Nonlinear analysis for ranking and evaluating the singular and collective impacts of project delay factors in Saudi Arabia
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One of the biggest engineering concerns in the Middle East is the major delays in infrastructural projects which impact on both their quality and cost. A significant number of projects do not finish on time, are subject to cost overruns and are not completed to the specified quality. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) claims losses of the order of $ 40 Billion per annum as a result of these issues. Information on the factors contributing to project delays was studied. A literature review which determined the main project delay factors was first carried out. An online survey incorporating 66 of these was then developed with the purpose of identifying the most critical factors contributing to project delays. The survey was administered to over 200 specialists in the area of project engineering. This cohort included; Consultants, Business Owners, Project Directors, Project Engineers, Safety and Quality Managers and Contracting Managers. The resulting critical delay factors were ranked in order of priority based on a Relative Important Index (RII) incorporating dimensions of Frequency and Severity. The non-linear relationships between ‘Project Performance Measures’ (PPMs) and ‘critical delay factors’ in construction projects were modeled using a ‘House of Quality Tool ‘with an innovative double roof. The method enabled the identification of the top 20 critical delay factors with respect to the following PPMs; “Time, Cost, Quality, Safety and Environment”. An extended survey corresponding to the top 20 critical factors was conducted on a real mega-project. The results were used to validate ranking of the individual delay factors and to determine the gaps identified. The highest ranked factors which impacted on all the PPMs were; the unrealistic contract duration by client, the shortage of technical professionals by contractor and inadequate design and specifications by consultant. The lowest ranked factors included; contractor cash flow problems and slow decision making by the client. Group factors of delay were analyzed, ranked, and their impacts evaluated and then verified using Fuzzy Logic. The research confirmed that the contractor is mainly the first party responsible for the delay followed by the client. A proposed management protocol based on the results of the research was developed by using projects classification matrix. It is recommended that this protocol be used by a higher authority of projects for both the public and private sectors. (Abstract)
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