses through the questionnaire survey were utilized to develop the SD model, which consists of two balancing loops and two reinforced loops. The mean absolute percentage error is further used to evaluate the model. The results show that a positive safety climate significantly reduced the rate of non-helmet use behavior.

Originality/value

This study divided the primary contributors of non-helmet use behavior into three levels for the SD model development. The SD model can be used to develop policies for mitigating helmet misuse, which in turn improves the safety performance of construction sites.

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

Jingxiao Zhang, Hui Li, Vera Li, Bo Xia and Martin Skitmore

Service-oriented innovation economies are becoming the new trend for the construction industry. Benchmarking the quality management level of developed countries and…

Abstract

Purpose

Service-oriented innovation economies are becoming the new trend for the construction industry. Benchmarking the quality management level of developed countries and improving quality management are also becoming necessities for promoting innovation in the economy. The purpose of this study is to analyse the internal relationships between the five enablers of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence model, based on a market-oriented strategy, to serve as a framework for managing and improving quality.

Design/methodology/approach

Considering the different market environment and culture, this study refines the strategy enabler based on Zebal and Goodwin's (2011) Developing Country Market Orientation Scale, and builds a market-oriented EFQM Excellence model. Structural equation modelling (SEM) is used to analyse the results of a questionnaire survey of 683 China construction industry top enterprises to explore the internal relationships between the model's five enablers.

Findings

(1) “Leadership” has a positive influence on “Market-Oriented Strategy”, “People” and “Partnerships and Resources”; (2) “Market-Oriented Strategy” has positive influence on “Partnerships and Resources”; (3) “People” has a low influence on “Processes, Products and Services”; (4) “Partnerships and Resources” has a medium influence on “Processes, Products and Services” and (5) the relationships between “Market-Oriented Strategy” and “People”, “Partnerships and Resources” are not significant.

Originality/value

This study refines the strategy enabler of the original EFQM Excellence model with Zebal and Goodwin's (2011) Developing Country Market Orientation Scale. It also develops a market-oriented EFQM Excellence model that is suitable for developing countries, and it tests the implicit relationships of its five new enablers in an innovation environment where cultural differences exist.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap, Wen Jie Leong and Martin Skitmore

Teamwork in the construction industry has attracted much attention from both academic and industrial circles. Most importantly, improving team effectiveness will increase…

Abstract

Purpose

Teamwork in the construction industry has attracted much attention from both academic and industrial circles. Most importantly, improving team effectiveness will increase the likelihood of successful project delivery. Recognising the factors influencing team dynamics is important for enhanced team performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a detailed literature review, a survey questionnaire containing 10 aspects and 25 attributes of teamwork relevant to construction is used to collect feedback from Malaysian construction practitioners from client, consultant and contractor organisations to prioritise these hypothesised variables. The data are then subjected to reliability analysis, descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, and frequencies), a one-sample t-test, the Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA and exploratory factor analysis.

Findings

The significance of these aspects and attributes is then presented. The three most crucial aspects are “project performance”, “decision-making capability” and “problem-solving ability”. The most influential attributes are “effective communication between project team members”, “efficient team leadership”, “well-defined team responsibilities and roles”, “clear team goals and objectives” and “good collaboration between all project leaders”. The Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA reveals five attributes having statistically significant differences with respect to company size, namely “clear team goals and objectives”, “commitment to the project”, “adequate resources”, “team or task processes” and “creativity and innovation”. Six underlying dimensions are found, comprising (1) participative engagement and task commitment; (2) team responsibility structure and accountability; (3) culture of trust and respect; (4) leader's skills and abilities; (5) top management support; and (6) synergic working environment.

Practical implications

The identification of these dimensions for team effectiveness provides rigorous basis for formulating useful team-building strategies for integrating a collaborative environment among project stakeholders and consequently improving project performance.

Originality/value

This paper bridges the identified knowledge gap concerning the dimensionality of teamwork attributes in construction-based setting and adds to existing knowledge of how team effectiveness can be leveraged to improve project performance in the construction management literature.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Xin Hu, Bo Xia, Martin Skitmore and Laurie Buys

As a viable housing option for older people, retirement villages need to provide a sustainable living environment that satisfies their residents’ needs in terms of…

Abstract

Purpose

As a viable housing option for older people, retirement villages need to provide a sustainable living environment that satisfies their residents’ needs in terms of affordability, lifestyle and environmental friendliness. This is, however, a significant challenge for not-for-profit developers because of the high upfront costs involved in using sustainable practices. The purpose of this paper is to identify the sustainable features and practices adopted in not-for-profit retirement villages.

Design/methodology/approach

Because of the lack of quantitative historical data, a case study approach was adopted to identify the sustainable features and practices used in a not-for-profit retirement village in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Data were collected based on interviews, direct observation and documentation, and collected data were analysed by using content analysis.

Findings

The research findings indicate that similar to private developers, not-for-profit developers also have the capability to make their village environment sustainable. In this case, the sustainable practices cover various aspects including the selection of village location, site planning, provision of facilities and services, social life and living costs. Although the associated costs of adopting sustainable features is a concern for both developers and residents, some of the identified sustainable practices in this case do not result in significant cost increase but can improve the residents’ quality of life substantially.

Practical implications

The research findings provide a number of practical implications on how to deliver sustainable retirement villages in a not-for-profit village setting.

Originality/value

This paper provides a first look at sustainable features and practices adopted in both the development and operation stages of a not-for-profit retirement village.

Details

Facilities, vol. 36 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article

Moath Al Yahya, Martin Skitmore, Adrian Bridge, Madhav Nepal and David Cattell

The purpose of this paper is to varied a conceptual model for e-Tendering readiness in any construction organisation prior of implementing e-Tendering system.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to varied a conceptual model for e-Tendering readiness in any construction organisation prior of implementing e-Tendering system.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on conceptual model called e-Tendering readiness model (e-TRM), this paper empirically examines the e-TRM’s interactions and causal relationships between e-Tendering constructs and e-Tendering readiness. The paper uses the structural equation modelling technique to test the hypothesised positive inter-relationships. A questionnaire survey is conducted for respondents of construction organisations in Saudi Arabia to understand their current e-Tendering readiness and importance of e-Tendering variables.

Findings

Supported by empirical evidence, this paper recognised that three out of nine constructs have direct influences on the e-Tendering readiness. However, one of the constructs, which is for the first time hypothesised and tested has the most effect.

Research limitations/implications

Ultimately, the empirical test for the e-TRM is conducted in certain case (Saudi Arabia); however, the e-TRM needs to be tested in other case area for more verification.

Practical implications

The study findings update previous information technology/information system models in construction by adding this tested model to the research literature on traditional and electronic tendering and the body of knowledge in the construction industry.

Originality/value

The service providers construct is proposed and tested for the first time, which is necessary to support the successful e-Tendering implementation.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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