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Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________

BENCHMARKING PROJECT CONSTRUCTION TIME PERFORMANCE THE CASE OF HONG KONG


Dr Albert PC Chan*, Associate Professor and Dr Daniel WM Chan, Research Fellow Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China * E-mail: bsachan@inet.polyu.edu.hk
Abstract Construction time has been perceived to be one of the most essential performance indicators among numerous successful projects. Considerable efforts have been dedicated to the issue of how to benchmark best practice measures of construction time performance (CTP) for use in the construction industry. Previous work has modelled the project construction duration based solely on scope factors principally represented by construction cost. However, a recognized appreciation of other significant attributes contributing to construction time has paved the way for further study in which multidimensional prediction models were established. A survey was launched to identify a set of critical factors influencing construction durations of public housing projects in Hong Kong. Data were derived from a representative sample of 56 standard Harmony type residential blocks via mailed standard questionnaires. Multiple regression technique was applied to data analysis and model development. The testing and validity of the developed model were conducted in respect of further project data from the client organization. The regression model serves as a useful tool for benchmarking an optimum time estimate for delivery of a public housing project. A comprehensive study is currently being undertaken for private sector housing blocks in Hong Kong by adopting similar research methodology. Keywords Benchmarking; Construction time performance; Hong Kong; Public housing; Private housing

INTRODUCTION While the construction industry is one of the main pillars of Hong Kong todays economy, project delay is a common problem in the territory (Construction and Contract News, 2001). Accurate construction planning is a key determinant in ensuring the delivery of a project on schedule and within budget. A contracting organization needs a sound time-planning and control system which allows not only efficient and effective management of an individual project but also the likely need to manage multiple projects simultaneously (Griffith et al., 2000). Although the philosophy of benchmarking has proliferated in many manufacturing industries, relatively little attention has so far been drawn to its potential value in the construction industry. Benchmarking is the search for the best practices that will lead to superior performance of an organization (Camp, 1989). Researchers in construction management and practitioners in the construction industry have begun to realize the importance of developing best practice benchmark measures, say for instance, of construction time performance to be used by clients, consultants and contractors (Nkado, 1991; Walker, 1994; Blyth, 1995; MacKenzie, 1996; Chan, 1996; Chan, 1998; Walker and Vines, 2000; Ng et al., 2001). In January 2001, the Construction Industry Review Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, released a comprehensive report highlighting the important recommendations to construct for excellence. It was strongly believed that there is still room for improvement in its overall performance in terms of quality, efficiency, productivity, site safety, environmental sustainability and customer satisfaction. Widespread concerns about the indicated need for investigating, measuring and improving industry performance are also intensified by the burgeoning ______________________________________________________________________________________ 22-23 March 2002, Hong Kong Page 1 of 11

Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ performance demands and fierce competition of the Hong Kong construction industry (Chan, 1996; Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1996a & 1996b). This paper aims to formulate benchmark measures of industry norms for overall construction period by modelling the durations of primary work packages of the building construction process. Such model development necessitated the enumeration of a group of significant variables affecting construction times of public housing projects in Hong Kong. Project information from 56 case studies of standard Harmony type domestic blocks, was collected from the client organization (Hong Kong Housing Authority) and their registered building contractors to develop the prediction model by using multiple linear regression analysis. The derived model was verified and confirmed significant statistically. Both the client organization and the contracting firms could obtain many benefits from such improvements in their own in-house construction time planning and control systems. PROGRAMMING OF CONSTRUCTION WORKS A building construction process, in general, often consists of several fundamental phases such as site set-up, substructure, superstructure, cladding, finishes, electrical & mechanical services and external works (Gray and Little, 1985). The durations of these phases for a certain type of project could be incorporated when modelling the overall construction period. There are no hard-and-fast rules for predicting construction durations of projects. Construction time is usually deduced from the clients brief or derived by the construction planner from available project information such as design drawings, bill of quantities, method statements, specifications, bar chart programmes, etc. The completion periods are often calculated on the basis of the planners own previous experience on similar projects. Semi-structured interviews with senior construction professionals of the client organization, together with a series of case studies on projects still under construction at the time of study, reached a consensus agreement on construction progamming. It was manifested from these observations on their master construction programmes that the major construction activities of a public housing block in Hong Kong can be classified into several fundamental primary work packages, as illustrated in Figure 1. The detailed definitions of these work packages can be sought in Chan and Kumaraswamys (1999a & 1999b) publications. In this investigation, construction duration was defined as the elapsed period from the commencement of foundation works on-site to the practical completion and handover of the building to the client. It may be also noted that the foundation contractor usually undertakes both the piling works and the pile caps, but in some circumstances where special provisions in the construction contract are incorporated, the building contractor may be requested to construct the pile caps himself before the superstructure erection.

