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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON THE CHALLENGES FACING MATERIAL MANAGEMENT ON BUILDING CONSTRUCTION (CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED SITES IN F.C.T, ABUJA)
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- Name: THE CHALLENGES FACING MATERIAL MANAGEMENT ON BUILDING CONSTRUCTION (CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED SITES IN F.C.T, ABUJA)
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This research study considers the management of materials on building construction sites. In the study, method of material procurement practice on construction site, factors affecting material management on building construction site as well as causes wastages on construction sites were determined. The study further Suggest measures for effective material management in construction site. Data for the study was obtained through a structured questionnaire administered to respondents in different construction sites and head offices of the construction companies in charge of the sites in FCT Abuja. Findings reveal that, 25% of respondents organization procure materials for sites by head office provisions without site requisition, 66.67% of respondents organization procure materials for sites by head office provisions with site requisition and 8.33% of respondents organization procure materials for sites through direct purchase by site manager or engineer. The respondent identified the following as the main causes of material wastage on building construction sites: Damage by mishandling, inadequate storage facilities on site, delay in material supply, inadequate supervision, poor site security, Weather and other natural occurrence, Rework, alteration of designs, over ordering of construction materials, theft and Vandalism. Also pictorial presentations are shown in chapter four based on the findings in the work, appropriate recommendations were made for effective material management on building construction sites.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table 4.1: Rate of Response (ROR)
Table 4.2: Academic Qualification
Table 4.3: Profession in Construction industry
Table 4.4: Data of Establishment of Respondent companies
Table 4.5: Year of Experience of Respondents
Table 4.6: The Nature of Work Undertaken
Table 4.7: Number of Projects that Respondents are involved in
Table4.8: Manner of Material Procurement Practice on construction site
Table 4.9: Causes of material Wastage on building construction site
Table 4.10: Factors Affecting Effective Material Management on Building Construction sites
Table 4.11: Measures for Effective Material Management on Building Construction sites
Plate i: A sample showing material wastage due to mishandling by poor Supervision
Plate ii: A sample showing alteration of building design
Plate iii: A sample showing storage facilities on building construction site
Plate iv: A sample showing lack of security personnel on building construction site
Plate v: A sample showing inadequate storage facilities/areas on building site
Cost wise, all construction works depend on two factors, namely, cost of materials and cost of labour and According to Khyomesh (2011), 30 to 70 percent of project cost is consumed by material with about 30 to 40 percent of labour. But labour cost is nearly the same for good construction work as well as bad construction;
therefore attention should mainly be directed to the cost of materials and management of materials. Waste of construction materials on site refers to the difference between materials delivered to construction site and those that are actually used for the construction work (Onabule, 1991) hence from Onabule’s specification it can be affirmed that construction waste are those materials supplied to site for construction and are not being
used in the actual construction constituents. This supports Seeley (1997) views that not all materials delivered to construction sites are used for the purpose for which they are ordered. Furthermore, Formoso, Isatto, and Hirota (1999), defined waste as “any losses produced by activities that generate direct or indirect cost but do not add any value to the product”. Rational management of material to avoid waste is an important consideration for reducing construction cost and construction duration. Therefore, there is a need for efficient materials management in order to control productivity and cost in construction projects. Hence the overall objectives of any on-site management activity should be directed to provide full-guard on construction materials and to perform efficient usage of such materials (Mohammed and Anumba 2006).
Material management is the process that coordinates planning assessing the requirement sourcing, purchasing, transporting, storing and controlling of materials, minimizing the wastage and optimizing the profitability by reducing cost of material. The goal of material management is to ensure that materials are available at their point of use when needed, the material management system attempts to ensure that the right quality and quantity of materials are appropriately selected, purchased, delivered, and handled on site in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost.
