0P3N Blog Blog Post

Project Management: Construction Delays

By: themindandbeauty
May 23, 2017


Construction Delays

An Introduction

I consider the construction delay as the utmost charged because it is the big obstacle that interrupts the construction projects and affects their progress. To understand the delay issue and handle its consequences, it is crucial that we investigate its reasons analyzing them, as it is a needed step to reduce the delay and obviate its liabilities. Construction delays are frequent and they face the projects and disrupt the owner, consultant, and contractor as they found that their projects require additional time and consequently, additional costs. This chapter identifies the major reasons for delays discussing the previous studies and considering the perspectives of the owner, consultant, and contractor as well. It classifies the most significant types of delay clarifying the roles of the parties participating who are different in their state of mind and always blaming each other for delaying the project. It reviews the reasons for delays in the Egyptian construction industry exploring the studies conducted and assessing the effects emerging as the construction industry enjoys a remarkable activity in the Egyptian economy and 45% of the whole fund of the development plans goes to the construction industry in Egypt (Ahmed, 2003).

The concept

Concerning the construction industry, a delay is an object that exhausts additional time and exceeds the expected schedule that the contract stated causing the projects a late delivery (Pickavance, 2005). In the construction industry, delays are generally defined as the time overrun that overcomes the contract (Morris et al., 1987) while (Trauner, 1990) defined the delay as the time overrun that outreaches the date of the delivery. (Zack, 2003) defined delays as “event that requires additional days of work of the contract manifest to perform or complete work” while (Bramble and Callahan, 1987) defined them as “the time during which some part of the construction project has been extended or not performed due to an unanticipated circumstance”.


The causes and effects

There are several kinds of research investigating the reasons for delays in the construction projects and analyzing them; however, those studies have different project scope and constraints as well. Some researchers tended to analyze the reasons for delays reviewing their effects, providing recommendations and solutions while there are other studies that classified those reasons and effects and assessing their relative importance to the owner, consultant, and contractor.Concerning the studies addressing the reasons for delays and identifying them, (Arditi et. al., 1985) investigated the reasons for delays that public construction projects face in Turkey exploring twenty-three different reasons while (Gunduz et. al., 2012) developed that study stating additional reasons reaching eighty-three ones and grouping them into nine categories. (Dyian et. al., 2011) made their study identifying the main reasons for delays in Pakistan indicating that weather is the most significant one. The study clarified that poor management and a shortage of resources are critically significant. (Frimpong et. al., 2003) identified the reasons for delays in Ghana and their effects on time and cost while (Fugar et. al., 2010) continued investigating the reasons for delays in Ghana exploring thirty-two different reasons that they grouped into nine categories. In their study in Libya, (Saleh et. al., 2009) identified the main reasons for delays ranking them according to the construction projects. They concluded that lack of interest of the parties and negligence of implementing the project within the allocated time and cost are the most critical reasons. Concerning large construction projects in Saudi Arabia, there was a study recognizing the reasons for the delay and identifying the reasons affecting the construction projects and causing the delay (Assaf et. al., 2006). The study assessed seventy-three different reasons for delays grouping them into nine categories as it divided them into delay related to contractor’s payment by the owner, design modifications by the owner, lateness of decision making by the owner, disproportionate routine by the owner, financial hardship during the construction, errors in design, approval of shop drawings, labour insufficiency and finally, inadequate experienced labours. (AlGhafly, 1995) stated that there are sixty reasons result from the role of the three parties participating in the construction projects determining that the main reasons are the financial issues and lack of cooperation between the three parties. (Enshassi et. al., 2009) supported that study indicating that reasons for delays resulting from the poor relationships between the parties participating. In Jordan, there is a study identifying the reasons for the delay and their relations to cost overruns that can cause bad effects on projects (Al-Momani, 2000). The study examined the reasons for the delay in 130 public construction projects emphasizing the importance of economic conditions and an increase of quantity besides, late delivery, site conditions and vicissitudes of weather. (Sweis et. al., 2008) conducted another study in Jordan determining that the main reasons for delays result from financial troubles that the contractor faced and the changes that the owner and consultant add. In Indonesia, (Kaming et. al., 1997) investigated the reasons for delays and their effects on thirty-one high-rise construction projects exploring that cost overruns are serious problems that exceed the time overrun while in Vietnam, (Long et. al., 2008) found seven significant reasons for delays emphasizing the importance of time constraints. (Sambasivan et. al., 2007) identified the main reasons for delays that affect the construction projects in Malaysia ranking and listing them as twenty-eight reasons while their effects are 6 ones. They classified them into three major groups representing the owner, contractor, and consultant. (Alaghbari et. al., 2007) conducted another study indicating that there are thirty-one reasons for delays affecting the construction projects in Malaysia. They stated that the most important reason for the delay is the financial troubles and lack of coordination between the three parties. (Wilson, 1982) identified the reasons for delays analyzing the roles of the three parties and emphasizing that the reasons for delay result from poor management. (Yates, 2003) supported that study as he identified the main reasons for delays grouping them into nine categories including the owner, consultant, manpower, management, materials, equipment, external factors, relationships troubles, and weather. In Nepal, there was a study investigating the delay of material and the equipment unavailability in highway projects (Manavazhia et. al., 2002). The research found that delay in the delivery of materials and equipment is an important reason for cost overruns to construction so, an assessment was conducted to identify the reasons for the delay and their effects on costs. Twenty-two highway projects are studied in the assessment to find that the impotent reasons for the delay in material and equipment procurement are governmental legislations, organizational deficiency, and suppliers’ defaults. The study concluded that those reasons, despite their importance, have an ordinary effect on costs not exceeding 0.5% of the total cost of the projects while supply and equipment delay is the concern that occurs regularly. In Nigeria, (Mansfield et. al., 1994) investigated the reasons for delays clarifying that the financial issues and deficient plans are the most important reasons for delays while a study on sixty-one projects was conducted determining that time and cost overruns represent the most significant effects on the construction industry in Nigeria (Aibinu et. al., 2002). In Thailand, (Ogunlana et. al., 1996) analyzed the reasons for delays concluding that lack of resources and lack of the skills of the contractors are the major reasons while, in a recent study, (Noulmanee et. al., 1999) conducted their research on the highway construction projects in Thailand stating that reasons for delays result from the parties participating and lack of sufficient resources. (Toufic et. al., 1998) investigated the reasons for delays in Lebanon considering the points of view of the owner, consultant, and contractor. The study determined that the most significant reason for delays according to the owner and consultant is the financial and scheduling problems while the contractor confirmed that changes during the construction are the most significant reasons. In Hong Kong, a survey was conducted to estimate the relative importance of the reasons for delays listing them as 20 different reasons and dividing them into 8 categories (Chan et. al., 1997). The study indicated that achieving projects on time and delivering them on time and within the planned cost and the quality that the owner previously determined are evidence that the project delivery is effective.