Set-up Piling Lag2 Cap/Raft Cap/Raft Lag3 Lag4 Lag5 Superstructure E&M services Finishes External works Overall construction duration

Figure 1 Typical master construction programme for standard Harmony type housing blocks in Hong Kong ______________________________________________________________________________________ 22-23 March 2002, Hong Kong Page 2 of 11

Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY Good questionnaire design is a key to obtaining good survey results and warranting a high rate of return (Zikmund, 2000). Before designing the questionnaire, common activities for the construction of a new public housing block have been identified (see Figure 1). All the industry practitioners substantiated a consistent proposition: There is a general agreement among officers in the client organization (Hong Kong Housing Authority) and contractors, on the categorization of the common primary work packages (i.e. piling, pile cap/raft, superstructure, E&M services and finishes) and the work sequencing of these packages for the construction of a new public housing project. A third survey instrument was formulated for this study on the basis of the insights originated from two previous surveys of building projects by one of the authors. The aims of these two surveys were to identify the significant factors affecting project construction durations, as well as the principal causes of project delays in Hong Kong, respectively (Kumaraswamy and Chan, 1995; Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1997). An exhaustive literature search produced 84 time-influencing factors in total for consideration. The survey questionnaire consisting of these 84 qualitative and quantitative items of project data was formulated in early 1996. The questionnaire was developed based upon the findings of the two aforesaid surveys, case studies, a search of the international literature, and semi-structured interviews with local clients, consultants and contractors. This facilitated a better understanding of construction practice and problems in Hong Kong. These 84 items were further classified under seven main sections: (A) General organization information; (B) Project characteristics; (C) Client characteristics; (D) Architect/Engineer characteristics; (E) Building contractor characteristics; (F) General assessment of construction speed; and (G) Construction cost/time information. The self-administered questionnaires were pre-tested in a pilot study and subsequently modified before a final version was produced. Moreover, the survey respondents were expressly requested to provide one photocopy of the planned and as-built master construction programmes with their returned questionnaires for each project. The survey population targeted high-rise public housing projects of standard Harmony type completed between 1990 and 1996 inclusive, where a gradual construction boom climate prevailed in Hong Kong at that time. SURVEY SAMPLING A sample needs to be representative of the population in order to produce a result of theoretical and practical value (Fellows and Liu, 1997). A ll the 43 building contractors registered in the Housing Authority (the client) Lists, along with senior construction professional staff from the client organization, were considered in this study. A survey package comprising a covering letter, survey instructions, a few separate sets of self-administered questionnaires and stamped self-addressed return envelopes, was mailed to each firm. Participating construction firms and clients staff were invited to provide the details of public housing projects they were involved within the past 7 years for analysis. Follow-up telephone calls and formal interviews were conducted where possible to secure more detailed responses and/or to provide further clarifications for any unclear/misunderstood items on the survey form. The research survey yielded encouraging responses from the clients staff and 18 building contractors. A representative sample of 56 standard Harmony type domestic blocks was gleaned to formulate the prediction model. Despite further follow-up by mailed letters and telephone calls, only a few actual or as-built construction programmes were provided by survey participants and hence only the planned construction programmes were used for the detailed duration analysis, including work packages. The sample of Harmony blocks ranged: from 16 to 40 storeys high; from 9,900 to 45,000 m2 gross floor area (GFA). The contract values ranged from HK$ 17.02M to HK$ 202.38M, with over 90% of the projects falling between HK$ 100M-200M; and from 22 to 37 months contract period.

