An investigation into factors causing delays in road construction projects in Kenya
Seboru, Msafiri A
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The majority of road construction projects in Kenya do not get completed within the initially set targets of time. Project delays frustrate the process of development, have an immeasurable cost to the society, and also lead to loss of reputation of the parties involved in the concerned projects. Project delays are a common problem in the international construction industry of today. Investigating the reasons for delay has become an important contribution to improved construction industry performance. Delays are usually accompanied by cost and time overruns. Over seventy percent of projects initiated in Kenya are likely to escalate in time with a magnitude of over fifty percent. For instance the construction of Langata and Jogoo Roads in Nairobi took an inordinately long time to complete. Roads contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction. Road infrastructure impacts on overall economic growth, agricultural growth, urban growth, urban poverty reduction, and rural poverty reduction. Without infrastructure, efficient markets, adequate health care, a diversified rural economy, and sustained economic growth will remain elusive. The real causes of project delays have been observed to be poor financial management by clients, inadequate designs, and poor management of the construction process by the parties involved in project implementation. There is also a tendency for the main stakehola~rs.to be overly optimistic when it comes to estimating costs and ;"" -, time scales for large public projects. There is often a good deal of deceit at the planning stages of large prestigious projects by politicians and professionals alike, with a view to getting projects started. Delays are caused by external as well as internal factors to the project. Examples of external factors include politician's interference, inflation and interest rates. Examples of internal factors include contractor's cash flow, design change by engineer, and inadequate planning/scheduling. Out of the 141 variables studied 30 factors were found to be significant. Out of the 30 significant factors three were found to be most significant with respect to contribution to delays and these three factors are payment by c-lient,slow decision making and bureaucracy in client organisation, and claims in that order of merit. It is recommended that clients should improve their financial management systems so that they could be able to pay contractors in a timely manner. Bureaucracy and red tape should be reduced in client organisations in order to speed up the slow decision making process. Efficient management of the construction process will also lead to a reduction in incidences of claims.