Skills Developments of Labourers to Achieve the Successful Project Delivery in the Sri Lankan Construction Industry

P. G. D. Fernando, Nirodha Fernando, M. A. C. L. Gunarathna

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Construction industry can be identified as a labour intensive industry which carries heavy reliance upon the skills of labourers. Skilful labour force is one of the vital elements for the continuity and successful implementation of construction projects. It has been identified that the performance of labourers neither been measured quantitatively nor qualitatively in the Sri Lankan construction industry. Hence, there is no standard to recruit labour with a perfect understanding of their level of performance and consequently, the industry will face many difficulties in identifying the right crew to complete the project as per the required standard within specified time and money. Hence, this study attempts to address the problems associated with skills of labourers in building projects. Accordingly, the aim of this research is to develop a framework to enhance the skills of labourers to enable the successful project delivery in the Sri Lankan construction industry.The survey approach was selected as the most suitable research approach due to the quantitative nature of the study. Thirty questionnaires and ten semi-structured interviews were conducted by random selection of project managers, quantity surveyors, site engineers for the interviews and labourers for questionnaire survey. Content analysis was used to analyse data collected from interviews and the data collected from questionnaires were analysed using statistical methods such as binomial test and Relative Importance Index (RII). Based on the analysis, the conclusions were drawn and recommendations were put forward.The findings of the study revealed that less guidance, less motivation on labourers and poor examination of their skills are the major hindrances for the skills development. Migration, technology innovation and poor image on employment condition were identified as the root causes of the skilled labour shortage. Moreover, the study revealed that unskilled labourers are working as skilled labourers due to the existing shortage of skilled labourers and it will negatively affect the quality and standard of the outcomes, cause high material wastage and spend long time for project completion. By considering the aforementioned facts, the research ultimately introduced a framework to develop skills of labourers to achieve the successful project delivery in Sri Lankan construction industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-97
JournalCivil and Environmental Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


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