A systems thinking approach to eliminate delays on building construction projects in South Africa


  • Olatunji Aiyetan Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • John Smallwood Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Winston Shakantu Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University


Systems thinking, Building construction projects, South Africa


It is obvious that the performance of firms and their market competitiveness hinge on project delivery time. Many approaches have been used to reduce the effect of the potential factors of delay on project delivery time. In this study, the systems approach has been employed and validated. Inferential statistical analysis was conducted to analyse eighty-eight questionnaires returned during the primary study and twenty-four during the validation phase. The holistic role of professionals in the construction industry was illustrated with the aid of causal loop analysis, showing cause and effect relationships. Based on the findings that eight out of the twelve categories of problems of delays are construction-related, the study identified seven stages of construction project delivery and various activities in these stages that could reduce the negative influence of delay factors on project delivery time. The interventions category, which has the most influence on the elimination of delays in project delivery, occurs during the construction stage, followed by interventions during the briefing/design stage. The interventions category with the least influence is pre-qualification of suppliers. The study recommends that adequate planning, pre-qualification of suppliers, provision of work schedule, and prompt payment of interim certificates be focused on to mitigate delays in project delivery time. Furthermore, the following courses should be included in all built-environment education programmes: operational planning; quality; design, and generic management.


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How to Cite

Aiyetan, O., Smallwood, J. and Shakantu, W. (2011) “A systems thinking approach to eliminate delays on building construction projects in South Africa”, Acta Structilia, 18(2), pp. 19-39. Available at: https://journals.ufs.ac.za/index.php/as/article/view/115 (Accessed: 17January2022).



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