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Arantes, A and Ferreira, L M D (2020) Underlying causes and mitigation measures of delays in construction projects. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction , 25(02), 165–81.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Project management; Construction/project management; Delays in project delivery; Factor analysis; Delay causes; Construction industry; Mitigation;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 1366-4387
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/JFMPC-03-2019-0029
  • Abstract:
    The purpose of this study is to contribute to the theory and practice of project management in the construction industry by identifying the primary causes and extracting the underlying causes of construction delays and providing recommendations on delay mitigation measures.


    AA survey was used to identify the importance of 47 causes of delays. The relative importance index was used to rank them, factor analysis was applied to extract the underlying causes and focus group interviews were used for discussion and development of mitigation measures.


    Six of the ten most important causes are in the top ten universal delays in construction projects. Factor analysis revealed six underlying causes: improper planning, poor consultant performance, inefficient site management, owner influence, bureaucracy and sub-standard contracts.

    Practical implications

    The owner/sponsor/client must have adequate engineering and project management skills to be able to evaluate proposals and contractors more accurately, economically and technically. The bidding and contract award process should focus on the most economically advantageous proposal and contracts should provide for mechanisms for managing risks while executing projects. Contractors should select reliable, high-quality subcontractors and suppliers and should have competent site managers.


    This work expands and improves the understanding of the causes of delays in construction projects by providing an empirical study of the causes of delays and respective mitigation measures in Portugal.