Welcome to the Construction Issues WikiEdit

Project for 180:407

Topic: Issues Involved with Construction That Will Be Dealt With By The Modern Constuction Manager

The Topic At HandEdit

This wiki page has been made in order to inform you of the many different issues involved with construction. This page has been made by Rutgers University Civil Engineering students to fulfill the requirements of one of the projects that was assigned for the Senior Design Capstone: Construction Projects.

The contributors include Raghav P., Tarek M., Pedro S., and Parin S.

We hope that this page is informative and can give you some insight into the many issues that are involved in construction.

Rising CostsEdit

There are numerous challenges facing today’s construction manager. Some are new to the industry, and some are centuries old. Many of these challenges are a direct result of construction operations, while others a result of indirect, peripheral activities. A surprising number of challenges are not construction issues but must be addressed and managed by the construction manager (CM) to ensure project success. Rising Cost is one of the biggest challenge facing today's Construction Manager. Materials and supplies cost is rising as time goes on. One of material that is rising is cement. Cement prices jumped another 1.7% this month following last month's 0.7% increase. The back-to-back monthly increases pushed ENR's 20-city average price for portland cement 2.7% above a year ago. The November 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for cement showed an annual increase of 4.8% as cement prices continue to rebound on the strength of the housing market. Prices for ready-mix concrete also rose this month, with ENR's 20-city average price for three types of concrete increasing 0.6% this month, following an average gain of 0.8% the previous month. 

ENR03032014CE Portland

Steel is another material whose cost is rising. Structural steel prices drop 0.2% in February. Prices for structural-steel shapes slipped 0.2% in February,
ENR02242014CE Wide-Flange
keeping prices level with a year ago, according to ENR's 20-city average price for channel, wid

e-flange and I-beams. Prices for wide-flange beams are down 0.3% from a year ago, while prices for channel beams posted a modest 0.2% year-to-year increase over February 2013. Prices for grade-60 reinforced-concrete bars held steady this month but are down 1.0% from a year ago.Prices for  stainless-steel plate increased between 0.2% and 0.9% this month,building on January's rebound. However, stainless-plate prices are still about 0.5% below 2013's level.

ENR02102014 CE pipe
Pipe cost is also increasing but so far it has mananged to stay under the 2013 mark. After a sluggish January, pipe prices in February perked up for most construction products, posting monthly increases ranging from 0.2% to 1.9%, according to ENR's 20-city average prices. The largest monthly price increase was for vitrified-clay pipe, which rose 1.9%. Despite February's large increase, 12-in. VCP prices are still 0.1% below a year ago. Reinforced-concrete-pipe prices increased between 0.7% and 1.0% this month but remain below 2013's level. PVC water and sewer pipe posted modest gains this month but are still averaging 4% below February 2013's level. Steel-pipe prices increased 0.7% this month.

Building Cost
The BCI slipped 0.1% this month, pulling down the index’s annual escalation  rate to 1.4% from 1.9% but the wage $/hr is increasing to 1.8%

Core measures of inflation in the United States are at their lowest levels in 50 years. But prices for certain building products have been rising lately, and there are concerns in some quarters that inflation is rearing its head again, despite exceedingly low demand from the domestic construction sector. PPG Industries’ recent decision to raise its prices for industrial coatings by an average of 5% to 10% on Dec. 1 was positioned by the Pittsburgh-based paint supplier as its response to rising raw materials costs. On Wednesday, Reed Construction Data predicted that the recent run-up in lumber prices would continue through the spring of 2011, and that global demand could send the prices of metal- and oil-based products soaring by between 5% and 8% next year.

Time IssuesEdit

Time is money to owners, builders, and users of the constructed facility. Delays in upgrading facilities translate into operating at below optimum efficiency resulting in higher user cost. Delays in constructing or rehabilitating infrastructure negatively affects businesses and the public at-large. Time implications from the constructor's bonding capacity and ability to bid more work (opportunity cost). Inefficient time management results in higher labor and equipmetn costs. 

There is an increase in the number of construction projects experiencing extensive delays leading to exceeding the initial time and cost budget. The construction process can be divided into three important phases, i.e. project conception, project design and project construction. Usually, the vast majority of project delays occur during the ‘construction’ phase, where many unforeseen factors are always involved. To the owner, delay means loss of revenue through non availability of production facilities and rentable space or a dependence on present facilities. In some cases, delay causes higher overhead costs to the contractor because of longer work period, higher material costs through inflation, and due to labour cost increases. Delays are usually accompanied by cost overruns. Cost and schedule overruns occur due to wide range of factors. If project costs or schedules exceed their planned targets, client satisfaction would be compromised. 

