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This study “innovation process and practices in construction industry in Anambra State of Nigeria” examined and assessed the level of innovation in the construction industry. An analysis of the relevant literatures was carried out. The analysis revealed that there are innovation drivers that facilitate or inhibit innovation in the construction industry. These include clients, manufacturers, professional bodies, academic institutions, government, consultants and contractors. The literature review shows that attention to these key influences would be a key component of effective innovation strategy. A field survey was carried out to actually ascertain how innovation has fared in the construction industry. Variables were drawn from the literature review and the data generated were analysed using simple percentages (&) and mean scores. The responses from the respondents revealed that the construction industry in Anambra State has really not effected acceptable level of innovative processes and practices. Patnering / collaboration is not practiced and encouraged. Also the unhealthy rivalry and disharmony that often exist among construction professionals, inhibits innovation practices. The building code which itself is an innovation lacks an appropriate legislation for its enforcement. The study recommends that professional bodies, the academia and indeed all stakeholders in the construction industry need to intensify effort towards innovative processes and practices. Government should in particular encourage indigenous construction firms through the award of contract that require high technical experience such as high rise building and bridge construction. Efforts should be made by the relevant government agencies or authorities to enforce the building code through appropriate legislation.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In most developed and developing countries of the world the need for innovation in the construction industry has long been stressed from within and outside the industry.
Changes in global markets, increased customer expectations, need for new technologies and processes, improving existing products and services, and government pressure, have all led to innovation which is becoming a key focus for the construction industry. The industry is fast evolving as the world is evolving, changing and seeking more integration, innovation and better services in all sectors of the economy. Most nations are seeking how to improve their standards of living; others are seeking to protect their environment. Most nations are seeking innovative means towards every sector of the economy, thus providing public services and products that are innovatively conceived.
The construction industry is almost seen as the backbone of every other sector of any nations economy. That is why Seadan et al (2001), stated that the industry accounts for about 15% of the national product of most nations. This not withstanding, the industry is perceived as not being innovative for various reasons such as the nature of construction industry, its regulations and standards etc. Therefore attention ought to be given to the industry in determining its level of innovation and innovation practices, otherwise it will affect the activities of other sectors in any economy. The reasons are that if new ideas in the industry are not developed, how could better facilities of construction products be used in other sectors of an economy.
In Nigeria, the construction industry has been characterized by poor performance and productivity. Osofisan (2007), criticizes the Nigerian construction industry for being one of the slowest to integrate technological advancement. The Nigerian construction industry is however, a large industry and does contribute largely to the economic growth of the nation, but most elements especially of materials and technology that make up the construction process are not proudly Nigerian. If innovation and innovative practices are adopted in the industry, costs could be saved, utilization of resources could be more efficient, adjustment for the sustainability of the environment could be improved etc., These and other construction demands could be met; either by solving them with existing knowledge or by creating new solutions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Lack of innovation or innovative ideas hinder the performance of the construction industry and other sectors of the economy by inefficient utilization of resources.
Costs, time and quality standards are most times not achieved due to lack of creativity and innovation.
Lack of innovation and creativity in the construction industry could result to;
1. Lack of development of previously unseen technology and processes.
2. Reduction of new inputs to existing technology and processes.
3. Inhibiting the penetration of existing market.
4. Inhibiting the improvement of existing strategies and management techniques.
The construction experts, the government and indeed all stakeholders in construction must evolve ways and means of introducing new ideas to improve construction.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study is to examine the exiting innovative construction processes and practices, and assess the level of innovation in the construction industry in Anambra State, with the following objectives:
1. To examine current innovative practices in the construction industry.
2. To determine those factors that drive and inhibit innovation in the industry.
3. To determine how innovation could be encouraged in the industry.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
Innovation in construction is a vast area of study cutting across, technology, management, construction material manufacture, marketing and channel strategies of construction companies.
The focus of this study is on the technology and construction management aspect of innovation in the industry. The study investigated the current innovative practices and their impact on the Nigerian construction industry. The study covers three (3) major stakeholders i.e. (clients, contractors and consultants) in the construction industry, which will be limited to Anambra State of Nigeria.
The study was however limited by some difficulties which were encountered in the course of administering questionnaire. These include:
· Some questionnaires were returned uncompleted.
· Some were not returned on time as promised which necessitated frequent visits to respondents. This consumed a lot of time and money.
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