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Housing is an important indicator for determining the level of development of a society or country. Nigeria has high deficit of housing needs for her citizens and mass housing has been identified as a strategy for filling the gap. The construction of housing requires expertise from the players of the industry especially the constructors (Contractors) to ensure safe and hygienic housing. But absence of requisite knowledge and skills amongst mass housing contractors has been identified as part of the key contributors to the continuous decline in the performance of the Nigerian mass housing construction projects. This research presented findings of an exploratory study aimed at determining the key knowledge and skills required for performance of contractors in construction project delivery. A total of 200 questionnaires were distributed to Architects, Builders, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers working either in consultancy or client organisations. Feedback received from these professionals were analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of SPSS 16.0. Results indicated three broad categories of knowledge and skills that support performance of contractors in construction project delivery: managerial, technical and generic knowledge and skills. Twenty seven (27) identified knowledge and skills underlying the three broad categories were found to fall between moderate to high impact on contractors‘ performance with weighted mean values between 3.26-4.35. The levels of the contractors‘ proficiency in the identified knowledge and skills areas were also analysed. The result suggests knowledge and skills gap with weighted mean values between 2.68-3.37 which need to be resolved through contractors training and education. Ten (10) skills and knowledge areas were found to be core due to their high impact on contractors‘ performance; these are project management and leadership, construction technology, financial management, building code and regulations, communication, teamwork and relationship management, human resource management, creative and innovative ability , risk management, and trade-specific technical know-how. The identified core knowledge and skills was therefore recommended as the basis for contractors‘ education and training programme aimed at improving their performance in the Nigerian mass housing sector.




Housing is an important indicator of the physical, economic and social development of any

nation. It is difficult to talk about the success of a nation, or a society within a nation without

analyzing its housing situation. Housing is one of the best indicators of a person‘s standard of

living and his or her place in the society (Nubi, 2000). Housing represents one of the most

basic human needs. As a unit of the environment, it has a profound influence on the health,

efficiency, social behavior, satisfaction and general welfare of the community (Onibokun

1998). Housing provides a link between the physical development of a city, and its social and

economic outcomes. The availability of decent housing for each family defines the level of

development which the country has reached. This is because the social and economic wealth

of the country can only co-exist with good housing (Alao, 2009).

In 2005 Nigeria housing deficit is estimated to be between 12million to 14 million (Adejumo,

2008 and Oluwaluyi, 2008). According to Babade (2007), to adequately house the urban

population in Nigeria, a conservative figure of 409,227 housing units should have been

constructed in 1990. Due to neglect, the figure rose to 783,042 units in 1995; 1,333,176 units

in the year 2000; 1,543,318 units in 2003 and 2,171,603 units in 2010. This is serious,

considering the great significance of the housing sector to the Countries economy. The

estimated amount required to provide for the deficit housing units is estimated at US$150-

200 billion. The United Nations estimates that Nigeria‘s population to be 141 million in

2005, and predicted that it would reach 289 million by 2050 (Encarta, 2007). This means the

demand and supply will continue to widen if nothing is done immediately. In order to close

the deficit gap, researchers suggest that mass housing is the solution. It will provide high

number of housing stock in a short time at a lower cost (Okpala, 1985; Onibokun, 1985;


Nubi, 2000; Ahadzie et al., 2007 and Alao, 2009). Nigerian government at different levels

adopted the mass housing scheme to meet this urgent need instead of dealing with it one by

one (economics of scale). Mass house building projects constitute the single largest

construction sector in terms of employment of human resources and value-added in most

economies (Wells, 1999; Zawdie & Langford, 2000). Subsequently, in many developing

countries, these projects have, by and large, emerged as the largest and most established

project based sector in project management practice. In Abuja the predominant construction

activity is mass housing, Abuja is the fastest growing capital city in Africa. These houses

most often fail in performance when constructed. According to Ogunlana et al., (1996) the

failure of any construction project is mainly related to problems in performance.

This failure in performance is attributed to stakeholders carrying out construction activities

which the contractor is one of the key players in the delivery of the project objectives (Xiao

& Proverbs, 2002). The correct choice of construction contractor(s) to deliver project

objectives as design is a critical function of either the client or the client‘s consultant/project

manager. It usually has a significant impact on the success or failure of a project. The

performance of a project will definitely correlate with the performance of a contractor (Ajayi

& Ogunsanmi, 2010). The Nigerian construction industry is beset with many problems, such

as uncompleted projects, poor quality of work, low productivity, non-compliance with

specifications/standards, use of substandard building materials and equipments, the

employment of incompetent contractors, lack       of technical education (knowledge),

managerial skills and finance (Aniekwu & Okpala, 1998; Oloyede, et al., 2010; Ajayi &

Ogunsanmi, 2010).

A focus on contractors‘ upskilling needs is therefore crucial especially in mass housing

sector which constitute a major component of construction activities in Abuja. The

acquisition of relevant knowledge and skills is crucial for cont

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