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Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ MODEL DEVELOPMENT The method of data analysis adopted depends on the complexity of the research problem. In this study, Spearmans rank correlation method and multiple linear regression analysis were two essential tools used for analyzing the project data and thus formulating the prediction model of construction time. Spearmans rank correlation is considered most suitable to test the association between any two variables and to show the probability of the association. Multiple regression is used to indicate the relative effects of independent variables on a dependent variable and the strength of relationships between the variables (Fellows and Liu, 1997). A computer software (SAS for Windows Version 6.11) was chosen as the statistical tool for analysis. Because of the multitude of independent variables (84 nos.), it was extremely difficult to seek the best combinations of the highly significant variables from among the independent variables in a purely objective and quantitative approach. Therefore, in line with Walker (1994), Blyth (1995) and MacKenzie (1996), a stepwise selection method with a significance level of 5% was used to select statistically significant variables to be incorporated into the model. Data variables were added and deleted one at a time and the regression model was re-run, noting at each step the changes in the coefficient of determination (R 2) value and in essence the significance level of variables. Only those variables with a significance level (p-value) of less than 5% were retained for inclusion in the final regression model equations. A required minimal sample size of 30 was regarded as sufficiently large to provide an effective normal approximation as a general rule of thumb, regardless of the shape of the population frequency distribution (Mendenhall et al., 1993; Leedy, 1997). This is the minimum target set for sample size from the survey population studied. All the cost values were rebased to prices at the fourth quarter of 1996 using the Tender Price Indices provided by the Quantity Surveying Section of the Housing Department (the executive arm of Housing Authority), so as to provide a fair basis for comparison. Formulating a reliable regression model requires a few more steps/tests for checking its validity and reliability. Examination of residuals is an important diagnostic procedure that assists in checking the underlying assumptions in regression analysis, with particular attention to those related to the error term (SAS Institute Inc., 1993). Therefore, the resultant model was further tested by applying regression diagnostics, for any potential problems of: (1) multi-collinearity using tolerance; (2) non-constant variance by a residual analysis; and (3) influential cases (outliers) using studentized residual, Cooks distance and other related indicators (Belsley et al., 1980). The cut-off criteria for problems by these diagnostic indicators are fully described in Chan and Kumaraswamy (1999b). RESULTS OF REGRESSION ANALYSIS Table 1 summarizes the results of regression analysis for the five primary work packages, i.e. piling, pile cap/raft, superstructure, E&M services, finishes, and four sequential start-start lag times between these packages of all three types of Harmony domestic blocks (i.e. Harmony 1, 2 and 3) in Hong Kong. Since the durations for site set-up and external works are found to be non-critical in determining the overall construction time, they are excluded from the analysis. A total of 11 regression model equations were derived to model (a) durations of each of the five primary work packages; (b) durations of each of the four sequential start-start lag times between such work packages; (c) planned overall construction duration; and (d) actual overall construction duration; in respect of the Harmony type blocks. For brevity, only the model equation derived for the planned overall construction duration is shown here. Refer to Chan and Kumaraswamy (1999a) for the whole set of regression model equations. The model predictions are in months. The corresponding analysis of variance (ANOVA) results are also included for reference in Table 2.

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Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ Table 1 Overview of results of regression analysis for 5 work packages and 4 lag times Work package PILING CAP/RAFT SUPERSTR SERVICES FINISHES LAG2 LAG3 LAG4 LAG5 EST-TIME ACT-TIME R2 Adjusted R2 0.8612 0.7155 0.8354 0.7522 0.7788 0.8892 0.8777 0.7307 0.8479 0.8572 0.7546 Mean
(months)

S.D.
(months)

Significance of F 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001

No. of valid cases 44 55 51 54 54 45 55 52 45 55 56

0.8935 0.7576 0.8453 0.7990 0.8038 0.9043 0.8936 0.7571 0.8652 0.8731 0.7769

4.97 3.83 17.40 23.63 18.93 4.76 3.78 1.64 4.36 33.21 34.57

0.93 0.87 2.65 3.44 2.82 0.88 0.96 2.01 1.68 2.93 3.00

Notes: LAG2 : Start-start lag time between piling and pile cap LAG3 : Start-start lag time between pile cap/raft and superstructure LAG4 : Start-start lag time between superstructure and E&M services LAG5 : Start-start lag time between E&M services and finishes EST-TIME : Estimated overall construction duration stipulated in contract ACT-TIME : Actual overall construction duration achieved on-site

Table 2 ANOVA results for model equation of planned overall construction duration Summary of fit 55.0342 Prob > F 0.8731 Adjusted R-square Parameter estimates Estimate T Stat 2.6031 30.5522 0.0834 4.0950 0.0497 3.9385 0 . 0.0024 4.8675 0.2221 4.9149 0.2352 5.2995 0 . -0.0453 -3.1742 0 .

