Causes and Mitigation Strategies Against Delays in The Delivery of Construction Projects in Saudi Arabia
Student’s Name: Hamad Alomran
Student’s ID: 200900835
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION 3
Research background 3
Research aim and objectives 4
Research questions 4
Scope of study 4
Problem statement 5
Contribution of the study 5
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 5
Causes of project delays 6
Mitigation strategies against project delays 8
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY 10
Research Philosophy 10
Research approach 11
Research method 12
Population and sampling method 12
Data analysis method 13
Research ethics 13
OUTLINE OF COMPLETED THESIS 14
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 has culminated in a value of $1.1 trillion in infrastructure and real estate construction projects (Durani, 2022). However, Alzara et al. (2016) claim that up to 70 percent of public construction projects incur project delays. Considering the high financial investment in these projects, it is important to identify the causes of the project delays and to develop strategies to mitigate them. Moreover, the identification of the causes of the delays and mitigation strategies shall also accelerate the probability of meeting the proposed outcomes of Vision 2030. Project delays in Saudi Arabia can be attributed to a variety of factors that the proposed research will address. The study will be useful to stakeholders such as contractors, consultants, clients and government officials. Each stakeholder has a unique interest in the outcomes of such as study. For example, the government of Saudi Arabia has an interest in completing infrastructure and real estate projects on time, while contractors are interested in identifying opportunities to increase their competitiveness.
Delays are a perennial concern in the construction industry, where even a few days may mean the difference between meeting a deadline and a cost overrun. In Saudi Arabia, where infrastructure projects are booming, delays may be costly and frustrating for everyone involved. The Saudi government has invested heavily in infrastructure projects in recent years as part of its Vision 2030 initiative (Knight Frank, 2022). However, delays are a common occurrence in the construction industry, and they may significantly impact the cost and schedule of a project.
A growing body of research on the topic focuses on identifying the leading causes of delays and exploring effective mitigation strategies (Abdallah et al., 2019; Durdyev & Hosseini, 2019). However, most of this research is about developed countries, with little empirical work carried out in developing countries where the problem may be most acute. This research proposal seeks to fill this gap by investigating the causes of delays in construction projects in developing countries and proposing effective mitigation strategies. The findings of this study shall contribute to the body of knowledge on delays in construction projects and have practical implications for project managers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders involved in the management of construction projects in Saudi Arabia.
Research aim and objectives
This study aims to identify the main causes of delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia and suggest effective mitigation strategies. Below are the objectives of the study:
1. To identify the main causes of delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia.
To explore effective mitigation strategies for delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia.
1. What are the main causes of project delivery delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia? The reason for this research question is the fact that up to 70% of the projects in Saudi Arabia are late (Alzara et al., 2016). Accordingly, it is important to evaluate the reasons behind this problem.
2. What are the most effective strategies for the mitigation of project delivery delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia? This research question seeks to identify mitigation strategies that could address the inherent challenges in timely project delivery.
Scope of study
The scope of this study extends to investigating the causes of project delivery delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia. The researcher will not be looking at the effects of delays or the mitigation strategies to deal with them. It is important to examine the causes and mitigation strategies of this study because at least 70% of the projects in Saudi Arabia incur lateness (Alzara et al., 2016).
The existing literature on construction delays is vast and diverse. However, much of this research has been conducted in developed countries, with little empirical work carried out in developing countries. This research gap is significant, given that the problem of delays is most acute in developing and emerging economies. This study will fill this gap by investigating the causes of delays in construction projects in Saudi Arabia and proposing effective mitigation strategies. The findings of this study shall contribute to the body of knowledge on delays in construction projects and have practical implications for project managers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders involved in the management of construction projects in developing countries.
Contribution of the study
The significance of this study is that it will fill the research gap on delays in construction projects in the Saudi construction industry, which has not been studied after the capital injection of Vision 2030. The findings of this study aim to contribute to the body of knowledge on this topic and have practical implications for project managers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders involved in the management of construction projects in these countries.
