Assessment Of Materials Management Strategies On Construction Sites

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Assessment Of Materials Management Strategies On Construction Sites


Abstract


Construction materials are vital components of the total construction cost (about 60%) of the total project cost. Based on their importance, this study assessed management strategies adopted in construction sites in Uyo Municipal. The objectives were to examine the construction materials management strategies in practice on construction projects, determine the possible factors affecting choice of materials for construction project, and to assess the impact of compliance with standard materials management strategies on project success. Questionnaire survey administered to 75 construction stakeholders in construction organisations in Uyo Municipal formed the data collection instrument.

Data analysis involved Mean Item Score, percentages and Coefficient of Variation. Findings of the study revealed durability, cost and availability are significant determinants of construction material choices. Materials management strategies adopted include stock control, site planning, quality control and adequate supervision. Adherence to effective material management correlates flowing project delivery by ensuring effective project planning. Recommendations are directed towards the need to consider responsible sourcing in pursuance of the global sustainability agenda in material procurement and usage.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Construction industry relates to organized economic activities which include assembling materials, labour and other construction resources like plants, overheads and profits; and managing all these inputs towards achieving desired goals and objectives (Ojo, 2005; in Adafin, Daramola and Ayodele (2010). The fact that the Nigeria construction industry continues to occupy a significant position in nations economic, (Aibinu and Jagboro, 2002), there is need to improve the efficiency, quality, productivity, administration and management of construction activities and resources with adequate solutions to the problems confronting the industry.

Construction materials refer to goods, fittings, component and accessories used in construction project (Mustaph and Rashid, n.d). Of all construction resources, emphasis is mostly placed on construction materials, because the cost of materials has been identified to account for a major cost of the overall construction cost (Stukhart, 1995; and Bernold and Treseler, 1991).

The use of these materials and their control includes cost, and these could influence cost incurred by the client or the profit margin of the contractor, or performance of the construction industry. In order to optimize cost of construction, it is necessary to properly manage the material component and its flows.

The material management can be described as a system for planning and controlling all the efforts necessary to ensure that the correct quality and quantity of materials are properly specified in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost, and importantly are made available at the required point. The management of construction materials is an important element in project planning and control (Patel and Vyas, 2011).

Strategies are planned action and procedures to achieve the projects objectives. It is concerned with the means to meet ends. According to Horny (2006) strategy is defined as a plan that is intended to achieve a particular purpose.

Strategies are necessary in construction materials management because they aid the achievement of projects goals and objectives that are prescribed in the project plan. The strategies aid in the successor of project. A project is said to be successful if it accomplishes its technical performance

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.

A basic purpose of material management is to control inventory through managing the flow of materials. It is of course important to emphasize that inventories exist in three aggregate categories which are: raw material (RW), work in process (WIP) and finished goods (FG). Managing the flow of material is common to organization in virtually all sectors of the economy. A typical service provider might spend 30 % to 40 % of total revenues on the purchase of materials and services. This is more so as many companies today are relying more than ever before on suppliers from around the world. Because material comprises such a large component of sales money, companies can reap large profits with a small percentage reduction in the cost of materials. That is one reason why material management is becoming a major competitive weapon. One area of operations and logistics playing a major role in material management is concerned with decisions about purchasing material and services, inventories, productions levels staffing patterns schedules and distribution (Krajwewski & Ritzman, 1999).