When projects are delayed, they are either extended or accelerated and therefore, incur additional cost. The normal practices usually allow a percentage of the project cost as a contingency allowance in the contract price and this allowance is usually based on judgment. Even though the contract parties agree upon the extra time and cost associated with delay, in many cases there are problems between the owner and contractor as to whether the contractor is entitled to claim the extra cost. Therefore, delays in construction projects cause dissatisfaction to all parties involved and the main role of the project manager is to make sure that projects are completed within the budgeted time and cost.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 2.57.55 AM

Risk Factor Attribute that pertains to Delays

Data collection is carried out using questionnaire survey to understand the perception of the practitioners to the risk factors that causes delays in construction projects. Five-point Likert scale was adapted to identify the significance of risk factors as follows: 1-Not Significant, 2-slightly significant, 3-Moderate, 4-Very significant, and 5-Extremely significant.

The data gathered from the survey were analysed statistically using Relative Important Index (RII) to determine the relative significance and ranking of risk factor. RII is calculated with following expression:  

                        RII = $ (\sum \operatorname{a}_i \operatorname{n}_i) /5N $  

Where: a = constant expressing the weight assigned to each responses, n = frequency of each response, N = total number of responses, 5 = the highest weight

The five most important risk factors in construction project are shortage of material, late deliveries of material, shortage of equipment, poor quality of workmanship, and cash flow difficulties. These significant factors are from two groups i.e. construction and finance. Amongst these, shortage of material and late deliveries of material are the two most dominant factors that are placed at rank 1 and 2, respectively. These results are true as materials are very important component in construction project, which attribute 70% of the total value of project. Therefore, any problems related to construction materials would significantly affect the project. Thus, contractors or suppliers must take responsibility to ensure the adequate availability of the materials as scheduled.  

Shortage of equipment is another major risk factor that has significant impact on project productivity. This can be resulted from poor planning and lack of experience of contractors in handling the projects. Usually, contractors handle more than one project at one time and they switch the equipment from one project to another. This would also affect the availability of equipment on particular project. The fourth ranked risk factor is poor quality of workmanship;  poor quality workmanship leads to project failure. Cash flow difficulties in finance group are regarded as the fifth most critical risk factor. This can affect the procurement of material thus causing delay in the completion of project within due time.    


Quality IssuesEdit

Construction operations depend on the knowledge and skills of people planning and executing the work. The quality of this most important resource: people, is what distinguishes one team or company from another. Having expierenced professionals who have been in certain situations will be very helpful when a problems arises during construction.Having a successful construction project requires having skilled workers and skilled managers supervising the project. However, finding skilled workers may be a problem.  Construction by nature is dangerous, dirty, hard work. Other industries or professions offer preferred work environments that are cleaner, safer, and generally more desirable. SO finding quality construction workers who have had sufficient expierence may sometimes be hard to find.So as a result,there is a severe shortage of bright, talented people willing to work in construction. 

In order to have skilled and expierenced workers in construction, training is very important. Giving people the necessary training and education regarding the different construction tasks that need to be performed will help the quality and reduce the mistakes that will occur in construction. Total quality control is a commitment to quality expressed in all parts in the construction process. A major element includes extensive training for personnel shifting the responsibility for detecting any problems from all members involved in constrcution, from quality control inspectors to construction managers, and also maintaining equipment that is being used.  

Another way of increasing the quality of construction workers is through empowerment. Empowerment can  lead to increased levels of commitment, enthusiasm, self-motivation,and productivity. Benefits to the employee include feelings of appreciation, and a sense of pride of doing the right thing.  A high level of empowerment leads to higher productivity which in turn helps increase the quality in the constrcution site.Empowerment of the workforce is one of the keys to improving construction performance.  

Environmental IssuesEdit

The impact of environmental issues on construction has been escalating since the 1970s. Today, owners and constructors are bound to clearly defined duties and liabilities regarding the environment. Nearly all segments and sectors of the industry are affected by one or more environmental issues. Strict regulation, permitting requirements, and enforcement are designed to protect human health and the natural environment.

Around half of all non-renewable resources mankind consumes are used in construction, making it one of the least sustainable industries in the world. However, mankind has spent the majority of its existence trying to manipulate the natural environment to better suit its needs so today our daily lives are carried out in and on constuctions of one sort or another: we live in houses, we travel on roads, we work and socialise in buildings of all kinds. Contemporary human civilization depends on buildings and what they contain for its continued existence, and yet our planet cannot support the current level of resource consumption assoicated with them.