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
Delays in construction project delivery are a common phenomenon in the construction industry (Alzara et al., 2016; Sanni-Anibire et al., 2022). In order to ensure successful project delivery, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to delays, as well as effective strategies for mitigating their impact. A review of the literature suggests that a number of both internal and external factors may cause delays in construction projects. Internal factors include inadequate planning, unrealistic schedules, and work scope changes. External factors include labor shortages, bad weather, and problems with the supply of materials, to mention a few. The literature proposes various mitigation strategies, including better communication among project stakeholders, more thorough risk assessments, and better project management practices. Given the importance of this issue, further research is necessary to understand better the factors contributing to delays in construction projects and to identify effective mitigation strategies.
Causes of project delays
Inefficient bureaucracy is one of the primary causes of project delays. The reasoning behind this claim is that bureaucratic procedures are inherently inefficient and that the resulting red tape may create significant delays (Bekr, 2018; Ofem et al., 2021; Pall et al., 2019). This bureaucracy may cause bottlenecks and inhibits the free flow of information and resources. Another reason is that bureaucracy often leads to a lack of accountability, as impersonal institutions rather than individuals make decisions. This may make it difficult to identify who is responsible for delays, making it harder to address the problem. Finally, bureaucracy may create an environment of mistrust and suspicion as different departments compete for resources and power. This may culminate in infighting and politicking, which further delays projects.
Poor planning and design are other causes of project delays. This may be attributable to the absence of foresight from the project manager. Without a clear understanding of the task, it is not easy to create an effective plan of action (Ramli et al., 2018; Sanni-Anibire et al., 2022). This may often culminate in workers being idle or working on tasks that are not essential to the completion of the project. Additionally, a poorly designed project is more likely to encounter problems during its execution. This is because curvature structural supports, for example, are more likely to snap under tension if not designed properly. Resultantly, it is clear that poor planning and design may profoundly impact a project’s timeline.
Additionally, unclear contract specifications may cause project delays for several reasons (Ramli et al., 2018; Schuldt et al., 2015). When specifications are unclear, it may cause ambiguity in the interpretation of the requirements, which may, in turn, culminate in disagreements between the contracting parties. Likewise, unclear specifications may also culminate in a lack of clarity in the scope of work, making it difficult to identify the tasks that need to be completed and the sequence in which they need to be completed. Moreover, unclear specifications may also culminate in a lack of coordination among the different parties involved, further delaying the project.
Furthermore, weather-related problems are also a major antecedent of project delays (Doraisamy et al., 2015; Mbala et al., 2018). Multiple scholars concur that weather-related problems, such as extreme heat or cold, heavy rains, and strong winds, may cause construction project delays. These problems may cause slower work rates, damaged equipment, and safety concerns. Furthermore, project managers often undermine weather-related delays in a project’s planning and execution phases. This is likely because weather phenomena are often highly unpredictable and may vary significantly from one day to the next.
Scope creep also a major problem in the world of project management, and it may often culminate in delays in the completion of a project (Enrica et al., 2021; Gamez & Touran, 2010). Scope creep upon expanding the original scope of a project without proper planning or approval. This may often happen when new stakeholders come on board or in case of improper goal definition at the beginning of a project. Resultantly, scope creep may often culminate in an increase in the costs and timeline of a project.
Furthermore, insufficient communication is one of the most common causes of project delays (Harrison & Lock, 2017). There are several reasons why communication breakdowns may occur in an organization. There may be a lack of clear objectives or goals. Without a common understanding of project objectives, stakeholder responsibilities, and deliverables, it is not easy to communicate effectively.
Mitigation strategies against project delays
Proper planning is a critical strategy against project delays (Nicholas & Steyn, 2020; Tayade & Mahatme, 2019). This strategy includes having a clear and concise design that is easy to understand and follow and a well-coordinated team that can work together efficiently. It is also important to understand the construction process and supply chain well so the team can plan and anticipate potential disruptions. Moreover, establishing a clear timeline for the project and enforcing it rigidly is also a necessary aspect of planning. Accordingly, planning about how and when to inform all stakeholders about the deadlines and holding them accountable for meeting them. It is also important to revise the project plan regularly as it progresses. This should ensure that everyone is aware of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
Adequate resource provision is also a relevant mitigation strategy (Durdyev & Hosseini, 2019). Project delays may often be traced back to inadequate resources, whether a lack of human resources, funding, or equipment. For example, in a study of construction projects in India, researchers found that a common cause of delay was a shortage of skilled labor (Rawat et al., 2022).
