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  Chapter 1


1.1 Introduction

In this chapter brief information about background of construction industry and delays were presented. After that the main reason of conduction this research is provided. Therefore, a short description of purpose and achievements are clarified and at the end, thesis guideline is included a conception of framework of this master thesis.

1.2 Background Information

Delays in construction industry have always been issue of apprehension for construction management researchers. Ahmed et al. (2003) recognized delay as the most mutual, complex and universal phenomenon in construction which is typified by cost and time overruns (see also Abdul-Rahman et al., 2006; Arditi et al., 1985; Alaghbari et al., 2007; Xiao and Proverbs, 2002; Ahmed et al., 2003; Al-Khalil and Al-Ghafly, 1999). Arditi et al. (1985) even considered the brutality of delays in construction to have possible effects on the state of the overall economy of a country.

Most of the researchers in the field of construction management have tried to investigate the causes and effects of construction delays. For example, 70% of the construction projects in Saudi Arabia have been estimated to experience some form of delay (Assaf and Al-Hejji, 2006). In Nigeria, it has also been mentioned that seven out of ten projects suffered time overruns (Odeyinka and Yusif, 2002). Another investigation in Malaysia determined that 17.3% of 417 public projects experienced a time overrun of around three months in 2005 (Sambasivan and Soon, 2007). All of these studies prove the fact that little has changed in spite of all the research into delays in construction.

All participants in a construction project (client, contractor and consultant) have important role in project completion; so their attention can negatively or positively affect the performance of project. In the other words, contributors with different skills and background experience have different curiosity and assumption (Dey and Ogunlana, 2004). Actually the importance of choosing the correct project delivery method (PDM) has not been understood by many countries and some organizations (specially Iranian government) are not thinking about the consequence of this selection, because the wrong choice could causes a lot of risk and delay for a project. In normal way, this major problem could be the main reason of time overrun and cost overrun plus low quality of the final project. 

For the aim of this study, Iranian construction industry was chosen as the case study. Alike other countries, Iranian companies come across with different types of delay such as financial, technical, contractual or governmental. This research will investigate the most useful project delivery method (PDM) in Iran considering how the different delays will effect on each selected PDM. 

This study has facing on a case study to examine how different project delivery methods could be causes of different delays during building and road project.

Therefore, questionnaire survey was selected as the research method in order to collect information and then with the asset of SPSS program, delay of each method was ranked and discussed.

1.3 Purposes and Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to identify major causes of delays in different project delivery method within Iranian construction industry through the evaluation of Iranians’ perception about new and different project delivery method. To do so, the main objectives of this research have been assessed as:

•      To identify and categorize the most major and common delays in the Iranian construction industry;

•      To compare selected project delivery methods and identify the most catastrophic delays in each method;

•      To choose and select which project delivery method is suitable according to the political and economical situation of Iran.

In order to accomplish these objectives, the following research questions have been adjusted to support the research:

i. What are the most catastrophic delays that cause cost overrun and time overrun during a construction project? ii. What kinds of project delivery methods are being uses across the world and which one is suitable to be used in Iran?

1.4 Research Methodology

Robson (2002) projected that designing of research methodology is about changing the question of research into the study project. In this case, the type of research methodology is an anatomical one. In this regard, questionnaire survey technique was selected to gather the data and make further analysis. 

The preparation of questionnaire will be described briefly in chapter 3. The questionnaire was arranged as a result of a number of research articles and books in the field of construction management. The developed sample of the questionnaire can be found in Appendix A. 

1.5 Achievements

In order to succeed the mentioned objectives of research, the following points were achieved:

•      The selected causes of delays were divided into six groups: client, contractor, consultant, public authorities, contractual relationship and external. Based on the results of questionnaires survey, there were 36 delays, which frequently happened during construction projects. Among recognized delays, “delay in progress payments by owner” was the most catastrophic parameter on the construction projects. 

•      Project delivery methods in Iran are limited to few ones and it could be because of lack of knowledge or unavailability of experienced people in this field. But according to this research with a little bit change in structure of

Iranian construction industry the BOT method could be perfectly suitable for

Iranian governmental projects. 

•      Iranian companies usually wait till delays happen in their project and then deal with it by their experience and have argument to other related parties such as consultants or contractors to make them feel guilty and be more responsible during the rest of project while sometimes the mistake happened because of their irresponsibility. 

1.6 Thesis Guideline

The research began with some basic information and background knowledge on construction management and defining objectives and purpose of this research. Then, literature review provides a brief data about types of delay and project delivery methods, performed in different studies and countries. In further part, description of applied methodology to analyze data has been pronounced. Consequently, data collection and analysis from questionnaire survey are presented in next part of research. Then, results from questionnaires are discussed and some recommended actions are proposed in order to diminish problems. At the end, conclusions, answering questions and recommendations for future work are delivered. All mentioned progressions are divided into five chapters, which are separately described below.

Chapter 2 provides literature review that is brief information about types of delays which occurred in different research studies. Also the selected delays have been categorized separately. In this section the different project delivery methods which performed in different countries are presented.

Chapter 3 provides specific and complete information about how the research will go on and which method is suitable and more reliable to use in the case study. Also some main definitions about statistical package for the social sciences are presented.

In chapter 4 the collected data form each portion of questionnaire is presented and answer of first section of questionnaire shows with bar chart. Also this chapter is including the reliability test of research according to Cronbach’s alpha coefficient.

Chapter 5 provides the outcomes of identified delays from different viewpoint of each respondent are shown in different figures and tables. Also, data analysis and the results have been presented. Thus, findings from questionnaire survey are argued in details. Finally, main causes of delay and recommended actions to ease and control the effect of them are presented.

Chapter 6 presents the conclusions of the research and offers some recommendations for further work. Also the questions of thesis have been answered and the final achievement of the research is determined in it.

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