Estimate of global resources used in buildings
Resource (%)
Energy 45-50
Water 50
Materials for buildings and roads 60
Agricultural land loss to buildings 80
Timber products for construction 60 (90% of hardwoods)
Coral reef destruction 50 (indirect)
Rainforest destruction 25 (indirect)
Estimate of global pollution that can be attributed to buildings
Pollution (%)
Air quality (cities) 23
Climate change gases 50
Drinking water pollution 40
Landfill waste 50
Ozone depletion 50
Buildings are long-lived and cities have even longer lives; their impacts will strtch into the lives of many generations of our ancestors; into a future of unknown resources, pollution and unstable climatic conditions. For the good of the environment and the survival of the planet, its myriad of interwoven and interdependent ecosystems and mankind, something has to change, and constuction companies have a leading role to play in that change.
China's Construction Waste a Major Pollution Problem

China's Construction Waste a Major Pollution Problem

The main impacts of the construction anduse of our built environment can be grouped as follows:

Resource Depletion, Waste, and Recycling

The construction industry is a conspicuous user of resources. Materials are derived from numerous sources and suppliers, and minimisation of waste presents a particular problem. Although many of the materials in use are common to most sites, the fragmented nature of development constrains the practical extent of recycling. Furthermore, despite the long-life of its products, their eventual demolition or redevelopment can produce significant waste for land disposal unless reused.

One of the most used resources is stone/ primary aggregates. Sand and gravel extraction of these primary resources implies major environmental impact from loss of habitat and ecosystem, damage to the landscape, potential subsidence problems and release of methane.

Construction also has a major impact on the environment in its consumption of energy, both directly and embodied in the materials that it uses. The large bulk of materials used consumes a great deal of energy just for transport. The construction industry consumes about 4.5% of the national total use of energy. As a consequence of this energy consumption, construction generates 40 million tons of carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming from the greenhouse effect. Acid gases and oxides of nitrogen are also produced, contributing to acid rain and photochemical smog production.

Energy Use, Global Warming and Climate Change

In the last hundred years the Earth has warmed by about 0.5 degrees celsius. There is strong evidence that this is due to an increase in the concentrations of certain trace greenhouse gases. Principal amongst these is carbon dixoide which is produced whenever fossil fuels are burnt to obtain energry. Globally, energy use, and the associated carbon dioxide emissions, has been rising rapidly over the past few decades. The main consumers a

A Climate Minute - The Greenhouse Effect

A Climate Minute - The Greenhouse Effect

re the developed countries who enjoy standards of living to which the developing countries aspire. The consequences of the continuing growth of enerfy use which this implies are potentially catastrophic. The developed countries must improve their energy effieciency as a part of ensuring that the problem is brought under contol.

Construction industry related energy use accounts for approximately half of the energy use in the UK. The use of fossil-fuel-derived energy in the production of materials, during the construction process, and by the occupants or users of building or structure throughout its lifetime is a sources of significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Though not the most potent of the so-called greenhouse gases, it is the one produced in the greatest quantities. These climatic changes themselves may necessitate changes in construction practice.

Pollution and Hazardous Substances In the Natural and Built Environment


Pollution can be defined in may ways; that arising from the built environment (sewage, waste, etc.); pollution cuased during the manufacture of materials and products; pollution and hazards from the handling and use of materials or from the site itself; and other constuction and operationally-related activities. The desing and construction phases involve the specification of materials, and the use of plant, processes and techniques. Most also involve extensive disturbances to the exisiting environment, whether on green field or previously developed sites.

Each of these activites poses a risk of introducing pollutants into the environment which can affect the workers on site, the neighborhood, or the local ground, water and air quality. SImilar impacts can occur during the operational phase of the development. Such disturbances can also upset the equilibrium between the ground, water and air and introduce the risk of pollution.


Pollution caused by construction

In the developed world, human beings spend approximately 90% of their lives within buildings. They are exposed to a range of chemicals arising from furnishing and finishes. Other practices which take place within the building also affect their physiological and psychological reactions. Increasingly, the design and layout of buildings necessitate active measures to maintain conditions which ensure the health and general well-being of their occupants.

The problems of poor internal environment tend to be neglected because the effects are long term and, with a few exceptions, not immediately life threatening. In addition the causes have not been clearly defined; hence solutions are not self evident. Limited research work has been carried out, so uncertainty of causes prevails with little quantitative data available.

Planning, Land-Use and Conservation

There is a wide range of environmental issues concerned with the interaction of the land use, planning system and the construction industry. Almost all development undertaken by the construction industry requires planning and permission.

The biodiversity on particular sites can be devastated by developments and through mineral extraction for the construction industry. However, a wide range of nature conservation initiatives and area designations have been developed to protect habitats.

