Risks Events Associated With Construction Projects

Introduction

The construction is considered one of the biggest and critical industry towards economic development of a country. However, the sector contributes to almost 35% of the world economy (Jayasudha and Vidivelli 6946). This is owing to the job opportunities, returns property owners are entitled to, and the amount of revenue it injects into the national budget. The equipment, materials, and heavy machinery used in the sector are of high value and give many proceeds to the stakeholders involved in the industry. However, some emerging trends are adversely affecting construction projects posing severe threats to the parties associated. Over 30% of workplace fatalities are associated with the construction sector globally (Jayasudha and Vidivelli 6947). Some workers’ personality traits are unfavorable, leading to unsafe behaviors, poor decision making, and accidents on sites. The effects of nighttime construction are posing both safety and quality concerns. Construction delays also affect the overall quality and cost of the projects. In this paper, risks associated with construction events such as personality traits, nighttime construction, and delays will be evaluated, and recommendations to mitigate the risks are suggested for future considerations.

Risks Associated with Personality Traits and Unsafe Behaviors

Different personalities exhibit diverse behavior patterns at workplaces, and this can be both positive and negative. Characteristics of workers are directly related to the probability of them being involved in accidents. According to Gao et al., personality trait correlates with safety behaviors and accident occurrence. In their research, the personality of construction workers and safety behaviors were explored. It was concluded that the conscientiousness trait is strongly related to safety behavior followed by agreeableness, neuroticism, and extraversion (6). Conscientiousness personality trait enables individuals to be careful and responsible for their safety.

Agreeableness makes an individual more concerned about their colleagues, while neuroticism indicates how individuals are emotional, outgoing, and friendly towards others. John, a carpenter working on a construction site, occasionally failed to adhere to safety regulations. According to his supervisors, John was an extrovert, optimistic, energetic, and joyful person in his life. The extroversion trait contributed to his risk-taking behaviors, including failing to use safety equipment and taking shortcuts. Sometimes he could ignore safety rules to sustain competitive advantages over other colleagues. Even after a series of warnings from his supervisor and safety manager, he failed to follow safety procedures.

Unfortunately, on one occasion John fell off from the 7th floor while repairing scaffolding and died on the spot since he did to wear safety belt and helmet. The incident impacted negatively on stakeholders, including his family, which had to cope with his demise. Authorities closed the site, forcing both the contractor and the owner to incur losses. From this incident, it is apparent that the personality traits of individuals strongly relate to safety behaviors. Unsafe behaviors can result in project delays, injuries, deaths, and financial losses (Dong et al. 911). However, some of these risks can be avoided by ensuring everyone adheres to safety precautions on construction sites. Through safety assemblies, workers can be taught and reminded of the regulations. In John’s case, the risk could have been transferred or turned into an opportunity by assigning him in areas with lower risks and awarding him bonuses when he achieves more. Additionally, to ensure the same risks do not occur in the future, the site manager should consider the personality traits of workers before allocating tasks and during training to make learning more relevant.

Risks Associated with Nighttime Construction

Road construction earns more profits to the contractors compared to other projects. However, it is considered the most dangerous occupation globally, with over 55% of incidents occurring on sites (Oqunrinde et al. 1). Due to unfavorable conditions such as low visibility brought about by dust and bad weather, many accidents are reported daily. Delays are also rampant in road construction sites since contractors have to cope with motorists. As a result of these reasons, some builders have resorted to working at nighttime when few motorists are using the road. Reduced traffic disruptions and diversions make it the most preferred time to achieve higher productivity at lower costs. However, according to Oqunrinde et al., quality and safety cannot be guaranteed during night hours compared to daytime (5). Their research applied percent within limits (PWL) to examine the rideability quality of nighttime and daytime asphalt paving projects in South Carolina. The study determined that there was no difference in the rideability of asphalt pavement done at night or daytime. However, there are concerns about the longtime quality of the roads.

Due to low lighting, poor visibility, fatigue, and drowsiness among workers, delays, accidents, and deaths can occur at night. In Robert’s case study, a truck driver who lost control and hit an oncoming vehicle killing six people and injuring ten, was associated with fatigue and lack of sleep. Robert had not slept for two days before the incident due to work pressure. Unfortunately, due to the incident, the work was suspended, causing delays and financial loss. The families of the victims sued for damages, and the contractor had to spend a significant amount of money on the lawsuits. Casual workers who depended on the project for their daily livelihood had to go for several days without work.

