Planning in construction involve defining the activities, actions, time, cost, durations and performance milestone which will result into successful completion of the project. Previous researches attributed insufficient construction planning to Nigerian indigenous construction companies, this insufficiency in construction planning was found to contribute to their low productivity, profitability, time overrun and cost overrun. This study was carried out to assess construction project planning of indigenous contractors with a view to enhance their performance. The objectives of the research were to assess contractors’ perception of construction project planning, articulation of contractors’ current method of construction project planning and assessing the efficiency of each contractor’s method of planning construction projects. The methodology of the research involve use of  purposive sampling technique, sample size of 50 companies was determined using 90% confidence level from a population size of 1920 calculated with  sample size table and formula. Questionnaire was self-administered to respondents, questionnaire (A) was administered to project managers of the organizations which contains questions that aim at assessing how organizations plan and what planning entails in their organizations, this questionnaire record 83% response rate. Questionnaire (B) was administered to professionals in the organizations who manage construction on site, questionnaire (B) aim at assessing the effectiveness of construction planning, problems associated with construction planning and how to improve construction planning, questionnaire (B) records 88% response rate. Questionnaires were analyzed and results was presented in tables and bar charts. Findings from the research revealed that construction project planning is insufficient and requires improvement.



1.1 Background of the Study

The guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge PM BOK (2004) defined project to be a temporary human effort which has definite start and finishing date and also has clear objectives. Henry (2006) identified project to be made up of group of interrelated activities constrained by specific scope, budget and time to deliver specified product or service.   Example of projects are construction of a house, building a software and accomplishing a space mission. Hence, a project is characterized by time, scope and objectives.

Construction activities also shares features of a project, this is because construction involve transforming raw materials, finished or semi-finished goods using management, manpower and technology with in an agreed specification of time, quality  into a facility.  Abimbola (2013) defined construction as series of actions undertaken by an entity which produce, modify or altar building or infrastructure.

Regardless of the nomenclature, every project involve accomplishment of distinct or interconnected stages, these stages are conceptualization, planning execution and completion, and they are termed the project life cycle. For a project to be successful, every aspect of it needs to be prepared or planned. Project planning was defined by PM BOK (2000) as that stage of a project which identify the project activities and how each of the activities will be accomplished. The purpose of planning project is to identify each major task, estimate time and resources required, and provide a frame work for management or owners to review and control its progress.

Construction project planning involve defining the work to be done, its objectives and constraints, choice of methodology and technology on how the construction will be carried out. It also involve identifying key activities that must be accomplished, their sequence and any possible interconnection between activities.

Construction project share similar life cycle with projects of other industries, but Emad (2009) indicated that construction project are unique, because most of the time construction project produce facilities that house or serve as means of future production, they deal with geographical differences, involve assembling of team hired for a specific purpose. According to Abimbola (2013), Construction project also consume a lot of physical materials and make use of physical tools and machineries, they involve several stakeholders and are labour intensive. Due to their unique nature, construction projects are faced with their own unique challenges, they are executed differently and hence requires to be planned differently.

The construction industry in both developed and developing countries may be viewed as that sector of the economy, which through planning, design, construction, maintenance and repair, transforms various resources into constructed facilities ( Fred and Janet, 1976). Ibrahim (2012) and Uduak (2006) defined Indigenous construction companies as contracting firms that are fully owned and managed by Nigerians.

In Nigeria, enterprises are classified to reflect their size, location or capability, this classification provide basis for government intervention, socio economic planning and research. Because of labour intensity of construction, construction companies are often categorized according to size of their permanent employees. This classification include that of Abdul Azeez (2012), who identified four categories, namely; Micro (one to nine employees), small (10 to 99 employees), medium (100 to 299 employees) and large (300 and above employees). Abdul Azeez (2012) indicated that most enterprises in Nigeria are labour intensive and their size can be classified using size of their permanent employee work force.

Effectiveness of construction planning was criticize by researchers such as Graham and John (2005), this criticism has led to debate on the effectiveness of construction project planning. Despite this argument, Francis and Rafi (2004) asserted that it is widely recognized that inefficient planning of construction projects play a role in causing project failure.  This failure is still regarded much, considering White and Fortune (2002) reported that success ratio for construction and engineering project are still lower than 40%.

