AN EVALUATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT LEAD TO ABANDONMENT OF PUBLIC BUILDING PROJECTS
The successful implementation of building projects may be impaired without a good knowledge of the environmental factors that contribute to building projects abandonment and this abandonment makes it difficult to achieve the benefit to be derived from the projects. The aim of the study was to evaluate the environmental factors that lead to abandonment of public building projects, with a view to proffering solutions to public building projects abandonments in Abuja . The study identifies the characteristics of abandoned public building projects, examine the environmental factors that are responsible for public building projects abandonment and also assess the effects of public building projects abandonment on the environment. The research adopted the quantitative method in which the checklist was developed to obtain the inventory of abandoned public building projects in Abuja. A structured questionnaire was also designed and administered to the in-house consultants of the F.C.D.A. Data was analyzed using statistical tools like Means, Percentages and Relative Importance Index (RII) and presented using Charts and Tables. The study revealed that 67% of the public building projects are abandoned after the contract period has elapsed. It also revealed that lack of funds constitute about 50% of the factors affecting completion as well as none of the abandoned public building projects achieved 50% completion. The study found that inadequate working capital is the highest ranked factor among the other environmental factors with a RII of 0.87. The study also revealed that cost overrun is the most significant effect of abandonment of public building projects with a RII of 0.81. The research concluded that the inadequate working capital, importation of materials and equipments, instability in governance, type of contract, civil conflicts and unexpected geological condition are the environmental factors that contribute largely and immensely to the abandonment of public building projects. The research recommends that there should be proper cost analysis of the project to be embarked upon.
Background of the Study
The construction industry contributes greatly to the growth of any nation even though it contributes less than the other industries. Therefore, it is a key player in the socio-economic progress of several countries internationally (Usman, Kamau and Mireri, 2014). Also the Nigeria construction industry is a broad variety of loosely incorporated organizations that jointly erect, adjust and restore a large range of different buildings and public engineering projects. The building industry is also defined as financial activities that center on the construction of physical projects, such as buildings and road and rail network, despite of the construction being land or maritime based (Osman, 2006). The success of a project is a very critical issue in the industry.
Unluckily a lot of these projects in Nigeria are out rightly abandoned still at commencement (Olapade and Anthony, 2012). Dahlan (2001) contends that, from the development point of view, the word „abandoned project‟ refers to a project in which the construction job has been delayed, even though planning consent has been approved to the developer. Also, Olapade and Anthony (2012) defined abandoned project as a project in which the client refuse to provide maintenance and working services to a building. However, this study view abandoned building project as a project in which the construction work is incomplete and suspended. Therefore, the importance that the continual abandonment of projects would bring numerous effects on real properties and its values and the financial system cannot be overemphasized since some of the building projects provide the fundamental services that should improve the real properties developed (Ihuah and Benebo, 2014). By most accounts, abandoned buildings have numerous risks and danger associated with them.
The abandonment of building projects most especially the public building projects scattered across the length and breadth of Nigeria. According to a report by Nasir (2012), there are about eleven thousand, eight hundred and eighty-six (11,886) abandoned projects that will cost an expected N7.78 trillion to complete! These shocking figures are from the statement of the Presidential Projects Assessment Committee (PPAC) set up in March 2011, by The President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria to look into cases of abandoned projects. If the government does not begin any fresh projects, it will take more than five years budgeting about N1.5 trillion yearly to finish them all – and that is assuming no cost-over runs or delays. However, Faniran, Love and Smith (2000) recommended that there is a need to build up proper management tools and techniques particularly modified to the project environment of developing countries. According to Ajayi, Ogunsanmi and Ofili (2010) the four most significant external environmental factors in declining order include community issues, weather conditions, economic situation (boom or meltdown) and government policy.