Challenges of construction management in Nigeria

Construction needs effective and efficient management not only to deliver the project in time but also to achieve it within the financial set target and in tandem with the specifications of architectural, electrical, structural and mechanical designs. Therefore, a construction work is more than the execution of the building of a facility. It is significantly about managing the scarce financial and human resources while also utilizing effective communication skills to exchange information between relevant professionals both on site and off site. 
Therefore, a construction site is more than a place where labourers mix cement, water and aggregates to cast concrete or mix cement, sand and water to make mortar for building blocks. It is an organisation that must have unity of command, hierarchy of workers, set objectives and control. And that is why the success of a construction project significantly depends on its conception. The client who identifies the need to have a building facility to solve certain problems associated with shelter conceives the construction project. And based on how they conceive it, they also begin the initial recruitment of professionals to begin initial designs.
The architects, engineers (structural, mechanical and electrical) and surveyors provide the designs as well as bill of quantities of the proposed construction project. At the stage of bringing these professionals to the table, the client who may be an individual or an organisation can make or mar the construction project by either making right or wrong choices. Whatever happens at this instance will have lasting impact on the project. 
Furthermore, the level of understanding of the client with regards project management procedures plays essential role in determining the extent to which the project can be successful. In the case of individual clients, problems arise when they feel that they are as knowledgeable and equipped to do the job as the professionals. So they not only rightly try to say what should be done but also wrongly try to dictate how things should be done.
Another problem with many individual clients is that they personalise projects forgetting that the professionals on the job see every work as one which must be done with the requisite expertise. In this regard, clients deal with professionals informally thereby subjecting them to the fatigue of not having job satisfaction.
In the case of organisations, corruption is the major challenge. It is doubtful if contracts are awarded in Nigeria today. This is because the procedures of project management are hardly followed. Right from tendering, the process suffers. For instance, many organisations opt for selective tendering simply to have the chance to select the company of their choice for the job. Therefore, rather than contract, what is obtainable in Nigeria today is arrangement. Officials of organisations present to contractors a sharing formula of the profit of impending contracts, which if they do not agree, they will risk losing the jobs.
This applies to construction contracts. And the attendant consequences of this is that the construction work may not be accordingly executed given that the contractors have got the guts to be recalcitrant while breaching project management procedures. In the end, the project may suffer both in terms of quality and timely delivery.

More so, corruption creates an atmosphere of uncertainty with respect to funding. Contractors are mostly hardly sure of steady cash flow given that project funds can either be dangerously delayed or even stopped at any point in time. Mostly, when organisational management or politicians in government lose interest in certain projects or when there is change in government, funding may stop and hence one of the reasons why there is a plethora of uncompleted construction projects in the country today.
This scenario gives contractors reasons not to put in their hard earned money in projects. However, ordinarily, the financial capacity of a contractor is put into cognisance before they are awarded contracts. This is because they are expected to continue funding the project even when their certificates are yet to be honoured as a client has a 60-day period within which to make payment in respect of raised certificates.

Mukhtar Jarmajo[email protected]

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