The causes of project delay

Literature review

There have been numerous projects carried out at Al-Kharj city. Some of the projects have signs of progress successfully to their completion while others have encountered various challenges. Despite each of the projects being unique in their design, it is noted that some of the difficulties experienced are universal. The following section evaluates various projects carried out at Al-Kharj city with the aim of highlighting significant challenges, common challenges as well as unique challenges that have acted as an abyss to projects in the past.  According to the article “Analysis of Project Failure Factors for Infrastructure Projects in Saudi Arabia: A Multivariate Approach.” the authors outline some of the major challenges affecting projects in Saudi Arabia as poor risk management strategies, budget overturns, poor communication management strategies, poor estimation practices, cash flow management, design discrepancies, poor change management strategies and inadequate project structure (Ikediashi, 2014).  In the article “Contributors to Schedule Delays in Public Construction Projects in Saudi Arabia: Owners’ Perspective” Mahamid, Ibrahim argues that the main reasons why construction projects in Saudi Arabia encounter challenges are because the bids are awarded for the lowest price. These are an issue because the person who provides the lowest bid may not be in a position to manage the project effectively as they are focused on reducing the cost. Secondly, the lack of effective communication between communication strategies acts as a hindrance for projects as poor communication results in poor coordination between parties. Poor site management is another issue that creates a challenge in construction projects as a failure to manage the site effectively affects all aspects of the construction resulting in delays(Challal&Tkioual,2012).As previously stated, the tenders and contracts are commonly awarded to the lowest bidders. The weakest bidders, more often than not lack contingency funds to hence a delay in payments. Thus creating delays in construction.

On the other hand, some of the owners of the project revise projects hence changing project scope which was not included in the project plan and schedules (Mahamid, 2013). Some project challenges are not limited to a specific area as they can be universal for instance in the “Investigation into the Causes of Delays and Cost Overruns in Uganda’s Public Sector Construction Projects”Henry Alinaitwe, Ruth Apolot and Dan Tindiwensi discovered highlighted the most common issues hindering success of projects in Uganda included remote location of projects, delayed payments, changes in work scope, poor communication, bad weather, land disputes, inadequate planning, unqualified and skilled labor, rework, poor risk management and poor resource management among others(Henry Alinaitwe,n.d)

In the “Schedule Delay in Saudi Arabia Road Construction Projects: Size, Estimate, Determinants and Effects.”Ibrahim Mahamid asserts that poor contract management is a core factor that results in numerous challenges in construction for some reasons. It is apparent that contract management is the core of a project and if the process is carried out unsuccessfully, then the selected contractor will be inadequate and ineffective. A contractor who lacks adequate resources and expertise is bound to struggle in completing projects as they will not be in a position to cater to the needs of the project. Therefore resulting in delayed payments, cash flow issues and quality. It is critical to note that in some cases, having a financially stable contractor may not be the solution to the problems affecting the projects as some governments and project owners may frustrate the contractors by delaying payments. The contractors work based on a schedule, and when the owner fails to make payments on time, then the contractors are forced to use their own money which may affect their ability to complete projects on time. Also, the contractors are required to get licenses and approvals from local authorities. Depending on the location, the local authorities may frustrate the contractors as a form of corruption, seeking bribes to provide them with the necessary documentation. All the above issues have the potential of slowing a large portion of the contractor’s resources hence leading to inadequate funds and stalling of projects (Ibrahim, 2017).

It is apparent that the issues affecting projects especially those involving construction have not been addressed adequately. The problems experienced in today are the same issues that were witnessed over two decades ago as illustrated in the “Delay in the construction of public utility projects in Saudi Arabia” article authored in 1995. The article which is over two decades old highlights the main issues affecting projects as poor management, poor scheduling, poor budgeting, cash flow issues, and poor communication among others(Al-Ghafly, 1995). It is quite discerning that in over two decades, project management in Saudi Arabia still experiences “minor” issues which result in significant hiccups.

In Iraq, things are similar to Saudi Arabia and Uganda despite the latter two being stable countries that are not struggling.  In the journal for civil engineering, G.Beker states in his article “Causes of delay in public construction projects in Iraq” that projects management of projects by both the owners and the contractors are the main issue affecting plans. He further warns project owners on awarding contracts based on the cost of the bid as this greatly diminishes the quality and level of success of projects and therefore suggesting that the criteria select contractors need to be re-evaluated to consider a list of factors(Beker,2015).