Most often contractors carry out project with little or no profit which is so due to procurement systems in which the lowest bidder is often awarded the contract. In trying to cope with lowest bid contract and at the same time avoid construction cost overruns contractors involves in the use of substandard elements, shoddy jobs through use of cheap inexperience labour which most often results in building collapse, abandoned projects, and liquidation of contractors. But researchers have continuously identified that efficient management of materials can result in substantial savings in project costs, (khyomesh, 2011; AbdulRahman and Alidrisyi, 1994). Also said that with good construction material management construction, cost overrun can be avoided profits can be made even with the lowest bid and the various bad practices by contractors can be avoided. It is against this background that this study is initiated for effective material management on construction sites.
The cost of building materials has been identified to constitute the major concern in the course of construction. The cost of materials has been put or placed at an average of 60% of the contract sum. Bearing this in mind and to optimize the cost of construction, it is expedient that a good material flow must be maintained on building site to avoid excessive wastage and save idle time. One of the ways by which this can be done is through materials storage.
Materials storage can simply be defined as merely keeping materials in a safe place until it is required or requested for use in a manufacturing process. Manufacturing process also includes construction process according to Mezue (1994). To obtain good material storage, a system whereby materials are systematically organized by administratively keeping them safely and providing for the best means of flowing in and out of the stores must be adopted.
A good storage system should make available a balanced flow of raw materials, finish materials, component tools, and equipments necessary for production. It should also provide maintenance materials and spare parts as may be required and keep scrap and other materials as the need may arise.
The stores personnel must be effective in their functions in order to maintain a good storage system. Such functions includes supplying of materials and plants for effective use in project, inspection of materials i.e. to check that they are accurate in quality and quantity, receiving materials for safe custody and protection, identification of materials using code numbers and store catalogue, issuing and dispatching of materials, recording and controlling materials and accounting for and taking stock.
In construction industry, the materials that may be available for storage, ranges from raw materials e.g. steel, aluminum, zinc, timber, cement, fine aggregate, coarse aggregates e.t.c, precast materials and other materials still undergoing manufacturing process, to package materials e.g. bituminous materials, asphalt paint, coal tar, preservatives e.t.c .
A higher percentage of construction work is concentrated in Lagos and Abuja compare to other part of the country, this is the reason for choosing construction industry in Abuja; FCT as an area for case study. It is seen there that building contractors engages in different types of construction work, ranging from small firms to big firms in the construction industry which will of course will allow for proper research and comparism of different firms as regards to their challenges faced with regards to material management, storage system and the various ways of reducing to a beeriest minimum wastage of materials on building site in order to breakdown the construction cost as well as providing profit to the contractor.
Management is described as the art of directing industrial activities i.e. the ability to accomplish a plan when others do the work. It is the art of getting work done efficiently, effectively, solving and removing all hurdles encountered in between. It therefore requires ablest, daring, energetic person, who can take correct decision at the right time. It also needs qualities of leadership of self ideas and self responsibilities. One who throws responsibilities on others can never be a good manager on long term basis; though he may become successful for a short duration.
Material management involves the planning, organizing, co coordinating and controlling material resources towards the achievement of good objectives. Management on its own is defined by Culvert (1986) as a social exercise, partly art and partly science involving the organization of a numbers of measures put in place in order to achieve a profitable ends. Material management is a process for planning, executing and controlling the field and office activities in construction. The goal of material management is to ensure that construction materials are available at their point of use when needed. Material management is the system for planning and controlling all of the efforts necessary to ensure that the correct quality and quantity of materials are properly specified in a timely manner, obtained at a reasonable cost and most importantly, available at the point of use when required.
Poor materials management can result in increased costs during construction. Efficient management of materials can result in substantial savings in project costs. If materials are purchased too early, capital may be held up and interest charges incurred for the excess inventory of materials. Materials may deteriorate during storage or get stolen unless special care is taken. Delays and extra expenses may be incurred if materials required for particular activities are unavailable.
Effective construction materials management process is a key to success of a construction project. Costs for materials handling, may range from 30-80% of total construction costs. Therefore, there is a need for efficient materials management in order to control, productivity and cost in construction projects. The review has been carried out to explore the local practice in the construction materials management and develop a construction materials management system to facilitate the management of construction materials mainly in the building construction.
