Timely project delivery: a case study of Malawian educational projects

Dumisani Chirwa, Victor Samwinga, Winston Shakantu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Purpose of this paper: The completion of construction projects in a timely manner is often a critical factor and measure of project success. However, in many cases, delays plague the delivery of construction projects in many parts of the world. The purpose of the paper is to critically evaluate the performance of the UK-funded Education Sector Support Programme (ESSP) infrastructure projects in Malawi, with respect to timely completion. Design/methodology/approach: The research uses a case study approach, which critically evaluates the extent of schedule overruns through the collation and analysis of secondary data from the portfolio of projects administered by Malawi’s Education Infrastructure Management Unit (EIMU) between 2003 and 2008. Findings: A significant number of the educational projects administered under the ESSP have been plagued by delays, and other project management and delivery problems. Out of 184 contracts administered between 2003 and 2008, less than a third of them achieved timely completion and yet the liquidated damages clause was only enforced in 29% of the 111 delayed projects, leaving contractors to complete at their own time. Furthermore, the mitigation measures put in place to prevent poor project performance do not seem to have the desired effect. Research limitations/implications: The scope of the research is limited to the construction programme directly administered by the Education Infrastructure Management Unit (EIMU), which only covers projects from the Education Sector in Malawi. In addition, no attempt was made, in this phase of the research, to explore the specific causes of delays. Doing so would have provided a contextual perspective to the issue of timely delivery. Originality/Value: The paper contributes to the knowledge base on infrastructure project delivery in developing countries. The findings should be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders involved in the delivery of public projects including government departments, external funding organizations, non-governmental organizations, academics and practitioners in relevant fields.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2011
EventThe Sixth Built Environment Conference - Johannesburg, South Africa
Duration: 2 Aug 2011 → …


ConferenceThe Sixth Built Environment Conference
Period2/08/11 → …


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