Effects of planning on the successful implementation of feeder road projects in Zambia.

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Changala, Kanchule
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The University of Zambia
Of the many studies that have been done in the Zambian Construction Industry particularly the road construction sector, very little attention has been paid to planning and its effects to the overall implementation of the feeder road projects. The success of any construction project is seen when the implementation and subsequent handover of the final product for use are in accordance with the planned budget, implementation period, desired quality, and answers the set objectives. However, feeder road projects in Zambia have been known to take longer than planned, incur cost overruns due to variations, and rarely completed to the satisfaction of the stakeholders. The main aim of this research was to propose a Model with planning practices that would improve the management of feeder road projects in Zambia as a means of minimizing project implementation failure. This was done by assessing the planning practices that were in place and identifying the key bottlenecks. The study was limited to feeder road construction projects within Zambia. The research was conducted using the cross-sectional study design and the study population of interviewees and questionnaire respondents comprised professionals involved in feeder road construction project planning at national, provincial and district levels. The methodological approach used was in three angles starting with structured interviews which led to the development of a questionnaire and then three case studies. This was preceded by a detailed literature review. Results revealed some constraints in the manner in which feeder road projects were planned. Amongst the identified problems were, non-adherence to institutional strategic plans where more than 66% of respondents attested to this, political interference in the planning processes ranked highest during analysis of external interference with a mean score of 4.07, improper project prioritization, uncoordinated and non-detailed contract procurement, over procurement as was observed from the projects under MLGRD whose contract sum was more than 500% above budget. Evaluation of bidders not being robust enough was another issue. Projects analyzed under MLGRD also reviewed that more than 90% neither had a design or supervision consultant engaged. The analysis further reviewed that only 8.3% of projects were completed out of the 210 that were procured under MLGRD between 2016 and 2021. After case studies, a model was developed and proposed to be used in enhancing feeder road project planning in Zambia. It was established that the lapses in the project planning processes had a negative impact on project delivery resulting in situations like cost overruns, project delays and quality shortfalls. The researcher therefore recommended the adoption of the developed model for use by implementing institutions even as other researchers considered developing it further. The findings from this study were expected to enhance feeder road project planning in Zambia.
Thesis of Master of Engineering in Construction Management.