Some critiques of construction project planning, such as  Laufer and Tucker (1987) argued that planning and evaluation of planning processes are insufficient, there is emphasis on critical path methods, inexperience of construction process and lack of information gathering methods by construction planners hinders the construction project planning process. Planning of construction project often become more of control-oriented rather than action oriented, construction planning are often presented with complex and technical terms which can only be understood by professionals in construction industry.

Graham and John (2005) indicated that despite the fundamental importance of the debates, recent researches have proceed into refinement of existing planning tools and emphasizing on use of  software for construction planning,  but neglecting  researching to explore organizational context of construction planning. This approach of studying planning has not provide the required improvement in construction project planning,  this is indicated by Basil (2005), who reported that lack of successful construction project planning to be an important factor that lead to death of newly formed small and medium construction firms in Nigeria with in their first five years of in cooperation.

Construction project planning involve identification of activities and actions, time and cost targets, performance mile stone, it is one of the four phases of construction project life cycle. Construction planning was shown to impact project positively, Harris and Mc Caffer (2005) indicated that contractors of the developed countries have embrace planning of construction project, because the performance and profitability of the companies were found to be directly affected by efforts expanded in planning, careful and controlled construction project delivery. But many Nigerian indigenous construction companies are unable to meet their contractual requirements because of their in ability to prepare and implement a good plan for a successful construction project delivery (Aniekwu and Audu, 2010). This according Saleh (2004) has contributed to the inability of the industry in meeting the construction needs of Nigeria


1.2 Statement of Research Problem

The performance of Nigerian indigenous construction companies was found by Ibrahim et al (2014) to be hindered by mismanagement, which often result into inefficient planning of construction project. Kirmani (1988) observed that this inefficiency in construction project planning has significantly hinders productivity of the industry to a level lower than that of its multinational counterparts, resulting to major percentage of the total project in Nigeria going to multinational contractors.

According to Aibinu and Jagboro (2002), another major criticism facing the Nigerian construction industry is the growing rate of delays in construction project delivery and other associated problems, which often results into dispute, arbitration, total abandonment and protracted litigation by the parties. These problems, according to Odeyinka and Yusif (1997) are associated with planning and scheduling, they are internal factors in an organization that causes delay in construction project delivery.

According to Inuwa et al (2014), Nigerian indigenous construction companies were found to be using their central administration to plan project operations instead of an identified project manager, in appropriate application of planning techniques and non-adoption of computer applications and ICT in planning of construction projects.

In a research by Oladimeji and Ojo (2012), Nigerian indigenous construction companies were found to lack the ability to efficiently and profitably deliver project due to in adequate planning and budgetary provisions among other factors. The outcome of these inefficiencies have been several report of abandoned or malfunctioned facilities, project executed at higher sums and frequent cases of collapsed structures. The recurrent nature of these traits create dissatisfaction among clients which result into award of major capital intensive project to foreign firms especially were quality and completion period are of utmost demand.

Despite the evidence identified in previous literature that linked inefficient planning to negative project outcomes, these researches were unable to harmonize various aspects of construction planning into a single research. Each of the studies, such as Adebayo (1980) was able to identify problems associated with construction planning and concentrate on some aspects of construction planning such as planning techniques, planning technology and planning manpower. This approach has not provide the necessary solution to the problem of construction planning in Nigeria, and the result has been recurrent experience of same problems through the decades.

The study of Adebayo (1980) select few construction companies and  compare the project planning techniques they adopt in planning, this only provide result relating to only planning technique in the selected organizations. But planning is influenced not only by technique but also other aspects of planning such as technology and other external factors. Hence, there is need undertake research in order to study more organizations, more variables relating to construction planning also need to be considered.

Other studies, such as Agbo (2004) and Mohammed (1988) study cost planning relating to construction project, Audu (2001) study how planning techniques affects construction project planning, while Yazid (2009) study the impact of software applications in construction project planning. Each of the researches was able to identify at least an existing problem relating to construction planning but was not able to provide the necessary understanding of the problems collectively, their causes and how to improve planning taking into consideration key variables used in planning of construction projects.

Nigerian indigenous construction companies were shown to be associated with inefficient planning which result into low productivity and growing rate of delay. They were also found to be wrongly adopting methods and procedures of planning which was shown to reduce the profitability of the companies and cause frequent cases of contract abandonment. Inefficiency in construction planning also have a negative impact on the national economy.