Many construction industries in Nigeria pay less attention to materials management on their building sites due to lack of proper management skills. Currently there are vigorous debates amongst various interest groups about the chronic skills shortages in the country and the inability of the education and training system to meet the needs of the economy. Despite these debates and ongoing policy reforms, the nature of the skills shortage in construction remains poorly defined (CDE, 2007).
In the course of this research work, many building sites faces wastage and lack of management of materials, mostly affected are those upcoming firms. This is because the management of most of these companies do not put in place the necessary and qualified personnel. Sometimes, some of these companies employ those who do not have academic qualification and training. Compare to other big and developed construction companies such as; Julius Berger, Dantata and sawoe that have many qualified personnel as regards their areas of learning and training and the small and developing building industries that have few professionals and many quacks.
Control of building materials on sites varies with company’s management policy as regards to materials on sites. Building materials usually constitute a major portion of the total cost in a building construction project which makes control of this resource very important. The cost of materials to an overall cost of construction is averagely put at sixty percent (Navon and Berkovich 2005).
The aim of this project is to examine methods of managing construction materials effectively on building sites.
In order to achieve the stated aim, the study is set out with the following objectives.
- To identify the challenges of materials control on building sites.
- To determine method of material procurement practices on construction sites.
- To determine the causes of material wastage on building construction sites.
- To identify the factors affecting effective material management and suggest measures for effective material management on building construction sites.
From the proposed objectives of the study, the study answered the following research questions:
- What are the major methods of material procurement practices on building construction site?
- What are the effects of good and proper management of purchased material, how are profits eroded due to material wastage and what are the means of controlling such loses on sites?
- What are the measures put in place to ensure materials are
properly managed on building construction sites to avoid/reduce wastage and pilfering?
The followings are the formulated hypotheses which are to be tested in this project research work.
- Improving materials management and materials storage in
the building industry; both on site and during production will have no effect on wastage.
- Labour is not one of the causes of wastage both on site and
- Site manager supervision has no effect on wastage in the
- Labour proper supervision has no effect on wastage in the
- Other company’s personnel (e.g. architects, engineers,
builders, project managers, stores keepers. e.t.c) have no business with materials management on site.
This research will focus on major challenges faced as regards to materials management on building site in Abuja FCT. It will examine causes of material wastage and how it can be minimized. It will also throw light on how construction personnel can manage the materials available on site. Highlight will also be given as regards to the performances of labour on site as in the areas of materials management. Target respondents for the study are principal actors on the building sites; namely: The Architects, Site engineers, Builders, Quantity surveyors and other construction professionals available on the construction sites.
The study adopted descriptive survey research methods which employed the use of questionnaire to collect data from the respondents. One of the limitations associated with the use of questionnaire is that the respondents may not provide all the needed information due to their busy schedule. This weakness might have affected the results of the study.
Another significant limitation to this study was the aspect of transportation and also meeting the respondents as at the time given.
Construction is labour and capital intensive due to this fact; the activities on construction sites has an enormous influence on the quality of materials, material management, the quality of building project and the performance of each construction worker on building sites.
The primary users of building and construction materials are the Builders and the Civil Engineering contractors. They are naturally concerned about the regular availability of materials and affordable cost of materials in the open market. Hence; the subject matter that is challenges facing material management on building sites will provide a better image for the industry as a whole and reduce the financial loss. This research will also help professionals in construction industry to determine the best practices to be employed in outsourcing for labour for better project quality performance.
Material management is the concept that integrates all the activities of planning, scheduling and controlling right from the design stage till the final production including delivery to the consumer or client. It undertakes the function of planning, organizing, integrating and measuring the volume and flow of material. Proper and scientific management of materials is required not only to optimize the period of construction, but also to economies the cost of construction.
It is further important to note that:-
- materials are going to represent a larger and larger proportion of the total cost of what we make and
- Problem of materials procurement and control are going to become more difficult and complicated in the further time.