The interaction between the built environment and the natural environment has a signifcant impact on the hydrological system. The combined effect of urban expansion and agricultural intensification has exceeded the capacity of the land to absorb exceptional levels of rainfall. At the same time, rainfall has become more intensive, concentrated and erratic due to global climate change. This negative interaction is highlighted by an increasing rate of severe flooding
witnessed in the UK, Italy, Germany, Cambodia, Vietnam and India between 2000 and 2008. The spatial planning system and the design of buildings and landscapes therefore has a role to play in absorbing the new rainfall peaks, and therby reducing stress on our engineered drainage systems and riversystems.

Land use planning can make a contribution to energy consumption through the configuration and location of buildings as the location of developments initiated by the client and built by the construction industry is largely controlled by formal planning procedures. However, the success of the development in integrating with, and the acceptability of the way in which it modifies and interacts with, the surrounding natural and built environment, cannot be ensured wholly by regulations.  

Socio-Political IssuesEdit

Socio-Political pressures have more impact on construction than in the past. Political pressures and community involvement affect public and to some extent, private sector work. Pressures emanate from adjacent property owners and the public at-large, including existing businesses, institutions, and residences adjacent to the constructed facility. Civic organizations and community groups have more input into design and construction of public works projects, and greater impact on private work through the land use and planning process. The community has greater input through citizen advisory boards that are engaged during project initiation, design, and construction. Today’s CM has substantially greater accountability to the public than previous generations. Increasing the number of stakeholders further complicates an already complex process.

Socio-political pressures also stem from the NIMBY syndrome (not in my back yard). The NIMBY syndrome stymies growth and development, and generally hampers construction. The obstacles caused by the NIMBY syndrome typify the challenges facing today’s CM. This syndrome is also sometimes called BANANA. BANANA is an acronym for "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything" (or "Anyone"). The term is most often used to criticize the ongoing opposition of certain advocacy groups to land development. The apparent opposition of some activists to every instance of proposed development suggests that they seek a complete absence of new growth. The term is commonly used within the context of planning in the United Kingdom.

There are some examples that shows NIMBY syndrome happening all around the world. In July 2012 protesters in the city of Shifang, Sichuan province were protesting against builing a copper mine project. This project had to be canceled due to the protest. In October 2012, thousands of residents of the city of Ningbo protest against a multi-billion yuan expansion of an oil refinery and chemical plant. After a few days, an official statement announces that the project will not go ahead. In December 2012, around 300 protesters stage a march in Beijing against plans to construct a portion of the Beijing–Baotou high-speed railway line through their neighbourhood on Qingnian Road in Chaoyang district. Media reports say that plans for the project have been put on hold but there have been no announcements about the railway line since then. Construction Managers can not do anything about this because they need a go ahead from the town to start building something. If the people in town are against it, then the town will not give a green light to the CM and the project will have to be stopped right there and that could result in wasting money.

Legal IssuesEdit

In the Construction Industry their are many legal issues that might come up for a construction manager or a contractor. All construction activities must follow the Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration(OSHA) rules and regulations. During construction their must be a competent person who has taken and passed the OSHA training requirments and must follow the rules that have been mandated for certain construction practices. Failure to follow these rules can injuries to construction workers and also can also lead to many fines and suspensions for the contractor and also lead to the construction being stopped.

Another issue that a contractor  might face is through contractual aggreements that have been agreed upon by different parties involved in the construction process. When not complying to these agreements and construction has been effected because of that then it will become a legal matter. Sometimes a contractor might need more time and funds to complete a project and so they might request a claim. In this situation a contractor must show why they need more time or money and this can prolong into a legal matter.  Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices have been used to settle these claims. Some methods include  negotiation, arbitration, mediation, neutral advisors, and Dispute Review Boards (DRB).  These methods have solved many claims with satisfaction from both parties  but there a few cases where litigation is the only solution.

A construction manager can deviate most of the problems that arise in construction projects by being active and having proper communication with the owner during the pre-construction phase, where most of the money agreements are agreed upon. A large percentage of claims are caused by not having comprehensive, accurate, contract documents. Preconstruction claims avoidance requires intensive document and constructability reviews which is the job of a construction management firm or a construction manager. During the design phase the design should clearly show the outline clearly and also show how it will be constructed and the methods which will be used and proper equipment required for the task. Also document should specify a level of workmanship consistent with the quality of the project, and not require the constructor to assume responsibility for information that should be furnished by the designer. The specifications should be clearly outlined so their is no confusion between the construction manager and the designer.

A competent construction manager can eliminate many problems during construction by have constant and open communication with the different parties involved and also not be put in a situation where legality must come into play. Legal issues can create many delays in construction but it can be avoided with proper communication and also properly managing the construction project


The following links were used for research:













Latest activityEdit

Photos and videos are a great way to add visuals to your wiki. Find videos about your topic by exploring Wikia's Video Library.


Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. - Mattie Stepanek

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.