SWOT analysis of indigenous building contractors in Northern Ghana

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November, 2016
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It has been established in many writings and researches that most Ghanaian Construction firms perform poorly in terms of meeting project objectives of cost, time and quality due to weaknesses such as poor planning and scheduling, poor managerial practices and leadership, poor cost predictability, low profitability, low productivity , unprofessionalism, improper documentation and effective keeping of records, poor business performance, inadequate funding and access to credit, and inability to maximize the strengths and opportunities Ghana offers them. This study is aimed at conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of indigenous building contractors in Northern Ghana in order to improve performance and enhance growth by knowing the true standing of these contractors and how weaknesses and threats can be overcome, strengths and opportunities optimized through proper strategic planning and management. A sample size of 30 contractors was used. These contractors were determined through non-probability sampling technique. Specifically, the purposive sampling method was used for the selection of the contractors with the help of pre-selection criteria. The data collected was analyzed through descriptive analysis, mean score, and factor analysis by SPSS 16.0. The identified major strengths were clemency of weather, availability of land and client’s relations. The minor strengths are low overheads, cheap labor, low living expenses, quality of products and services, experience, production efficiency, IT utilization, procurement management, organizational structure and diversified array of projects. The major weaknesses identified were Cost overruns, delays, research and development activities, training and retraining of staff and partnership whiles the minor weaknesses are poor supervision, poor finishes, improper documentation and records keeping, inadequate financial resources, corrupt employees, lack of proper planning and scheduling, improper managerial economics, high employee turnover, low profit margins, inexperienced employees, lack of required plant and equipment, poor health and safety practices, joint ventures with oversees firms, lack of innovation, and poor risks identification and management. The opportunities are establishment of a quarry, sand winning, training of employees in software usage, investment into real estate development, designing and building of residential buildings, establishment of R & D department, and training and retraining of employees, training of locals in artisanship, officially renting out equipment, belonging to northern network of contractors, choosing an industry standard as a benchmark, international partnership, and employment of experienced staff and building with local materials. Finally, from the results, the identified major threats are instability in the country and unfavorable government policies whiles the minor threats are existence of more competent Ghanaian firms, national and international bidding, bribery and corruption in the award of contracts, global competition, high interest rates on loan facilities, Ghanaians increasing appetite for foreign taste, and poor microeconomic indicators. It is recommended that, contractors should conduct a SWOT analysis of their companies regularly to inform strategic planning and management and to help achieve project objectives of cost, time, quality and client satisfaction. Also, a further study is recommended for the Political, environmental, social and technological (PEST) analysis and Porter’s five factors for indigenous Northern Contractors.
A dissertation submitted to the Department of Building Technology, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science,