Effective communication also mitigates project delays (Gamil & Rahman, 2017). Communication is essential in any construction project, especially when multiple parties are involved (Kerzner, 2018). Miscommunication may cause misunderstandings and disagreements, which may, in turn, culminate in delays and other issues. Stakeholders need to concur concerning the project’s goals, objectives, and timeline to reduce the risk of project delays. Effective communication is timely, accurate, and concise. All stakeholders should have access to up-to-date information about the project to make informed decisions. Information should be conveyed in a way that is easy to understand, and everyone involved in the project should be held accountable for following through on their commitments. While effective communication is not a silver bullet that will solve all project delays, it may be a valuable tool in mitigating their effects.
Likewise, both quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) are both important tools for mitigating project delays (Vanhoucke, 2019). QC is typically concerned with ensuring that project deliverables meet specific requirements, while QA is focused on preventing defects and ensuring compliance with standards. Together, these two approaches can ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. In many cases, QC and QA activities will be integrated into the project management process. For example, QC checks may be conducted during the design phase to verify that specifications are being met, while QA audits may be conducted during the implementation phase to ensure compliance with quality standards.
Technology is also a common strategy for mitigating the effects of delays in the delivery of construction projects (Sepasgozar et al., 2019). Technology has revolutionized the world of project management. Through project management software, real-time data tracking, and communication tools, managers can now closely monitor their projects and ensure that they stay on schedule. However, there is still debate about the role of technology in mitigating project delays. While it is an essential tool that allows managers to anticipate and avoid problems before they occur, technology may actually contribute to delays by creating new complications, such as skill deficiencies.
In summary, multiple causes of project delivery delays appear in academic literature. Likewise, existing research indicates that there are several strategies to mitigate delays in construction projects. The next chapter discusses the methods that were involved in the study.
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY
The methodology chapter of this research paper will provide a detailed account of the research methods used to collect and analyze data for the study. It will discuss the research design, including the participants and variables. The chapter will also describe the data collection methods and techniques. The chapter will also discuss the data analysis methods of the study and provide readers with a clear understanding of how the research was conducted.
Research philosophy refers to the beliefs and assumptions researchers hold about the world and the methods they use to study it (Park et al., 2020). This study will use positivism as its research philosophy for several reasons. First, positivism assumes that reality is objective and knowable; this aligns with the goal of this study, which is to understand the causes and mitigation strategies for project delivery delays. Additionally, positivism emphasizes the use of empirical data and scientific methods. Since this study will use surveys and interviews, this approach is suitable for collecting reliable data. Finally, positivism upholds the value of objectivity and detachment in research, and this study will aim to maintain a neutral position to avoid bias. Despite the above advantages, positivism has attracted some. This design may be perceived as imposing an over-simplification of reality, which limits the researcher’s ability to identify subtle differences in causal paths (Caldwell, 2015). Secondly, this type of research tends to develop a narrow perspective on complex issues, as it does not allow for exploration of possible alternative explanations. Furthermore, critics have expressed concerns about positivism’s reliance on quantitative data collection methods such as surveys or existing databases (Caldwell, 2015).
The research approach is the way a researcher goes about the study. There are two main approaches, namely, deductive and inductive. Deductive research starts with a hypothesis and then looks for evidence to support it, while inductive research starts with data and builds a hypothesis (Ghauri et al., 2020). This study will use a deductive approach because the researcher already has a hypothesis (certain factors cause delays) and wants to look for evidence to support it. Moreover, deductive reasoning aligns with positivism, unlike the inductive research (Bell et al., 2022).