Researches in construction were able to identify inefficiency in planning but does not provide holistic approach to understanding current methods of planning used by contractors, why those methods are inadequate and provide solution on how to improve construction planning methods.




1.3 Justification of the Study


Ibrahim (2004) described construction Project planning as the heart of proper project management, this is because it provides the central communication tool for the work of all parties, planning establishes the benchmark for the project control system to track quality and cost (Oberlender,1993). Planning is also the first step to project scheduling, Project Scheduling deals with the time table preparation and the establishment of dates during which various resources, such as equipment and personnel required to perform the activities for completing the project.

Considering the identified benefits of construction project planning, there is need for construction companies to continually study and improve on how they plan execution of construction projects. Hence, this study seek to undertake assessment of contractors planning of construction projects, as a way to provide recommendation capable of improving efficiency in construction project delivery.

Oladimeji and Ojo (2012) highlighted that the  total annual volumes of work done by foreign contractors are more likely to be more than that of the indigenous contractors, If this trend continues to occur, Wong and Ng (2010) opined that the survival of indigenous firms may be threatened. Hence it is important to undertake regular evaluation of indigenous contractor’s performance to ensure their viability.

Fred and Janet (1976) identified the disadvantage of bringing in multi-nationals at the planning and design stage, which include insensitivity to local conditions and discouraging development of local expertise in the field. There is also an argument which maintains that the multi-nationals are hesitant to joint venture and train indigenous firms for fear they will provide competition. While this may be true in the long run, in the short run, multi-national and local construction companies are really in two separate markets, and neither will be likely to deprive the other of work.

Project management problems of Nigerian indigenous construction companies can be addressed by training, pre- construction planning, and the application of modern management techniques according to Aniekwu and Audu (2010),). If uncertainties are not considered at the planning stage, cost and time overruns will be experienced during the project implementation stage (David, 2002).

Achuenu, and Bustani (2000) indicated that there is also need to give attention to the development of  Nigerian indigenous construction companies to enable them  successfully handle any construction work and compete favourably in the future with foreign companies  in Nigeria and beyond Nigeria’s shores. Hence, the planning issues facing the development of the construction industry in developing countries which include the availability of indigenous planning capabilities and the nature of the information base necessary for sound planning analysis can substantially be increased by the use of computer planning techniques.

As a justification to this study, there is need to evaluate current construction project planning of indigenous contractors, this will help in identifying causes of construction project planning problems and how to mitigate the problems. This assessment need to take broader evaluation of construction planning taking into account all necessary components of construction project planning.




1.4 Aim and Objectives

1.4.1 Aim

The research aim at assessing the project planning process of Nigerian indigenous construction companies, with a view to enhancing efficiency in project delivery.

1.4.2 Objectives 

The objectives of the research are:

  1. To assess the contractors perception of construction planning.
  2. To articulate construction project planning process that indigenous contractors are currently using.

iii.     To assess the effectiveness of the planning process that contractors are currently using.

1.5    Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The scope of this research is to appraise construction project planning of Nigerian indigenous construction companies in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The choice of FCT Abuja as a case study was adopted because it present fair representation of Nigeria’s construction industry. Out of 2960 organizations that are registered as general building and construction companies with Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC), 1920 have their head office located in Abuja (CAC, 2014), this represent 65%, of the companies that are registered as general building and construction companies in Nigeria.

Kadiri et al (2014) argued that FCT Abuja as a case study provide an excellent study area for construction related researches, this according to the researcher is because Abuja has evolved from being administrative capital  to also a construction capital  of Nigeria, this is in  consideration of share amount of construction projects carried out in the FCT. Usman et al (2014) described FCT Abuja as a key domain of construction because of opportunities it offers to new and emerging indigenous contractors. This has led to influx and relocation of most construction companies and workers to Abuja.

The research is limited to Nigerians indigenous construction companies because of assertion of previous literatures, such as Basil (2005) who attributed lack of successful construction project planning as an important factor which lead to the death of newly formed indigenous construction companies with in first five years of in cooperation. Harris and Mc Caffer (2005) indicated that multi nationals and contractors of developed countries have benefited from effective construction project planning.




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