F Stat R-square

0.0001 0.8572

Variable CONSTANT Log ESTCOST FACADE HEIGHT NATSITE

No Yes Built up Level Sloping HOS Rental

TYPESCH

Prob > |T| 0.0001 0.0002 0.0003 . 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 . 0.0026 .

Tolerance . 0.4143 0.9141 . 0.3594 0.1035 0.0988 . 0.8340 .

Regression equation for planned overall construction duration loge EST-TIME = 2.6031 + 0.0834 * loge (Estimated total construction cost in HK$M) + Precast faade ( 0 for with facades; 0.0497 for without facades ) + 0.0024 * Height of building (in m) + Nature of site ( 0.2352 for level; 0.2221 for built-up; 0 for sloping ) + Type of housing scheme ( 0.0453 for purchase; 0 for rental ) ______________________________________________________________________________________ 22-23 March 2002, Hong Kong Page 5 of 11

Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________

The ANOVA results indicated in Table 2 enable a conclusion that a significant linear relationship with 87% explanation does exist between the planned overall construction duration and five variables: estimated total construction cost, the presence/absence of precast facades, height of building, nature of site and type of housing scheme. The values of F Stat manifest that the height of building is the most significant variable in forecasting the overall construction duration, followed by the total construction cost. It should be noted that the EST-TIME is an one-step (direct) forecast of overall construction period, i.e. without considering an aggregate of the constituent work package durations and their lag times. The results of the test for multi-collinearity, residual analysis and influential analysis confirmed that all the regression model equations derived were acceptable and reliable. Detailed results of the regression diagnostics may be traced to Chans (1998) doctoral thesis located in the Main Libraries of The University of Hong Kong. DISCUSSION OF THE MODEL The independent variables (that emerged as significant in the foregoing equation) were not unexpected. The planned overall construction duration was found to be related to: construction cost, height of the building, presence/absence of precast facades, nature of site, and type of housing scheme (rental/purchase). Furthermore, the relative strengths of the influences of the foregoing variables were reflected in the respective coefficients in the equation. It was evident from the results that start-start lag times between consecutive work packages were found to be related to preceding and/or subsequent work packages, along with other (previous) lag times. For instance, the start-start lag time between cap/raft and superstructure (i.e. lag time 3) is affected by both the durations of cap/raft and superstructure. LAG TIME 3 = 2.5559 + 0.6442 * Duration of pile cap (or raft) + Type of foundations ( 0.6491 for H-pile; 0.6568 for caisson; 0.9606 for bored; 1.0519 for precast; 0 for raft ) + 0.0503 * Duration of superstructure 0.0013 * Total gross floor area / Number of storeys It was also revealed from some of the regression model equations generated in this study [refer to Chan and Kumaraswamy (1999a) for details] that speed of decision-making involving all project teams and communications between contracting parties, could considerably affect the durations of the primary work packages for housing projects. Therefore, appropriate overall organizational structures and information communication network systems linking all project teams should be developed throughout the whole life of the project. This helps accelerate the communications and decision-making among all parties (Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1997; Walker and Vines, 2000). Table 3 summarizes the comparison of the observed (i.e. planned) values provided on the survey form from survey respondents and predicted values from the model, of the overall construction durations for the 56 sample projects. Two relative measures of accuracy dealing with percentage errors were used to compare the forecasting results of the model. The percentage error and mean absolute percentage error were defined by Goh (2000) as follows:

Predicted duration - Planned duration x 100% Planned duration n PEi (2) Mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) = i =1 n (1) Percentage error (PE) =
Table 3 Comparison of observed (planned) values and predicted values of overall construction durations

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Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________