Quantitative research utilizes numerical data and statistical methods to analyze the data. Qualitative research is based on words and emotions and uses qualitative methods to analyze the data. Additionally, quantitative research is more objective because it relies on numbers rather than opinions. Qualitative research is more subjective than quantitative research (Ghauri et al., 2020), so this study will use quantitative research because the researcher will collect data that may be analyzed using statistical methods.
The data for this study will be collected using a survey questionnaire (Appendix 1). The link questionnaire will be emailed to at least 100 construction project managers. The questionnaire will ask questions about the factors that cause delays in construction projects and what mitigation strategies successfully worked in their teams in the past.
The researcher will use cross-sectional research. Cross-sectional research is a type of research that involves collecting data at a single point in time (Bell et al., 2022). This type of research is often used in studies examining relationships between variables. For this study, cross-sectional research will be used to collect data from construction professionals about the factors that cause delays in construction projects. Alternatively, longitudinal research involves collecting data over a period of time. This type of research is often used in studies that look at changes over time. Longitudinal research would be used if the researcher were interested in studying how the factors that cause delays in construction projects have changed over time. This study will use cross-sectional research because the researcher is only interested in the current beliefs of construction professionals about the causes of delays.
Population and sampling method
The population for this study is construction professionals. The sample for this study will be drawn from a population of construction professionals. A convenience sample will be used to collect data from construction professionals. This type of sampling is often used in studies where the researcher has difficulty accessing the target population. The researcher will use a convenience sample because it will be difficult to access the entire population of construction professionals.
Data analysis method
The data from the survey questionnaire will be analyzed using univariate statistics. Univariate statistics such as frequencies and percentages will be used to summarize the data. Noteworthy, univariate statistics examine individual variables, and not the relationship between different variables.
The participants in this study will be debriefed after they have completed the survey questionnaire. The debriefing will include information about the purpose of the study and the participant’s rights. Additionally, the debriefing will explain how the data will be used and how the participants’ anonymity will be protected.
This chapter discusses the methods that the researcher will use to perform the study. The researcher will collect data from construction professionals using a survey questionnaire. The data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Additionally, the researcher will protect the anonymity of the participants and debrief them after they have completed the survey questionnaire.
OUTLINE OF COMPLETED THESIS
The dissertation will include an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. The introduction chapter discusses the motivation for the research and provides an overview of the paper. The literature review chapter summarizes the relevant previous work in the area, and the methodology chapter describes the experiment or simulations performed. The results chapter presents the data and analyses it to draw conclusions. The discussion chapter interprets the results in terms of their implications for the field and raises questions that could be addressed in future work. The concluding chapter summarizes the paper and its contributions.
Abdallah, A., Assaf, S., & Hassanain, M. A. (2019). Assessment of the consequences of deficiencies in design documents in Saudi Arabia. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 15(4), 282–296.
Alzara, M., Kashiwagi, J., Kashiwagi, D., & Al-Tassan, A. (2016). Using PIPS to Minimize Causes of Delay in Saudi Arabian Construction Projects: University Case Study. Procedia Engineering, 145(1), 932–939. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2016.04.121
Bekr, G. A. (2018). Study and assessment of causes and effects of delay in large public construction projects in Jordan. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 13(8), 6204–6210.
Bell, E., Bryman, A., & Harley, B. (2022). Business research methods. Oxford University Press.
Caldwell, B. (2015). Beyond positivism. Routledge.
Doraisamy, S. V., Akasah, Z. A., & Yunus, R. (2015). An overview on the issue of delay in the construction industry. InCIEC 2014, 313–319.
Durani, F. (2022, September 6). Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 real estate and infrastructure projects top US$ 1.1 trillion. Knight Frank. https://www.knightfrank.ae/research/article/2022-09-06-saudi-arabias-vision-2030-real-estate-and-infrastructure-projects-top-us-11-trillion
Durdyev, S., & Hosseini, M. R. (2019). Causes of delays on construction projects: A comprehensive list. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 13(1), 20–46. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-09-2018-0178
Enrica, M., Purba, H. H., & Purba, A. (2021). Risks leading to cost overrun in construction projects: A systematic literature review. Advance Researches in Civil Engineering, 3(1), 43–60.
