Improving efficiency in roading projects: a New Zealand study

Saeed Haji Karimian*, Jasper Mbachu, Temitope Egbelakin, Wajiha Shahzad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the key productivity constraints faced by New Zealand (NZ) road pavement maintenance and rehabilitation contractors (RPMRCs) and the associated mitigation measures. 

Design/methodology/approach: Interview-based exploratory research strategy was used to survey senior managers and directors of medium- to large-sized road contracting firms in NZ. Empirical data were analyzed using the multi-attribute analytical technique. 

Findings: Results revealed 70 productivity constraints faced by the RPMRCs in NZ; in diminishing order of influence, these constraints were aggregated into eight broad categories as follows: finance, workforce, technology/process, statutory/regulatory compliance, project characteristics, project management/project team characteristics, unforeseen circumstances and other/external factors. The most important constraints in each of the eight broad categories were presented. 

Research limitations/implications: The key limitation of the research is that it was based on feedback from a limited number of participants which were less than the minimum required to represent the views of the potential participants in the sampling frame for the study. As a result, the findings may not be reliably generalized beyond the scope of the data used. Further research on the subject is recommended to ensure that the representation of the views of the individuals and companies that comprised the sampling frame is achieved. The current findings could be formulated as propositions or hypotheses to be tested in future confirmatory research. 

Practical implications: At the industry level, the findings could provide the basis for the skill development programs of the NZ RPMRCs. The application of the research findings by the RPMRCs and consultants could result in significant improvement in the productivity of the NZ roading sector and the sector’s enhanced contribution to the economy. 

Originality/value: Currently, there is little research on the priority constraints to productivity and performance in the NZ roading sector. The findings contribute to knowledge by revealing critical factors constraining productivity performance of the NZ RMRCs and the associated improvement measures. New and more enriching viewpoints were provided on how contractors could leverage their limited resources to address the identified key constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-849
Number of pages23
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019


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