An investigation into the effects of procurement methods on project delivery in the Zambian road sector.

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Silwimba, Sundie
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The University of Zambia
The European Union (EU) notes that the construction industry is overwhelmed with various procurement methods and as such, it is very difficult to check irregularities and checks for compliance. The construction industry further faces challenges in coming up with a suiTable method of procuring and delivering projects. In the Zambian Road Sector (ZRS). There are various procurement methods being used but the common ones are traditional project delivery method and design and building methods. There is no consistency in the procurement method used to determine the successful or failure of project. The aim of the research was to investigate the effects of procurement methods on project delivery in the ZRS. The methodology employed was a mixed design approach which was tailored on achieving the specific objectives: to review the prevailing procurement guidelines; examine the performance of past projects from 2011 to date; to determine the critical procurement factors; investigate the relationship between procurement factors successful project delivery; and establish the appropriate procurement method in the project delivery in the ZRS. A mixed method Research design in which knowledge claims based on pragmatic grounds as consequence-oriented, problem-centered and pluralistic approaches was used. Primary data was obtained using structured questionnaires and interviews. The study used seventy (70) respondents who were of Civil Engineering background and experts in procurement and road construction project management in the ZRS. This was deduced from a population size of 195 technical staff employed in key implementing departments. The findings revealed that fifty-seven (57) percent of the ZRS is governed by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority’s Public Regulations and guidelines, Act of 2008. The other procurement guidelines which are also used in the ZRS are World Bank procurement guidelines for loans and borrowers and the European Union (EU) procurement guidelines. On the other hand, the results showed that critical procurement factors that affect project delivery were; release of project funds (87 percent), procurement guidelines (30 percent), project procurement management training (26 percent), working capital (23 percent) and presence of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) unit (23 percent). In addition, the sector is also affected by the factor of frequent bribery and corruption which has been verified by Zambia Bribery Payers Index Survey Report of 2017, to be at 8.1 percent. It was found that there was no major relationship between the performance of past projects and the procurement methods used. To the contrary it was established that there was a strong relationship between the procurement factors and the project delivery methods used in the ZRS. It is therefore recommended that the Employer should ensure that project funds are released on time for road projects to be successfully implemented in the ZRS industry as well as embracing best global procurement methods, regulation guidelines and project delivery methods. The research question have been successfully met. The study was vital in the sense that it highlighted on the needs for effective and efficient procurement processes that may lead to cheaper delivery of quality road infrastructure in the ZRS. This has a number of multiplier effects to the development of the economy, for example, the country may build many roads in a short timeframe.
Thesis of Master of Engineering in Construction Management.