Gamez, E. A., & Touran, A. (2010). A quantitative analysis of the performance of transportation projects in developing countries. Transport Reviews, 30(3), 361–387.
Gamil, Y., & Rahman, I. A. (2017). Identification of causes and effects of poor communication in construction industry: A theoretical review. Emerging Science Journal, 1(4), 239–247.
Ghauri, P., Grønhaug, K., & Strange, R. (2020). Research methods in business studies. Cambridge University Press.
Harrison, F., & Lock, D. (2017). Advanced project management: A structured approach. Routledge.
Kerzner, H. (2018). Project management best practices: Achieving global excellence. John Wiley & Sons.
Knight Frank. (2022). Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 real estate and infrastructure projects top US$ 1.1 trillion. https://www.knightfrank.com/research/article/2022-09-06-saudi-arabias-vision-2030-real-estate-and-infrastructure-projects-top-us-11-trillion
Mbala, M., Aigbavboa, C., & Aliu, J. (2018). Causes of delay in various construction projects: A literature review. 489–495.
Nicholas, J. M., & Steyn, H. (2020). Project management for engineering, business and technology. Routledge.
Ofem, E., Ewa, W., & George Stephen, U. (2021). Construction Project Management in the Niger-Delta: Delays and Consequences. Journal of Architecture and Civil Engineering, 6(3), 01–19.
Pall, G. K., Bridge, A. J., Gray, J., & Skitmore, M. (2019). Causes of delay in power transmission projects: An empirical study. Energies, 13(1), 1–29.
Park, Y. S., Konge, L., & Artino, A. R. (2020). The positivism paradigm of research. Academic Medicine, 95(5), 690–694.
Ramli, M. Z., Malek, M. A., Hamid, B., Roslin, N. T., Roslan, M. E. M., Norhisham, S., & Mohd, M. F. (2018). Influence of project type, location and area towards construction delay: A review on significance level of delay factors. International Journal of Engineering & Technology, 7(4.35), 392–399.
Rawat, A., Gupta, S., & Rao, T. J. (2022). A review on prospective risks and mitigation for oil and gas projects: Implication for Indian CGD companies. International Journal of Energy Sector Management, 10(1), 11–28. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJESM-01-2021-0016
Sanni-Anibire, M. O., Mohamad Zin, R., & Olatunji, S. O. (2022). Causes of delay in the global construction industry: A meta analytical review. International Journal of Construction Management, 22(8), 1395–1407.
Schuldt, S., Nicholson, M., & Adams, Y. (2015). II; Delorit, JD Weather-Related Construction Delays in a Changing Climate: A Systematic State-of-the-Art Review. International Journal, 439(1), 1–25.
Sepasgozar, S. M., Karimi, R., Shirowzhan, S., Mojtahedi, M., Ebrahimzadeh, S., & McCarthy, D. (2019). Delay causes and emerging digital tools: A novel model of delay analysis, including integrated project delivery and PMBOK. Buildings, 9(9), 1–37.
Tayade, A. M., & Mahatme, P. S. (2019). Delay in Construction its Causes and Mitigation: A review. International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET), e-ISSN, 2395–0056.
Vanhoucke, M. (2019). Tolerance limits for project control: An overview of different approaches. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 127, 467–479.
Causes of project delivery delays
Unclear project specifications
Adequate resource provision
Appendix 1: Questionnaire
Kindly check the appropriate response.
Age Education level Gender Experience Size of current organization
20-29 High school Male 0-5 years Small
(50 employees or fewer)
30-39 Bachelor’s Degree Female 6-10 years Medium
50-59 Master’s degree 11-15 years Large
(100 or more employees)
PhD 16-20 years
60 and above Over 20 years
Strongly disagree (1) Disagree (2) Neither agree nor disagree (3) Agree (4) Strongly agree (5)
Which of the following have you experienced as sources of project delays?
Unclear project specifications
Which of the following have you experienced as mitigation strategies against project delays?
Adequate resource provision