The researchers

The number of reasons


(Arditi et. al., 1985)(Gunduz et. al., 2012)



(Fugar et. al., 2010)


Saudi Arabia

(Assaf et. al.,  2006)(AlGhafly, 1995)



(Long et. al., 2008)



(Sambasivan et. al., 2007)(Alaghbari et. al., 2007)


Hong Kong

(Chan et. al., 1997).


Table 1: Significant studies illustrating delays and recognizing their reasons


Concerning the studies reviewing the effects, (Haseebet et. al., 2011) investigated those effects that the construction industry faces in Pakistan clarifying that financial and social problems that prevent the growth of the industry, the unconditional separation between the owner, consultant and contractor and misunderstanding between them are the most significant effects. (Ramabodu et. al., 2010) analyzed the effects of delays on construction projects in South Africa indicating that time and cost overruns are the most important effect as they require an additional work. Those effects prevent the set plan from achieving its desired results and in turn, damage the relationships between the owner, consultant, and contractor. In Ghana, (Chileshe et. al., 2010) stated that delays affect the construction projects resulting in cost overrun, inflation and disagreement between the parties involved while (Arditi et. al., 2008) investigated the serious effects on the construction projects in Turkey emphasizing that  stated that overdue in completing the projects on time, additional cost, deficiency of production, weighty damages and contract termination. In Malaysia, (Sambasivan et. al., 2007) determined the sever effects on construction projects stating that time and cost overruns and differences between the parties are the most critical effects and (Assaf et. al., 2006) supported that study emphasizing that the time overruns represent a significant effect on the construction industry in Saudi Arabia. They indicated that time overruns are related to the issues that the contractor face while (Odeh et. al., 2002) related time overruns to the differences in points of views between the owner and contractor stressing that the requirements of the owner that the contractor fails to achieve can result in contract termination in Jordan. (Manavazhia et. al., 2002) investigated the effects of the highway projects in Nepal indicating that cost overruns are critical and (Aibinu et. al., 2002) determined that cost overruns affect the construction projects in Nigeria adding that abandonment and litigation are critical.



The researchers

The Types of effects


(Haseebet et. al., 2011)

Cost overruns

South Africa

(Ramabodu et. al., 2010)

Time and cost overruns


(Chileshe et. al., 2010)

Cost overruns


(Arditi et. al., 2008)

Time and cost overruns


(Sambasivan et. al., 2007)

Time and cost overruns

Saudi Arabia

(Assaf et. al., 2006)

Time overruns


(Odeh et. al., 2002)

Time and cost overruns


 (Manavazhia et. al., 2002)

cost overruns


(Aibinu et. al., 2002)

cost overruns

Table 2: All above studies investigating the effects that delay represents


(Lock, 1996) stated that effects of delays represent accidental events that may include confusion and error (Memon, et. al., 2011) indicated that those effects are changes that unexpectedly occurring in the construction projects. Delay in projects results in further costs that exhaust the owner even if there is an approval between the owner and contractor. When planned schedule is ignored, cost and quality required by the owner can affect passively on the project. When there is a delay in projects, many obstacles occur because the contractor asks for extra costs because he is required to work a longer period and that causes disturbance upsetting the owner who needs to have the project completed within the schedule and specification without a delayed loss of revenue while the contractor endures overhead costs to meet the labour wages.

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