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Project Risk Management Practices in the Construction Industry

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Managing risk is fundamental to the successful delivery of construction projects. Construction companies adopt various risk management practices to respond to risks .They evaluate these practices in order to identify lacks and to identify obstacles blocking the successful implementation of a comprehensive risk management process.

The construction industry in Lebanon has witnessed a boom especially after July, 2006 war. The need to construct a large number of private and public constructions provoked very important questions. Are the construction companies, post war, following the international standards in executing their projects? Do they conform to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Model (PMBOK Model 2000)? The final aspiration is ensuring safe executions of projects, satisfying environmental standards, and finally dispensing safe constructions for end users. To answer these questions, five construction companies were interviewed and asked questions related to twenty one sections discussing the main steps necessary to implement internationally competent construction projects. These sections are the following: Project Approval, Project Initiation, Tracking Project Progress, Managing Issues and Changes, Planning the Scope, Planning the Work, Planning Activities, Estimating Activities, Monitoring the Schedule, Estimating Project Costs, Establishing the Budget, Monitoring project Costs, Quality Management, Inspection, Human Resource Planning, Stakeholder Identification, Communication Planning, Reporting Project Status, Risk Identification, Risk Assessment, Risk Response planning, Procurement planning, Evaluating Bids and Proposals, and Closing the Project.

The sections discussed summarize the common knowledge and practices that, if followed, will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of any construction project. Properly executed projects indicate handing projects on time and within budget, creating amicable and professional team members, meeting stakeholder’s expectations, and providing reliable buildings, highways, roads, etc. The outcomes of the research revealed that the Lebanese construction companies have to work more to improve the level of their performance especially in studying risk and its effect on the quality of their work and its consequences. We find risk considerations are critically important especially in the Middle East where risk factors are vital and need to be seriously scrutinized. Moreover, construction industry in itself involves a high degree of perils that have to be professionally handled. In summary, this research was mainly conducted because construction project management has moved from its traditional objectives to more sophisticated endeavors that require careful implementation to provide competent construction projects. Consequently, Lebanese construction companies should follow the latest project management trends that lead to successful projects.

Respondents from international and local companies agreed on the top three barriers to risk management implementation which are managers’ understanding of the techniques, finding suitable risk management methods and difficulty in obtaining estimates and assessment of probability.

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