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). So 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.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Today’s construction industry demands prudence in all aspects of materials management, especially on cement. This is because contract acquisition is becoming increasingly competitive; hence the need for contractors to be more prudent in handling and utilisation of materials. Several projects experience cost and time overruns in Nigeria due to several factors such as clients’ behaviour, contractors’ faults, material price fluctuations, poor material management practices, and so on (Achuenu & Kolawole, 1988); and according to Adeagbo & Kunya (2003), materials constitute more than 60 % of the total cost of projects. Cement is one of the most expensive, easily stolen and unstable construction materials in Uyo today, owing to the fact that most of the cement used comes from West African Portland (Lafarge) and Dangote Cement factories with its attendant high cost. Also, several buildings are collapsing due to poor quality of work. This paper sets out to appraise the general level of compliance of selected contractors in Ibadan towards cement management practices. This is targeted to assess by how much compliance or otherwise this affects the general cost of projects and also provides a current assessment of material management practices amongst contractors in Uyo municipal.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is an Assessment Of Materials Management Strategies On Construction Sites. Specifically the study aims to :

  1. Determine method of material procurement practices on construction site
  2. Determine the causes of material wastage on building construction sites
  3. Identify the factors affecting effective material management on building construction site
  4. Suggest measures for effective material management on building construction site.

1.4 Significance of the Study

A major part of professional builder’s responsibility in building production management entails the selection, purchase, testing, storing and use of construction materials. As noted earlier, materials are a major expense in construction, thus the ability of contractor to manage his team and the flow of supplies are absolutely necessary for the successful project delivery and profit maximization. This requires the architects and engineers to specify exact supplies during preconstruction to avoid overstock. The construction management team is required to buy the correct amount of material at the right time to avoid cash flow, storage and deterioration problems. Subcontractors need to keep track of inventories, while suppliers are required to deliver as ordered and on time. The post-construction team has to evaluate remaining materials for reuse and recycling purposes.

However, this is not easy; First, if materials are purchased early, capital may be tied up and interest charges incurred on the excess inventory of materials. Even worse, materials may deteriorate during storage or be stolen unless special care is taken. For example, electrical equipment often must be stored in waterproof locations. Second, delays and extra expenses may be incurred if materials required for particular activities are not available. Accordingly, ensuring a timely flow of material is an important concern of project managers. (Harris and MacCaffer, 2001)

Thus, to determine the misery behind proper materials management in construction sites in Nigeria, so as to guide against project delay and abandonment, also to create a standard method based on size of construction site to control cost of contract and materials wastage. It is not only desirable but necessary to undertake careful study of material management. Additionally, since Proper material management will benefit the firm in terms of increase profit margin, quick execution and reduce cost of the project. This brings the need for an evaluation of materials management in Nigeria construction industry.


1.5 Research Questions

  1. What is the method of material procurement practices on construction site?
  2. What are the causes of material wastage on building construction sites?
  3. What are the factors affecting effective material management on building construction site ?
  4. What are the measures for effective material management on building construction site ?

1.6 Scope and Delimitation

This work focused on materials management practices in Nigeria’s construction sites. The study covered factors militating against materials management, measures for effective materials management on construction firms. The study was limited to only building construction sites in Uyo Municipal, therefore not all the country was covered. Site waste management was not part of this research.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendations

The research has examined materials management on building construction sites. Findings shows that procurement of materials with requisition from site is more common with the contractors and its best practice of materials procurements for construction sites for effective materials management. The study also establish that the following: damage by mishandling and re-work due to poor workmanship, inadequate storage facilities on site, delay in material supply, inadequate supervision, poor site security, weather and other natural occurrence, alteration of designs, over ordering of construction materials, theft and vandalism are the causes of material wastage on building construction sites and the factors affecting effective material management on construction sites are as follows: design changes, lack of proper work planning and scheduling, inefficient workforce, fraudulent practices /negligence and corrupt practices, lack of security personnel, waste on construction site and lack of or inadequate storage facility. Furthermore, the research identifies the following as measures for effective material management on building construction site: employment of skilled craftsmen and operators, training of both management and other staff, employment of store keeper and security personnel; procurement requisition to specify quality, quantity and delivery time; ensuring proper planning and scheduling of building works, introducing material management at the design stage and consideration of weather conditions.

The study recommends that Contractor should make provisions for training and retraining of management and site personnel in order to improve their efficiency for effective material management and contractors should ensure the use of skilled craftsmen for their works and provide efficient supervision with professionals to ensure effective material management on building construction sites.


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