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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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It is cited that the history of construction projects can be traced back to Egyptian Pyramids, early Greek settlement around Mediterranean, Roman Empire constructions of temples and structures in medieval age (Wambui, Ombui and Kagiri, 2015). As it is known that in the 18th Century is Renaissance period which saw much significance to architecture and industrial revolution. Also, 19th century saw large improvements in construction industry particularly in railways and buildings.

A construction project is a complex set of activities and tasks with a definite start date and a definite completion date and consumes resources such as money, human resources, outputs and equipment in order to achieve specific objectives (Kerzner (2006). Further Project Management Institute (PMI, 2008) emphasizes that a project is temporary because it has a defined beginning and a defined end in time as well as defined scope and resources. It is also unique because it is not a routine operation. Construction has generally been said to be a process in which material, equipment and machinery are assembled into a permanent facility. It is generally defined to encompass the creation of physical infrastructure (roads, railways, harbours), other civil-engineering work (dams, irrigation projects, power plants), all building work (including housing), as well as the maintenance and repair of existing structures. Construction projects have been classified in several ways in order to distinguish amongst them.

2.1.1 Classification of construction projects

The construction projects in most developing countries can be classified into various categories depending on their complexity, scope and use. Shenhar (2001) argues that despite all projects having certain features such as a goal, budget and timeframe, they differ in several ways to the extent that “one size does not fit all”. Construction projects can, therefore, be classified based on size as small, medium, large or mega; ownership as private or public; use as residential, commercial, industrial or utility; and scope as building or infrastructural projects. Among these categories of classification, project scope provides a better classification of public construction projects.

Accordingly, based on scope, a project is categorized as a building or an infrastructural project. Infrastructural projects include engineering industries, highway, heavy constructions and bridges (Grace, 2010). A building project could be residential or non residential when it is further classified based on its use. Residential construction projects include houses, townhouses, apartments, and cottages. Because of its use, residential building construction is perhaps the most popular type of construction projects undertaken in developing countries especially by the private sector. Non residential buildings refer to institutional and commercial buildings that cover a great variety of project types and sizes such as hospitals and clinics, schools and universities, sports facilities and stadiums, large shopping centres and retail chain stores, light manufacturing plants and warehouses and skyscrapers for offices and hotels.

Institutional construction is a major part of public construction sector and is very important for the development of a country to satisfy the varied needs of its people. Infrastructural projects constitute a small part of the whole construction industry although it is a very important part of the industry. These projects are generally owned by big, for-profit industrial corporations such as manufacturing, power generation, medicine, petroleum, among others. Specialized Industrial Construction usually involves very large scale projects with a high degree of technological complexity such as nuclear power plants, chemical processing plants, steel mills and oil refineries. Highway construction involves the construction, alteration and repair of roads, highways, streets, alleys, runways, paths, parking areas etc. It includes all incidental construction in conjunction with the highway construction project. Heavy construction projects usually involve projects that are not properly classified as either \"building\" or \"highway.\" Examples of this type of project would be: water and sewer line projects, dams, sewage treatment plants and facilities, flood control projects, dredging projects, and water treatment plants and facilities. Halpin and Woodhead (2006) provided a classification under three categories: (1) building and infrastructure, (2) non residential and residential; and (3) institutional and commercial. Figure 2.1 shows the classification of construction projects.

Figure 2.1: Classification of Construction Projects

Frielander and Krugly (2007) posit that the public sector construction (PSC) projects typically face more difficult problems and obstacles than private sector projects. The formality of the budgeting process renders cost overruns unusually troublesome, and the realities of public administration of the projects often result in delays and claims. The requirement of most public procurement laws that the construction contract be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder often leads to an adversarial claims process that is not only costly but also damages public perception of the project and the internal harmony among the participants.