To some extend; a higher percentage of construction work is concentrated in Abuja compared to other developing state within the country. This is the reason for choosing construction industry in Abuja as an area for case study. This will help to compare small and large construction industries within Abuja and to know the various challenges facing material management on their building and construction sites.
Management is defined as the organizational process that includes strategic planning, setting, objectives, controlling of resources, developing the human and financial assets needed to achieve the objectives and measuring results.
Material management is defined as a management system that is required in planning, organizing, economizing and controlling the quality and quantity of the materials, punctual equipments, placement, good price and the right quantity as required. It is a management system that integrates purchasing, shipping and material control from supplier to sites
Material requirement planning (MRP) system
Material requirement planning system (MRP system) is a technique for determining when to order dependent demand items and have to reschedule orders to adjust changing requirements.
Based on the above definitions, in general; material management is therefore is the process of planning, executing and controlling the right sources of materials with the exact quality, at the right time and place suitable for minimum cost. Capability to co-ordinate and integrate purchasing, shipping and controlling of materials from the suppliers are required for material cost control. The important phases that hold the key to a successful material management are as follows:-
- Materials planning.
- Materials purchasing.
- Materials handling.
- Materials logistics.
- Materials storage.
- Materials stock and waste control.
Each of the phases or processes was stated out of its characteristics as important roles for effective material management.
- Materials planning:
Materials’ planning includes measuring, ordering and scheduling. It is emphasized that planning is a very important process in order to increase the productivity, profitability and hastening the time to complete the construction procedures. The production of the building project will be hanged or delayed if the material planning processes are not implemented properly.
- materials purchasing:
This phase includes market research and buying of materials required for the building project. By making sure that all materials needed are listed and estimated for. Making available of all the building materials on site during construction can help to hastened up production process.
The purchasing process is dependent on the types of material ordered. In general, materials purchased fall into two categories: miscellaneous material or commodities, and major materials. Although the purchasing process may involve negotiating specifications and prices directly with a manufacturer, materials contractors need to purchase materials from a supplier-distributor. The selection of a reputable supplier is critical for ensuring that materials are delivered in the quantities needed and at the time and date specified.
Some construction companies have independent agents, depending on the type of material, for supplier selection and procurement. Suppliers are usually selected based on lowest price; however, contractors may consider suppliers with higher prices that will provide better service or have a record to supply the right material in the quantities needed at the times specified. In some situations incomplete proposals from suppliers may delay the selection process.
For miscellaneous materials, most contractors select their suppliers-distributors based on a bidding process, unless there are blanket purchase orders or yearly contracts for certain types of materials. In this case, the contractor buys those materials from that particular supplier. This blanket or yearly contract ensures that the price for those materials will be fixed for a predetermined period, usually one year. The way in which the contractor gets a blanket or yearly contract is through bidding or a negotiated process with suppliers. The contractor requests price for certain commodities by specifying the expected volume to be used in a given year based on history of use for that particular product. Due to high competition in their market areas, some contractors don’t use blanket or yearly contracts because they are able to get competitive prices by requesting bids from their suppliers at any time.
For major materials, the contractor usually negotiates prices with the manufacturer directly, if the manufacturer is specified in the contract documents. However, the contractor has to buy the material through the supplier-distributor after a markup has been applied. If the manufacturer is not specified in the contract documents, the contractor requests bids from different manufacturers will comes a case of price differences. Contrary to miscellaneous materials, major materials need to be fabricated and require lead times. If the amount requested is less than the amount estimated and there are shortages, the contractor will have to wait until the material is fabricated, which can cause disruptions and delays.
In the building construction industry, material ordering and delivery are critical to the successful execution and completion of the project. The person in charge of procuring materials or the purchasing department, in the case of a large company, need to ensure that the correct quantities are ordered. They also need to verify the release dates at which the material is needed and clearly specify those deliveries to dates to the supplier. Other challenges that face the building construction sites includes bid procurement issues, where and when to purchase materials and material storage and distribution at the job site. To avoid these challenges, organized coordination and communication between the parties involved are essential.