The incident shows that nighttime construction can result in safety issues, property destruction, financial loss, and low quality. To avoid and mitigate such risks, the site manager should employ appropriate construction management practices by ensuring proper scheduling of works highlighting every worker’s roles and shifts. This can ensure no worker is engaged for more than eight hours in a day and so everyone can get enough sleep and rest. The proper lighting should be installed at work stations and on construction trucks for good visibility (Qaziet al. 1193). Training programs on safety measures should be carried out regularly. Nighttime construction is convenient, and if proper management is done, contractors can obtain substantial returns. The government can benefit from early completion of projects due to economic gains.

Risks Associated with Delays and Cost Overrun

Expansion of infrastructure is vital to the economic growth of any country. Construction projects are only viable when optimal requirements in terms of time, quality, and cost limitations are maintained. However, whenever one of these three elements is compromised, financial losses and disputes arise, affecting stakeholders. In their research on factors affecting construction projects in Oman, Al Amri and Pérez highlighted that changes in the scope, poor communication and management, and unavailability of materials can adversely affect project schedule and initial cost estimates (89). In Bingo Contractors’ case study, the client decided to change the floor plan to create more rooms in an office building. Before commencing the implementation of the changes made, the contractor had to calculate cost implications. This meant more money had to be injected into the project as opposed to the initial plan. The architect and other consultants were also hesitant to approve of the changes leading to over four months of delay.

Since the delays were majorly caused by clients and other stakeholders, apart from compensation for changes, the contractor further submitted a claim for reparation for equipment and overhead costs. The latter was rejected, leading to further disputes among parties. As a result of poor planning, the client was forced to make changes leading to time wastage, over cost, mistrust, claims, and lawsuits. If a professional construction claim consultant did forensic schedule analysis, suspensions and lawsuits could have been avoided. Delays and cost overruns can be further mitigated through appropriate planning. Potential risks should be put into consideration and timeline adjustment in case of any changes (Szymański 178). Management should also establish a proper communication channel between parties to avoid disputes in the future. Whenever the scope is changed, it should work in favor of the contractor since more work yield more returns. Bingo should exploit the opportunity and ensure it earns more money from additional activities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the personality traits of workers correlate with safety behaviors and accidents on construction sites. Extrovert individuals are risk-takers; they take shortcuts to gain an advantage over colleagues and fail to adhere to rules. Such individuals, if assigned to operate machines can lead to accidents. Nighttime construction is advantageous due to minimal disruptions compared to daytime operations. But without proper planning and management, quality and safety issues can arise, leading to financial loss and accidents. Changes in scope, failure by consultants to make approvals, and lack of materials can lead to delays and cost overruns. However, with proper management, communications between parties, and workers’ training on safety precautions, all these risks can be avoided, enabling the completion of projects within the time frame, budgeted costs, and desired quality.

References

Amri, Tariq and Pérez, Manuel. “Towards a sustainable construction industry: Delays and cost overrun causes in construction projects of Oman.” Growing Science, vol. 5, no. 2, 2020, pp. 87-102. Web.

Dong, Suocheng, et al. “An evaluation of the economic, social, and ecological risks of China-Mongolia-Russia high-speed railway construction and policy suggestions.” Journal of Geographical Sciences, vol. 28, no. 7, 2018, pp. 900-918. Web.

Gao, Yifan., et al. “Exploring the relationship between construction workers’ personality traits and safety behavior.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 146, no. 3, 2020 pp. 1-16. Web.

Jayasudha, K., and B. Vidivelli. “Analysis of major risks in construction projects.” ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, vol. 11, no. 11, 2016, pp. 6943-6950. Web.

Oqunrinde, Olugbenro., et al. “Effect of Nighttime Construction on Quality of Asphalt Paving.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 146, no. 9, 2020, pp. 1-23. Web.

Qazi, Abroon, et al. “Project Complexity and Risk Management (ProCRiM): Towards modelling project complexity driven risk paths in construction projects.” International Journal of Project Management, vol. 34, no. 7, 2016, pp. 1183-1198. Web.

Szymański, Paweł. “Risk management in construction projects.” Procedia Engineering, vol. 208, 2017, pp. 174-182. Web.

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