2.2 FORMATIVE EVALUATION: USING PREQUALIFICATION AND BIDING EVALUATIONS

Evaluation involves the process of critically examining a program (Patton, 1987; Patton, 1997). During evaluation, information is collected and analyzed about a program’s activities, characteristics, and outcomes. Its purpose is to make judgments about a program, to improve its effectiveness, and or to inform programming decisions (Patton, 1987). Evaluations is categorized into two parts: formative and summative. Formative evaluations are conducted during program development and implementation and are useful if you want direction on how to best achieve your goals or improve your program. Summative evaluations should be completed once your programs are well established and will tell you to what extent the program is achieving its goals. In this paper, the author is focusing on formative evaluation.

The term formative evaluation was introduced by Scriven in his discussion of curriculum evaluation. It provides a means for using test procedures to guide and foster learning (Airasian, 1968). Michael Quinn Patton, the father of “Utilization-focused evaluation” observed that evaluations should be judged by their utility and actual use; therefore, evaluators should facilitate the evaluation process and design any evaluation any evaluation with careful consideration of how everything that is done, from beginning to end, will affect use (Patton, 1997). Patton further points out that a utilization-focused evaluation can include evaluative purpose (formative, summative, developmental). Use concerns how real people in the real world apply evaluation findings and experience the evaluation process.

For construction project management, it is critical to select a qualified contractor who can meet the construction project owners’ time, cost, and quality expectations (Chiang, Yu and Luarn, 2016), but a construction contractor might fail to fulfill the contract requirements associated with a facility. Thus, screening qualified contractors during the selection process is very important for project owners. In this case, formative evaluation in this paper will employ the prequalification and bidding processes. Prequalification and bid evaluation decisions involve the consideration of three main issues: (1) general information about the contractors, (2) criteria for the prequalification process stage, and (3) criteria for bid evaluation (Hatush & Skitmore, 1997).

2.2.1 Criteria for prequalification process

A criteria structure for contractor prequalification was introduced by Holt et al. (1994). The criteria were based on the contractor\'s organization, financial considerations, management resources, the contractor’s past experience and past performance. In the contractor\'s organization, the researchers identified organization age, size, image, quality control policy, health and safety policy, and litigation tendency. In the financial consideration, they identified ratio analysis accounts, bank reference, credit reference, and turnover history. In the management resource area, they identified qualifications of contractors,

qualifications of key personnel, years with the company, and formal training regime. Past experience criteria includes the type of projects completed, the size of projects completed, and national/local experience. In past experience, they included failure of contract, overrun time, overruns cost, and actual quality achieved.

Prequalification is a process used to investigate and assess the capabilities of the contractors to carry out a job if it is awarded to them (Hatush & Skitmore, 1997). Researchers in the early studies have shed more light on this process (Zedan & Skitmore 1994, Ng, 1992; Merna & Smith, 1990; Russell & Skibniewski, 1988). Prequalification provides a client with a list of contractors that are invited to tender on a regular basis. This is the approach most currently used by many countries, and in which many and different types of criteria are considered to evaluate the overall suitability of contractors (Hatush & Skitmore, 1997).

To gain entry to an approved standing list, a contractor applies initially to the client and is then assessed on grounds of financial stability, managerial capability, organizational structure, technical expertise and the previous record of comparable construction (Merna and Smith, 1990). According to Hunt et al (1966) noted that it is necessary to consider technical, managerial and financial criteria in the prequalification process. These comprise the applicant\'s permanent place of business, adequacy of plant and equipment to do the work properly and expeditionary, suitability of financial capability to meet obligations required by the work, appropriateness of technical ability and experience, performance of work of the same general type and on a scale not less than 50% of the amount of the proposed contract, the frequency of previous failures to perform contracts properly or fail to complete them on time, the current position of the contractor to perform the contract well, and the contractor\'s relationship with subcontractors, or employees.

Samelson and Levitt (1982) focused on construction cost reduction by means of accidents cost control through owner selection of safe contractors. Prequalification criteria are already required by many owners in both negotiated and competitively bid contracts. Including questions on experience modification rating (EMR) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incidence rate, these two criteria would be a means to identify contractors with poor safety.

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