Factors Influencing Performance of Contractors in the Road Construction Sector: Case of Selected Contractors in Kenya
The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing performance of contractors in the road sector: case of selected contractors in Kenya. The objectives of the study were to establish the influence of working capital on performance of contractors in the road construction sector, to assess the influence of skilled manpower on performance of contractors in the road construction sector, to examine how organization structure influence performance of contractors in the road construction sector, and to establish the influence of client support on performance of contractors in the road construction sector. The study employed descriptive research design. The target population was 156 respondents which include; 51 selected road contractors, 60 engineers working in road authorities, 5 technical auditors and 40 consultants in the road sector. Stratified sampling technique was employed in coming up with a sample size of 62 respondents. The study relied mostly on primary data sources where self-administered questionnaire were utilized as source of data. The data collected was both qualitative and quantitative. Collected data was coded and entered into Statistical Packages for Social Scientists SPSS Version (21.0) and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings were presented in form of tables while explanation was presented in prose. The findings were that all the four factors; working capital, skilled manpower, organization structure and client support have influence on performance of contractors in the road sector. It was noted that working capital and organization structure have the highest influence followed by skilled manpower and client support in that order of significance. Less than 25 percent of road projects were completed within the initial contract period. Working capital is critical in ensuring smooth construction operations, skilled man power enable the construction company to achieve overall goals of the company, strong organizational structure offers a comprehensive management plan that is easier to create and execute, client support, which include prompt payments and approvals, stakeholder involvement, early land acquisition, helped to curb project delays, cost overruns, stalling and/ or abandonment. The conclusion is that availability of working capital, skilled manpower, organization structure and client support all had a positive influence on performance of contractors in the road construction sector. Contractors need to have a reliable working capital base. The recommendations for improvement in working capital include; contractors to form public private partnerships with financiers and government who may be willing to finance major road construction projects, legislation be put in place to ensure clear timelines for payments and spell out penalties for default and establishment of a bank for construction industry. Other recommendations include training and skill up-gradation within construction firms and establishment of more middle level technical colleges in order to improve availability of skilled manpower. Construction firms also need to have a flexible dynamic organizational structure as existence of strong organizational structure was found to be the core from which the successful implementation of road construction projects was founded, client support in form of prompt payments and approvals, involvement of stakeholders, early land acquisition and project coordination are necessary to ensure enhanced performance of contractors in the road sector to ensure timely, cost effective and quality completion of road projects.
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