Construction project monitoring and evaluation practice in Ghana
Table of Contents:
The overarching challenge with the construction industry in Ghana has been that of poor performance while the impact of M&.E in uplifting performance has been widely reported. Project management processes, drawing on the M&E ofinputs and processes have been described as a major approach to ensure project management is effective and that projects are successfully implemented (Otieno, 2000). Idoro (2012) further describes M&E as providing checks and balances for ensuring that the strategies and overall project objectives are achieved.
In Ghana’s construction industry, the practice of M&.E can be described from two main approaches, namely the formal and the informal settings of project implementation. The informal project implementation allows private project developers to engage professionals to develop and manage projects till successful completion. Professionals design and execute the project, ensuring that projects are implemented to meet the standard quality specification, within clients’ budget and that projects are delivered on schedule through constant supervision and monitoring of progress to ensure the efficient use of project resources (materials, funds and labor). Professionals also find strategies to mitigate challenges influencing negative construction practices. In the formal setting of project implementation, government ministries, department and agencies such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the MWRWH, the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), the Ministry of Education and Health roll out infrastructural projects to solve the infrastructure need of constituents and the country at large. The services to ensure the projects are executed to set targets are done in-house. However, in most cases, these services are subcontracted to project management consultants (PMCs) owing to project locations, lack of capacity and logistics to effectively manage these projects.
Project management consultants
Project management consultants (PMCs) are a team of professionals (quantity surveyor, architect, all relevant categories of engineers, planners) with the requisite knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to manage project activities to ensure project requirement is met. Sarda and Dewalkar (2016) posit that the role of PMCs in civil engineering project includes scheduling, risk identification, cost budgeting, monitoring and control by project plans to ensure project success. In Ghana, Ahadzie, Proverbs and Olomolaiye (2004) indicate the steady interest in involving project managers since the late 1980s on projects with the aim of achieving success. The need for and relevance of effective M&.E integrating project management consultants in the Ghanaian construction industry cannot be overemphasized and, as such, is critical for project success.
In small-scale projects, for instance, project implementation units (PIUs)/ technical department (TD) of the MMDA, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) may undertake project management services. However, in the case of large-scale projects (project scope), the functions of PM consultants become necessary for the efficient and effective management of projects. Other factors such as project requirements, financial threshold limitations provided in the procurement of works and services and limited financial and technical capacity compel the procurement of project consultants.
Ministry of water resources works and housing (MWRWH)
It is worth noting that to ensure successful project implementation, work activities and building and civil engineering contractors must be taken seriously, hence their regulation in the construction industry (Ofori-Kuragu et al., 2016). The task of classifying contractors is the business of the MWRWH (see section 5.3 for details of contractor classifications in Ghana). The formulation and implementing policies, strategies and programmes for the Housing and Works sub-sectors of Ghana are vested in the MWRWH (2010). The Ministry serving as a central management agency (CMA) and overseeing several departments with the specific task and mandate in ensuring project implementation is successful under two broad agencies, namely the works sector and the housing sector agencies. The works sector’s agency has the Hydrological Services Department (HSD) which is concerned with the programming and the coordination of coastal protection works, as well as the construction and maintenance of storm drains countrywide and the monitoring and evaluation of surface water bodies in respect of floods.
Also, the Public Works Department (PWD) established in 1850 by the colonial government is the oldest government department and is responsible for overseeing the construction and maintenance of all government bungalows, office blocks and other landed properties. Further, the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) found in all ten administrative regions of the country was established to provide consultancy services primarily to government departments, (para-statal) organizations as well as individuals. They also can undertake surveys and the design of bridges, irrigation works, sewage systems, water supplies, soil and foundation studies as well as the testing of construction materials and the valuation and appraisal of properties. The service provided by AESL also includes the supervision of civil and building works and, finally, the provision of quality control services to contractors. The Engineers’ Council is also represented under the Ministry. The housing sector agencies of the MWRWH also include the Rent Control Department (RCD), Department of Rural Housing (DRH), Public Servants Housing and Loans Scheme Board (PSHLSB), the Architects’ Registration Council (ARC), Tema Development Corporation (TDC) and the State Housing Company (SHC).
Qhana Education Trust Fund (QETFund)
The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 581 of 2000. The Act defines the core mandate of GETFund to include the provision of funding to complement efforts to improve educational infrastructure in public educational institutions. Additionally, funding to procure educational equipment and staff development is provided for in the Act. Regrettably, just as other project implementation agencies, GETFund projects were saddled with several forms of challenges such as delays in honoring payment certificates and poor and ineffective monitoring. Studies have shown incessant delays by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) in transferring GETFund’s allocations as scheduled. This explains the delays in honoring payment certificates to contractors engaged in GETFund projects (Banaman, 2015). This unfortunate delay is a barrier to effective M&.E.
A study by Eyiah-Botwe (2015) cited a report titled “GETFund Review and Outlook (2000-2009)” of the GETFund consultative forum held in 2010 which attributed the poor management of resources to the absence of M&.E on the project. Hence, the technical department (TD) was subsequently tasked with the responsibility of identifying, appraising and supervising all projects initiated by the GETFund. Specifically, the TD is tasked with construction and engineering professionals responsible for managing GETFund projects across the country, coordinating functions, the M&.E of project activities to assess project outcomes and effectiveness and identifying improvements for future projects. The Technical Department also handles the procurement of works and services under the funding, providing contract administration and infrastructure needs assessment (INA) for present and future funding options.
Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs)
To ensure uniform development across the entire country, the local government structure was promoted. Specifically, the developmental function at the local government level is vested in the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and is provided for by the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) under section 10, sub-section 3 (a)-(e) to include the following:
a Responsibility for the total development of the district and guaranteeing the preparation and submission through the regional coordinating council;
i development plans of the district to the National Development Planning Commission for approval; and
ii the budget of the district related to the approved plans to the Minister responsible for Finance for approval;
b Formulating and implementing plans, programmes and policies for the effective deployment of the needed resources for the general development of the district;
c Encouraging and supporting productive activity and social development in the district and removing any obstacles to initiative and development;
d Initiating plans for the development of the basic infrastructure and providing municipal works and services in the district; and
e Developing, improving and managing human settlements and the environment in the district.
Given the development functions of the local government, the District Planning Coordination Unit was established under the Planning Department to enforce all planning functions related to all development activities in line with the NDPC framework [Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462)]. This function is successfully
A review of the Ghanaian construction 163 achieved with the partnership of the Works and Engineering Department of the MMDAs.