Planned duration stipulated in contract (months) 22 37 31 33 34.5 36 36 34 31 36 36 35 36 31 32.5 36 32 Outlier 36 36 36 35 34 35 34 36 32 35 34 30 34 31 34 36 37 36 34.5 36 25 25 35 34.5 33 34.5 35 32.5 34 35 34 32 28.5 31.5 28.5 31 31.5 27 Predicted duration by the model (EST-TIME) (months) 22.00 35.30 33.45 35.51 33.24 34.78 35.41 35.59 30.78 35.16 35.47 33.73 35.37 31.53 34.86 35.60 32.47 34.58 34.35 34.99 34.37 35.13 33.81 35.46 36.22 34.23 35.71 34.64 31.10 35.70 31.88 35.36 35.39 35.36 35.17 35.17 35.29 24.78 25.27 33.50 33.13 33.26 34.81 33.72 33.45 33.82 33.50 33.45 31.70 29.82 29.49 28.63 31.49 29.49 29.28 Percentage error (Predicted vs. Planned) 0.00 -4.59 7.90 7.61 -3.65 -3.39 -1.64 4.68 -0.71 -2.33 -1.47 -3.63 -1.75 1.71 7.26 -1.11 1.47 -3.94 -4.58 -2.81 -1.80 3.32 -3.40 4.29 0.61 6.97 2.03 1.88 3.67 5.00 2.84 4.00 -1.69 -4.43 -2.31 1.94 -1.97 -0.88 1.08 -4.29 -3.97 0.79 0.90 -3.66 2.92 -0.53 -4.29 -1.62 -0.94 4.63 -6.38 0.46 1.58 -6.38 8.44 Absolute percentage error 0 4.59 7.9 7.61 3.65 3.39 1.64 4.68 0.71 2.33 1.47 3.63 1.75 1.71 7.26 1.11 1.47 3.94 4.58 2.81 1.8 3.32 3.4 4.29 0.61 6.97 2.03 1.88 3.67 5 2.84 4 1.69 4.43 2.31 1.94 1.97 0.88 1.08 4.29 3.97 0.79 0.9 3.66 2.92 0.53 4.29 1.62 0.94 4.63 6.38 0.46 1.58 6.38 8.44

Mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) = 3.13%


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Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ The computed values of these measures are also tabulated in Table 3. The model was found to produce accurate forecasts because their MAPE value (i.e. 3.13%) consistently falls within the acceptable limit of 10% (Goh, 2000). It was further evident from Figure 2 that there were in general good overlappings between the observed values (i.e. Planned) provided by the respondents and predicted values by the model in the context of overall project time estimates. It was concluded that the regression model performed well with very little difference between the predicted and actual values in forecasting project durations.

Sample size = 55 R2 = 0.8731; R = 0.9344 Mean absolute percentage error = 3.13%

42 40 38 36 34 32 30 28 26 24

Overall Durations (in months)

Planned
22 20 1 11 21 31

Predicted

41

51

Case Study Project Numbers


Figure 2 Comparison between planned and predicted overall construction durations

MODEL VALIDATION The validity of the final model is usually assessed in terms of predictive accuracy (Wittink, 1988). That is, the regression equation (from the estimation sample) is used to predict values for the dependent (criterion) variable in the validation samples. These predicted values are then compared with the observed (actual) values. ______________________________________________________________________________________ 22-23 March 2002, Hong Kong Page 8 of 11

Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ The predictive efficacy of the construction time prediction model was next tested using data from three other similar public housing projects, still under construction at the time of study, which were not included in the database when building up the model. Table 4 shows the comparisons of the construction planners and model estimates in the three test projects. Somewhat high absolute duration values of the percentage error for 5 work packages and 4 lag times exhibit more deviations in such predictions. However, the percentage error values for the overall construction duration (i.e. CONDUR and EST-TIME) are quite low and the overall durations predicted by the model are consistent with the planners estimates to within approximately 6%. Thus the predictions of the model do not differ significantly from the planners estimates for the whole project. The model can thus be applied to the overall time predictions in the public housing industry in Hong Kong for future projects with a reasonable degree of reliability. Table 4 Percentage error of model predictions relative to planners estimates across the 3 test projects (unit: months) Variable Plan PILING CAP/RAFT SUPERSTR SERVICES FINISHES LAG2 LAG3 LAG4 LAG5 CONDUR EST-TIME 6 3 14.5 20 18 6 3 0 2 32.5 32.5 Project 1 Pred 5.93 3.35 17.33 20.27 19.27 5.62 2.71 2.47 2.70 32.77 34.33 % -1 12 20 1 7 -6 -10 --35 1 6 Plan 6 3 16 24 12 6 3 0 10 33 33 Project 2 Pred 5.54 2.93 17.30 21.76 17.15 5.33 2.90 0.58 7.51 33.47 33.91 % -8 -2 8 -9 43 -11 -3 ---25 1 3 Plan 6 3 15 21.33 12 6 3 1 9 32 32 Project 3 Pred 5.97 2.93 17.30 20.02 15.63 5.02 2.85 1.73 6.09 31.32 33.77 % -0.5 -2 15 -6 30 -16 -5 73 -32 -2 6

Notes: 1. CONDUR : Overall construction duration measured from the beginning of foundation works on-site to the end of Services or Finishes, whichever is the last work package to finish, i.e. taking into account the durations of work packages and their lag times; 2. EST-TIME : One-step (direct) forecast of overall construction periods, i.e. without considering an aggregate of the constituent work package durations and their lag times; 3. Plan : Planned duration proposed in the construction programme by contractor; 4. Pred : Predicted duration derived from the regression model equations. The interviews and interactions with the intended senior construction team leaders r esponsible for construction management of each case study project have confirmed the relevance, validity, practicality, and usefulness of the developed model for the different groupings, i.e. clients, consultants and contractors. FIELD APPLICATIONS OF THE MODEL The client organization (Hong Kong Housing Authority) and their consultants could gain tremendous benefits from formulating and reinforcing their own in-house planning and control systems for duration estimates. For example, they could have greater confidence when providing a schedule of more realistic benchmark measures of construction period across different standardized types of housing blocks, by applying the regression model equations for the overall construction time. As for the contractors, they could adopt the model to rapidly define an outline construction programme showing the durations and sequence of main work activities of a new public housing project from ______________________________________________________________________________________ 22-23 March 2002, Hong Kong Page 9 of 11

Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ limited project information available at the tender stage. They could also evaluate the reasonableness of the clients stipulated contract periods, without having to conduct a detailed analysis of the design and possible construction methods during the tender stage. It is likely for a contracting organization to benchmark its own programmes, subprogrammes and progress rates against what was found to be industry best practice performance from among its counterparts. The derived regression model equations serve as an essential benchmark for future research into the schedule performance of building projects, for the purposes of local and international comparisons. As a significant recommendation on developing an efficient and productive construction industry, more realistic project programming and more thorough pre-construction planning will help eliminate inefficiencies during project delivery (Construction and Contract News, 2001). CONCLUDING REMARKS A review of the relevant literature sought a set of factors considered to affect project construction time. These identified factors were used to constitute an investigation survey that identified a set of critical factors influencing construction durations of public housing projects in Hong Kong. Qualitative and quantitative project information from a total of 56 standard Harmony type domestic blocks completed between 1990 and 1996, was collected from the client and contractors to develop the time prediction model, mainly applying multiple linear regression analysis. This study identifies a group of significant variables that help to model and benchmark the durations of the five primary work packages i.e. piling, pile cap/raft, superstructure, E&M services, finishes and their respective sequential start-start lag times. The model can also generate benchmark estimates of the predicted/expected overall construction duration of a new project. The derived model was then verified by using additional but similar projects to test any discrepancies between the predicted values and actual estimates proposed by the contractors. It was confirmed that the predictions of the model fell within a reasonable range of the planners estimates. A parallel study on another standard block type (i.e. New Cruciform) had been completed for comparison (Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1999b). A comprehensive study on construction time performance and related improvement measures had also been documented in another paper (Chan and Kumaraswamy, 2002). A similar investigation has already been launched on private sector housing blocks for deep analysis. Research in this area could result in developing national or international best practice recommendations. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The writers wish to acknowledge the generous co-operation and contributions of local building contractors and officers of the Hong Kong Housing Authority, for completing the questionnaires used in this survey in Hong Kong. The research material is based upon the financial support provided by the Committee on Research and Conference Grants (CRCG) of The University of Hong Kong, in that it has made this study possible. REFERENCES Belsley, D.A., Kuh, E. and Welsch, R.E. (1980). Regression diagnostics: Identifying influential data and sources of collinearity , John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA. Blyth, S.M. (1995). An investigation into the development of a benchmark for UK construction time performance. MSc thesis, University of Glamorgan, UK. Camp, R.C. (1989). Benchmarking: The search for the industry best practice that lead to superior performance, American Society for Quality Control Press, New York, USA. Chan, A.P.C. (1996). Determinants of project success in the construction industry of Hong Kong . PhD thesis, University of South Australia, Australia. Chan, D.W.M. (1998). Modelling construction durations for public housing projects in Hong Kong . PhD thesis, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. ______________________________________________________________________________________ 22-23 March 2002, Hong Kong Page 10 of 11

