A framework to address barriers to total quality management (TQM) adoption in the Zambian building sector.

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Nyaywa, Mary Mabo
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University of Zambia
The Zambian Buildings Sector (ZBS) has witnessed a significant growth in the number of building projects being undertaken at individual, corporate and government levels over the past decade. However, there has been a major outcry from clients (end-users) on the poor quality of buildings being constructed. Today, Total Quality Management (TQM) has been recognized as a successful management philosophy that can be implemented in construction to achieve quality. The objective of this study was to give insight on TQM practices, tools, techniques and highlight the barriers that affect successful adoption of TQM in ZBS. The study further proposed to develop a framework to address barriers to TQM adoption in construction projects, particularly buildings. A descriptive research approach was used to conduct this study. Primary data was collected through a questionnaire survey and unstructured semi-structured interviews while secondary data was obtained through a review of published literature. The questionnaire was piloted on 25 respondents to obtain preliminary insight into the research topic as well as ensure validity and reliability. This was followed by a final questionnaire administered to 125 respondents. The stakeholders included 50 contractors, 30 consultants, 30 regulators and 15 clients. Both local and foreign-registered building contractors that fell in the grades I to VI of the National Council for Construction were considered for the study. Research findings showed that the ZBS faced barriers in adopting TQM because few local authorities, construction professionals, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers fully understood TQM. The study revealed the major barriers to the full adoption of TQM as being lack of expertise and resources in TQM, difficulty in changing behaviour and attitude of stakeholders, lack of education and training to drive the improvement process;and lack of employee and top management commitment and understanding. To overcome the foregoing barriers, some Critical Success Factors (CSFs) were identified.These included: top management commitment and leadership, human resource management (employee involvement/teamwork); trainning/learning; client management; subcontractor and supplier quality management; process management; information analysis and evaluation;planning, communication and continous improvement. Finally, the study proposed a TQM adoption Framework for the ZBS to help build quality into building projects.The implications of the findings were that improved quality and productivity were needed to eliminate high levels of waste in the building sector. Key words: Quality, Quality Management, Total Quality Management, Critical Success Factors, TQM barriers and TQM Framework
Building--Cost control. , Construction industry--Quality control--Zambia.