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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF WORK ENVIRONMENT ON THE PRODUCTIVITY OF CONSTRUCTION SKILLED WORKERS IN IMO STATE, NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND TO STUDY

Productivity has become the buzzword of the time as it is generally agreed that the more productivity the better.  However, productivity in construction industry is discouragingly low. The effect of this cannot be overemphasized. Aboyade (1966) believed a country's development process depends on the capacity of the country's construction industry, which accounts for half of the country's fixed capital accumulation. Horneir (1987) confirmed the importance of construction industry by asserting that 10% increase in construction labour productivity will represent an enormous annual saving. Productivity reflects a variety of factors acting together to increase the value of output faster than the cost of input. Mc Beath (1974), Nwaroh (1987) and Kendrick (1977) found Mali's (1978) definition of productivity acceptable. Mali (1978) defines productivity as "the measure of how well resources are brought together in organization and utilized for accomplishing a set of results" that is productivity is reaching the highest level of performance with least expenditure of resources. Riggs and Felix (1983) and Bain (1982) said as much when they stated that productivity Is not a measure of output produced; rather it is a measure of how well resources are combined and utilized to accomplish desirable results. It is, therefore, apparent that construction industry in Nigeria is a major contributor to the gross national product (GNP) Nwachukwu (2002) classified this industry under four main segments

(i)   The building segment

(ii)   The civil segment

(iii)   The mechanical/electrical segment

(iv)   Industrial/heavy

\Engineering segment According to him, Nwachukwu (2002), the building industry segment in Nigeria constitute about 67% of the total construction activities in the country. Unfortunately, building construction site in Nigeria are currently passing through gloomy and difficult time as oppose to what used to be the boom situation in the early seventies, many factors such as high dependant of foreign building material and technology, lack of adequate finance, unfavorable government policies etc, have been identify as some of the problem of lack of productivity in construction work environment which has resulted to project abandonment, project failure, project delay. Another major problem that has recently attracted the attention of building stakeholders in the industry is the issue of "UNSKILLED" in the construction environment which has resulted to low productivity on building environment. This state of affairs does not represent a good image for the industry, hence the need to ask question "What can be done" it is against this background that this research an assessment of the impact of work environment on the productivity of construction skilled worker. A case study of Imo state Nigeria was conserved.  

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM                   

Most construction project site in Nigeria is being managed by unqualified person who lacks the requisite capacity to identify test of work environment. Investigation have shown that there is serious declined in the number of young men and women taken up vocation or apprenticeship in specialized construction place. This has created a situation where most men and women (unskilled construction workers) who don't have proper and adequate training on the construction work environment and its procedures, such scenario constitute a serious problem to the building process not only in term of poor quality work, delay or abandonments of project but also term of low productivity which hinder national development.   Many factors are internally generated this controllable by management, some factor are however beyond management control (e.g. nutrition type of workers, change in climatic condition etc) and their impact are beyond the scope of the present discourse.  

1.3   AIM AND OBJECTIVES  

The aim of this study is to assess the efficiency and productivity of construction skilled workers in Nigeria with Imo state as a case study. The objectives of the study are as follows

1.  To identify productivity factor in the construction work environment.

2.  To what extent can skilled workers contribute to the productivity and successful       project delivery?  

3.  To determine whether construction skilled workers are productive or not. 

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTION

The study would consider the following question.

1. What are the major factors that contribute to productivity on the construction       environment?  

2. What strategies can be adopted for measuring productivity and performance on       site?  

3. To what extent can skilled workers contribute to the productivity and successful      project delivery?  

4. How does this factor contribute to achievement or non achievement of project      target on site?  

5. To what extent can unskilled workers contribute to waste of resources, failure      or unsuccessful project delivery?  

6. How effective are these factors when applied   This study would attempt to provide answer to the above question.

1.5  SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY          

Productivity has a great significance in construction labour productivity constitute a significant part of production input for construction project. In the construction industry, many external and internal factors are never constant and are difficult to anticipate. This factor leads to continuous variation in labour productivity. It is necessary to make sure that a reduction in productivity does not affect the plan and schedule of the work and does not cause delay. The  consequences of these delays could result in serious money losses. Further, considerable cost can be saved if productivity is improved because the same work can be done with less manpower, thus reducing overall labour          

SCOPE OF THE STUDY   

The study would be of immense value to all the construction skilled workers in the construction work environment in Nigeria. It hopes to suggest way for improvement of performance, permit efficient utilization of resources as well as to promote knowledge and research general issue of productivity on construction industry in Nigeria. Above all the study would contribute to the growth of construction industry in Nigeria and then strengthen the nation economy.      

1.6   THE LIMITATION OF STUDY  

Although the focus of the study is Nigeria, the study is limited to southeast Nigeria. It is believed that construction skilled workers are not illiterates and have the same character nationwide. Therefore the situation/workforce behaviors are the same. Productivity assessment for the purpose of this study is only limited to construction and work environment. It is hoped that the study would achieve the intended aim and objectives.  

1.7    DEFINITION OF TERMS  

PRODUCTIVITY: it is the relationship between goods produced or a service provided and the resource consume in doing it (TOFFIAR 1981)  

ASSESSMENT: the value or amount at which something is calculated; it is the judgment or opinion of something.  

SKILLED WORKER: it is also known as tradesmen, these are any worker who has some special skills, knowledge or ability in their work especially in the construction industry.  

CONSTRUCTION SITE: Pieces of ground were building construction or construction works/activities takes place.  

ENVIRONMENT: This the sum total of all internal and external influences and condition affecting construction in developing activities.

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