Impact of road contractor classification on road maintenance delivery in Ghana

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In recent times the issue of inadequate local contracting capacity for the execution of road construction and maintenance projects seems to be assuming a disturbing national concern. Ineffective system of classifying road contractors, lack of road agency supervisory and monitoring capacity, difficulty in obtaining credit and delayed payment for certified work done, have been mentioned as factors affecting road maintenance delivery. This research seeks to assess the impact of the road contractor classification system; road contractor screening, selection and licensing for road works and in particular road maintenance services. The objectives of the study was: (1) to make a critical assessment of the procedures requirements and features of the system, (2) Identify classification factors affecting performing and non performing contractors and (3) draw lessons for an improved classification and tendering ♦ evaluation procedures. The research reviewed classification systems of some countries to understand the frame work of a road contractor classification system and to learn of best practices. Data collection was conducted by administering four different survey questionnaires to contractors, regional road agency staff of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), in two regions. Road maintenance managers of GHA and Ministry of Transportation (MoT) road contractor classification committee members also responded to questionnaires. The questionnaire sought to establish the procedures, criteria, method of evaluation of contractors' application information by the classification committee members. Based on 15 performing and 15 non performing previously selected contractors, road managers evaluated contractor classification factors that influenced the success or otherwise of completed or ongoing projects in the period 2002- 2007. The results show that lack of a proper legal status / structure of the road contractor classification system, weak verification and ineffective evaluation of contractor information results in an adhoc contractor registration and management, inadequate regulation and monitoring. Although the registration system in Ghana has achieved some modest gains in eliminating unsuitable and quack contractors, there is the need to create a separate department, council or board with legal status with a well resourced professional secretariat to be in charge of contractor grading, registration, monitoring and enforcement of contractor classification criteria. Verification and inspection of contractor facilities would then be intensified. In addition the adoption of a point system of evaluating contractors' information at classification would ensure that contractors tendering for road agency projects actually have the resources for which they have been classified.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science.