Changes in a project’s scope are inevitable; therefore, exceeding the initial planned budget is not uncommon. For instance, the electrical contractor is usually one of the last trades hired in a project and in many times is asked by the general contractor (GC), prior to finalizing the contract, to absorb some of the cost increases associated with such changes. This situation usually arises because the GC promises unrealistic estimates to the owner without the direct involvement of his subs and specialty contractors. An example would be the owner’s request for substitution of material with one of better quality and higher value (e.g. change of scope) while maintaining overall project budget. In many situations, the GC will agree to such changes without demanding extra costs from the owner. The electrical contractor, being one of the last trades involved in the project, may be asked to squeeze his bid to accommodate this situation. The problem could be minimized if the electrical contractor is involved in the project’s planning and design. The electrical contractor can provide expertise with materials and means and methods for installation, as well as give more realistic cost estimates to the owner. The electrical contractor could give advice about the difficulty, cost and time required for installation to better assess the effect that the changes in scope could have on cost and schedule.
Once a supplier is selected, the contractor has to systematically follow up on the status of the ordered materials to ensure it arrives at the building or construction site in the quality, quantities and time or dates specified. This process starts with the generation of a material requisition schedule (e.g. release forms) specifying material types, quantities needed and dates when the material should be delivered. In large construction projects, the schedule is usually prepared by the site staff then sent to the purchasing department to request the materials from the suppliers-distributors under contract. In smaller companies or smaller projects, materials may be procured directly by the field personnel. To avoid surplus, many contractors request only 80 percent of planned material. Additional quantities are purchased when the project is near completion and a better estimate is realized.
Materials are generally requested for delivery to the building site. In some instances this may not be feasible due to storage or access limitations. In this case, the materials are delivered to other locations such as the contractor’s warehouse or another subcontractor storage area.
Materials may be delivered to a warehouse when critical specialty items are ordered early and won’t be used immediately, when the building site storage area is unavailable or if the material will be used for prefabrication. Warehousing materials prior to moving them to the building site increases indirect costs due to rehandling.
- material handling:
Material handling is the movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption and disposal. Material handling involves short-distance movement of materials within a confines area, a building or between a site and a transportation vehicle.
It utilizes a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and includes consideration of the protection, storage, and control of materials throughout their distribution on building site. The operators use material handling equipment to various materials in a variety of industrial settings and moving construction or building materials around building sites.
Majorly there are two types of material handling on building sites. They are:-
- Manual handling
- Automated handling
Manual handling refers to the use of a worker’s hands to move individual containers of materials or roll of materials by lifting, lowering, filling, emptying or carrying them. This can expose workers to physical conditions that can lead to injuries, so for that reason; safety and health measures are to be put in place. Provisions of safety tools such as; helmet, safety boots, hand gloves e.t.c. and for health; first aid should be located within the building sites.
Automated handling refers to the use of equipments, that is whenever there is technically and economically feasible materials to be handled, equipment can be used to reduce and sometimes replace the need to manual handling of materials.
- material logistics:
Material logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of building materials. Material logistics is the management of the flow of materials between the point of purchase and the building site. Logistics management is the part of a supply chain management that plans, implements and controls the efficient and effective forwarding and reverse flow of materials and storage of materials from the supply stage and in the site.
- material storage:
According to AWE (2007) defines material storage as the process of keeping materials in a safe place until it is required or requested for use in a construction process. Storage under normal or proper conditions includes stacking, the materials in frames, retaining them in bins and boxes, protecting them from impact damage and enclosing them from adverse weather conditions.
- material stock and waste control:
Stock control can be categorized as a technique planned to be the cover and to ensure all materials are available on site when needed. Stock control includes raw materials, processed materials, assembled components, maintenance materials and finished products.
It is very important as the construction materials were delivered as required and as requested and with the progression by the proper management of stock control. At the same time, construction activities will generate big amount of the waste and it will cause difficulties to the industry. However; with the proper planning of material management which is efficient and effective will help to reduce the waste of materials during construction project and within the site. This will in turn increase the profitability of the company.
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