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The relationship between the value chain and project success in the Malawian construction industry

The construction industry in Malawi plays a vital role in developing the infrastructure of the country that is in need of improvement. Thus, in order to improve the quality of infrastructure in Malawi, the construction industry has to perform better than the status quo. The construction industry is characterised by a complex value chain that comprises of clients, consultants, contractors, and material manufacturers, suppliers, financing institutions, knowledge organisations and regulatory authority. This research looks at the relationship between construction value and project success in the Malawian construction industry. A qualitative research method was used for compiling the primary data for the study. Twenty-nine (29) participants were interviewed. These participants represented clients, consultants, contractors and material suppliers. The findings reveal that value creation in Malawi is characterised by lack of harmonised standards and specifications, inconsistent project management practices, existence of non-value adding activities, corrupt practices, lack of a skilled labour force, and lack of commitment to best practices in H&S as well as environmental management. Further, logistical problems affect the supply of construction materials to the country; while an unfavourable economic environment makes pricing of materials a challenge in the country too. Poor communication and limited use of information technology (IT) is very common in the industry and project implementation is also affected by a poor road network, an intermittent power supply, and a lack of cooperation from other service providers. In terms of supply chain structures in use, the research revealed that the traditional procurement method that is based on the lowest bidder / price is the most dominant method in use and very few members of the construction industry are conversant with other procurement methods. The method is also the preferred procurement method used by public sector clients. The performance of the traditional procurement method largely depends on the competence of the project design and supervision team, the adequacy of the documentation, and the capacity of the contractor. However, in most cases the system has failed to perform due to the poor contract management skills of the supervising consultant and the lack of timely guidance from the public sector clients. The findings also revealed that most of the suppliers or subcontractors are engaged on project based relationships, and members of the industry are unwilling to engage in long terms relationships due to mistrust and greed among members of the industry, and also largely due to lack of proper frameworks that can support such relationships. It is therefore recommended that other procurement methods should be explored and the engagement of the lowest price bidders should be discontinued on small and medium scale projects. The criteria for upgrading contractors to higher categories should equally be revisited to eliminate incompetent contractors. The NCIC should take a leading role in harmonising the various standards and specifications in use in the country. Promotion of the usage IT services should be encouraged to facilitate faster information dissemination. Usage of risk management in construction and evaluation and monitoring of projects should be encouraged and benchmark best practices. Finally, the members of the industry should take up the responsibility to take leading entities in the industry to task, if fundamental changes are to take place in the industry.
Date January 2013
CreatorsKadangwe, Samuel Ronald
PublisherNelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeThesis, Masters, MSc
Formatxvi, 166 leaves, pdf
RightsNelson Mandela Metropolitan University

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