The ability to complete projects should be the primary concern of project owners, focusing on the cost of the bid could end up being a very costly affair as the project may encounter numerous challenges. Projects completion requires the commitment of all stakeholders as failure to work as a team creates abysses. Project stakeholders each have roles to play, and it is critical that at the planning stages each of the stakeholders understand their position as well as the consequences associated with failing to meet their objectives(Gunduz et al.,2013). Project owners are considered to be the most significant stakeholders in their projects as not only do they finance the plans but they also hope to attain substantial benefits on the completion of the projects. Therefore, the project owners need to understand that their actions considerably weigh on other stakeholders ability to proceed with the project. In a scenario where the project owner fails to provide the necessary resources on time then, they risk the project stalling. Also, if the project owner is not sure about designs and scope of the project, they will hinder the contractors from completing the job on time(Assbeihat, 2016). The actions of the project owners may frustrate the contractors resulting in conflict, poor quality and stalling of projects. Despite the role of the project owner being significant, the contractor needs to be involved in various project decisions to develop practical solutions to issues. Therefore it is critical that project owners closely monitor the projects(Al-Hazim et al., 2017).

Project assessment strategies including risk management have been identified as one of the leading causes of issues in projects. The majority of project owners public and private alike fail to anticipate the challenges associated with projects(Assbeihat, 2016). Similarly, the contractors also do not conduct a risk assessment before undertaking projects. An issue that results in numerous challenges once the plans have started(Sweis et al.,2008). Project risk management enables both the project owner and the contractor to anticipate a wide variety of risks as well as develop strategies to respond to those risks adequately. Most importantly to note is that risk management strategies are aligned with project management. Project management strategies facilitate effective communication, risk management, resource management, and time management among others. As previously stated, teamwork is crucial as a project included various teams with individual goals. Collectively the purposes of the different team s should be aligned to the project goals and objectives(Shanmugapriya&Subramanian,n.d).

Regardless of the point of view or country, it is apparent causes of challenges in projects are common. It is also evident that despite massive research on the topic, the similar practices are continued from one generation to the next hence consistency in issues for decades(Maseko,2017).



Ikediashi, Dubem I., Stephen O. Ogunlana, and AbdulazizAlotaibi. “Analysis of Project Failure Factors for Infrastructure Projects in Saudi Arabia: A Multivariate Approach.” Journal of Construction in Developing Countries vol. 19, no. 1, 2014, pp. 35.

Mahamid, Ibrahim. “Contributors to Schedule Delays in Public Construction Projects in Saudi Arabia: Owners’ Perspective.” Journal of Construction Project Management and Innovation vol. 3, no. 2, 2013, pp. 608-619.

Henry Alinaitwe, Ruth Apolot, and Dan Tindiwensi, Investigation into the Causes of Delays and Cost Overruns in Uganda’s Public Sector Construction Projects

Ibrahim Mahamid (2017). “Schedule Delay in Saudi Arabia Road Construction Projects: Size, Estimate, Determinants and Effects.” International Journal of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, 6(3), 51-58.

Al-Ghafly, Mohammed Ahmed. Delay in the construction of public utility projects in Saudi Arabia. Diss. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, 1995.‏

Bekr, G. A. (2015). Causes of delay in public construction projects in Iraq. Jordan Journal of Civil Engineering, 9(2)

Gunduz, Murat, Yasemin Nielsen, and Mustafa Ozdemir. “Fuzzy assessment model to estimate the probability of delay in Turkish construction projects.” Journal of Management in Engineering31.4 (2013): 04014055

Assbeihat, J. M. (2016). Factors Affecting Delays on Private Construction Projects. Technology, 7(2), 22-33.

Al-Hazim, N., Salem, Z. A., & Ahmad, H. (2017). Delay and cost overrun in infrastructure projects in Jordan. Procedia Engineering, 182, 18-24.‏

Assbeihat, J. M. (2016). Factors Affecting Delays on Private Construction Projects. Technology, 7(2), 22-33.‏

Sweis, G., Sweis, R., Hammad, A. A., &Shboul, A. (2008). Delays in construction projects: The case of Jordan. International Journal of Project Management, 26(6), 665-674.

S.Shanmugapriya,Dr.K.Subramanian “Investigation of Significant Factors Influencing Time and Cost Overruns in Indian Construction Projects”

Maseko, M. C. (2017) Corporate Control: The Root Cause of Reworks in the Construction of Projects. Corporate Ownership and Control 15(1), 213-223.

Challal, A. &Tkiouat, M. (2012). Identification of the causes of deadline slippage in construction projects: State of the art and application. Journal of Service Science and Management 5(2), 151-159.

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