Understanding delays in housing construction: evidence from Northern Ireland

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Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to investigate delay factors within private housing construction in Northern Ireland. Delays are inherent throughout the construction industry and create major difficulties in terms of project performance and client satisfaction. Whilst a voluminous body of international literature has investigated pertinent delay factors within construction projects, there is a relative paucity of research which offers a more delineated exploration of delay factors affecting private housing development schemes, particularly in the UK context.Design/methodology/approach– This study applies questionnaire survey research to examine the relative importance of 75 delay attribute factors for housing construction projects in Northern Ireland. The approach applies both a relative rank and principal component analysis to distil the key factors impinging upon the delay process in housing construction.Findings– The key finding from this research is that delays within the housing construction sector in Northern Ireland can be attributed to deficiencies in site management, ineffective communication strategies and a lack of coordination between key stakeholders involved in the construction process.Originality/value– The study adds to the existing knowledge base and provides stakeholders with information on factors, which, if properly risk assessed and understood, can improve housing construction performance. The findings are of relevance to construction industry practitioners, policy makers and researchers with lessons learned serving as a basis for future policy development as well as affording an information platform for improving the efficiency and expediency of housing provision internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-319
JournalJournal of Financial Management of Property and Construction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2015


  • Delay
  • Housing construction
  • Principal component analysis
  • Relative importance index


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