Project Management Impresario of the Construction Industry Symposium ______________________________________________________________________________________ Chan, D.W.M. and Kumaraswamy, M.M. (1996a). Reasons for delay in civil engineering projects - The case of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers Transactions, 2(3), 1-8. Chan, D.W.M. and Kumaraswamy, M.M. (1996b). An evaluation of construction time performance in the building industry. Building and Environment, 31(6), 569-578. Chan, D.W.M. and Kumaraswamy, M.M. (1997). A comparative study of causes of time overruns in Hong Kong construction projects. International Journal of Project Management, 15(1), 55-63. Chan, D.W.M. and Kumaraswamy, M.M. (1999a). Modelling and predicting construction durations in Hong Kong public housing. Construction Management and Economics, 17(3), 351-362. Chan, D.W.M. and Kumaraswamy, M.M. (1999b). Forecasting construction durations for public housing projects: A Hong Kong perspective. Building and Environment, 34(5), 633-646. Chan, D.W.M. and Kumaraswamy, M.M. (2002). Compressing construction durations: Lessons learned from Hong Kong building projects. International Journal of Project Management, 20(1), 23-35. Construction and Contract News (2001). Construct for Excellence - Report of the Construction Industry Review Committee, No. 2, 68-73, Hong Kong. Fellows, R. and Liu, A. (1997). Research methods for construction, Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, UK. Goh, B.H. (2000). Evaluating the performance of combining neural networks and genetic algorithms to forecast construction demand: The case of the Singapore residential sector. Construction Management and Economics, 18(2), 209-217. Gray, C. and Little, J. (1985). The Classification of Work Packages to Determine the Relationship between Design and Construction, Occasional Paper No. 18, Department of Construction Management, University of Reading, UK. Griffith, A., Stephenson, P. and Watson P. (2000). Management systems for construction, Pearson Education Inc., New York, USA. Kumaraswamy, M.M. and Chan, D.W.M. (1995). Determinants of construction duration. Construction Management and Economics, 13(3), 209-217. Leedy, P.D. (1997). Practical research: Planning and design, 6th Edition, Merrill, New Jersey, USA. MacKenzie, J. (1996). The influence of a benchmarking system for construction time performance of contracts in South Wales. MSc thesis, University of Glamorgan, UK. Mendenhall, W., Reinmuth, J.E. and Beaver, R. (1993). Statistics for management and economics, 7th Edition, Duxbury Press, Belmont, California, USA. Ng, S.T., Mak, M.M.Y., Skitmore, R.M., Lam, K.C. and Varnam, M. (2001). The predictive ability of Bromilows time-cost model. Construction Management and Economics, 19(2), 165-173. Nkado, R.N. (1991). A construction time information system for the building industry . PhD thesis, University of Reading, UK. SAS Institute Inc. (1993). SAS/INSIGHT Users guide Version 6 , 2nd Edition, Cary, North Carolina, USA. Walker, D.H.T. (1994). An investigation into factors that determine building construction time performance. Ph.D. thesis, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia. Walker, D.H.T. and Vines, M.W. (2000) Australian multi-unit residential project construction time performance factors. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 7(3), 278-284. Wittink, D.R. (1988). The application of regression analysis, Allyn and Bacon Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Zikmund, W.G. (2000). Business research methods, 6th Edition, Dryden Press, Texas, USA.

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