Causes of Abandonment of Projects in Nigeria and Avoidance Strategies (from the Perspective of the Consultant)

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The Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers
(A Division of The Nigerian Society of Engineers)
3 – Day National Workshop on Strategies for Avoiding Abandoned Projects in Nigeria 21st - 23rd October 2003



Abandonment of projects has become a national menace in Nigeria’s infrastructural development. The purpose of this paper is to look at the causes for such abandonment and to discuss avoidance strategies from the perspective of the consultant.

Projects are usually abandoned in Nigeria due to one or a combination of the following causes: -

1.Improper project/contract management
2.Lack of risk analysis and management on the project.

These causes as well as the strategies to avoid them are discussed in greater details in the subsequent sections of this paper.

2.0Improper Project/Contract Management

Project management is defined as professional services involving the establishment and monitoring of overall implementation strategy on a project from the design stage through to construction and commissioning stages. Hence an effective project manager must understand the client’s business, the purpose and nature of the project and it’s impact on the client’s business in addition to understanding the business of managing projects. Fulfillment of this objective requires both vision and skill on the part of the Project Manager. Most project managers in Nigeria do not fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of this role, hence leading to project abandonment in most cases.

Project management in the construction industry essentially involves the following services: -

Project Initiation and Planning
Planning and Monitoring Design Services
Planning and Monitoring Construction Works
Cost Control and Monitoring
Procurement and Commissioning

To enable the most favorable overall procurement approach to be adopted, the project strategy must be carefully considered at the earliest stage. In fact, the formulation of a project strategy by the client/project manager is the first building block to a successful and cost effective scheme.

For an effective project/contract management, which would ensure that the project is not abandoned in future, the following procedures need to be followed: -

2.1Definition of Project Objectives/Project Manager’s Responsibilities

The project objectives must be clearly defined by the client/project manager so that all parties in the management team clearly understand these. They are as listed below: -

Outline Project Description (short description of the project). Client’s Requirements (bullet point list of all client’s requirements/aspirations in terms of purpose, cost, time, quality, customer/user perceptions/response etc.). Brief/Scope of Works (outline description of the client’s brief and scope of works on the project). Programme (outline programme description giving any key/critical dates to be met and reasons why, where appropriate, e.g. funding application deadline dates, dates where project will be affected by changes in legislation, building opening dates relating to school/university terms, scheduled events etc.). Cost (budget limit and outline structure of cost plan).

Approving Authorities (state any particular approval procedures in addition to the usual local authority planning approvals).

The responsibilities of the project manager in the construction industry will normally consist of the following activities in a project: -

a)Briefing by the client
b)Management and co-ordination of the project, including other consultants c)Collection of data and site information, and the carrying out of necessary investigations d)Design and analysis
e)Preparation of drawings
f)Preparation of bills of quantities, specifications and tender documents g)Tendering
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