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International Journal of Project Management

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Investigation of the most significant causes of delays in the highway construction projects in Libya is carried out using primary and secondary data, which are collected in the course of the research study. Secondary data comprises thorough literature review, including analysis of similar studies in Libya and other developing countries, as well as analysis of publicly available official data. Potential reasons of delays in the highway construction projects correspond with survey questionnaire, which is consistent with the literature. Primary data comprises information that is obtained from the survey of contractors. Several structured interviews are carried out with consultants in the field of highway construction, in order to obtain additional qualitative information that was not captured with quantitative survey tools.

Based on the results of previous studies, following groups of delays’ causes in the highway construction projects are found to be the most common. First of all, the delays are caused by construction-related issues (site accidents, shortage of supply of materials, etc.); financial and economic reasons (problems with cash flow, delay in payments for the completed work, etc.); administrative and management causes (slow decision-making, executive bureaucracy, etc.). Other reasons include; design-related (mistakes during construction, conflicts of the specification and drawings, etc.), and external causes, such as poor weather conditions, religious factors, among others (Tumi, Omran & Pakir, 2009). At the same time, causes of delays in the highway construction projects can be classified by the source of delay. These factors include causes associated with contractors (improper construction methods, inadequate contractor’s experience, etc.); clients (owner’s interference, payment delays, etc.); consultants (poor contract management, improper quality assurance and long waiting time for inspection and tests). Moreover, delays associate with issues, such as materials (shortage and poor quality of materials); equipment and labor shortage (low labor productivity); contract issues (discrepancies in the contract), and others (Sambasivan & Soon, 2007). Therefore, survey questionnaire is designed to gather information about respondents, general information about construction company and extensive description and self-evaluation of causes and effects of delay in the highway construction projects.

Previous studies about reasons of delay in the highway construction projects are based on the descriptive statistical analysis of the collected data. Tumi, Omran and Pakir (2009) study importance of causes of delays in the highway construction(in Libya), by using the mean value criterion. Estimation approach of this research paper is based on the evaluation of the relative importance of factors that was adopted by Kometa, Olomolaiye and Harris (1994) and Sambasivan and Soon (2007). By means of using the relative importance index approach, relative importance of different reasons and effects of delays in the highway construction projects is determined. Given the five-point scale of the cause’s importance evaluation (with 1 corresponding to not noteworthy and 5 – highly important), corresponding Relative Importance Indices (RII) have been estimated in the following way. Relative Importance Index of the cause is the sum of weights (in the range from 1 to 5) assigned by every respondent to the cause divided by the product of the total number of respondents and the highest weight, assigned to the cause. As a result, the Relative Importance Index varies from 0 to 1. The higher the value of the RII, the higher significance this cause of delay is considered to be. Consequently, estimated Relative Importance Index for every cause can be used in ranking of causes of delay in order to identify what causes are more influential compared to others. Similarly, Relative Importance Index approach can be applied to the effects of delays in the highway construction projects. Hence, cross section comparison of causes and effects of delays in the highway construction projects allows identifying key reasons of delay and their outcomes. Based on the estimation results, potential solutions and recommendations are suggested to eliminate delays and their negative effect.

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