FACTORS INFLUENCING PERFORMANCE OF CONTRACTORS OF GOVERNMENT-FUNDED BUILDING PROJECTS IN KIRINYAGA COUNTY, KENYA.
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Building projects, a component of infrastructure development, are key drivers of economic
growth of a country. Governments globally thus invest heavily in this sector. Their contribution
however, can only be determined by their performance, with the ultimate goal being project
success. The concept of project success has remained ambiguously defined in the building
industry although time, cost and quality are considered to be the predominant criteria. In Kenya,
government-funded building projects are implemented through a tri-party endeavour consisting
of the financier/client, the project manager, and the contractor, who must work harmoniously to
ensure project success. The implementing entity that carries out the actual construction is the
contractor. This study focuses on this third party. Whereas the performance of contractors
undertaking such projects in Kirinyaga County and in Kenya in general, is influenced by specific
factors that impact on project success, very little reliable information is available on what these
factors are and their influence. As such, this study sought to investigate the influences of the
factors identified as financial issues, human resources conditions, site characteristics and design
quality aspects, derived from relevant literature review and as conceptualized. The research
design of choice was descriptive survey, which utilizes elements of both quantitative and
qualitative research methodologies thereby addressing the objectives and research questions, and
ensuring coherence and rigour. Data was gathered through written questionnaires having closed
and open-ended structured questions; the latter to give deeper insight into the study problem.
Respondents for the study were contractors undertaking government-funded building projects in
Kirinyaga County. The study was a census with the resultant descriptive statistics presenting
inferential findings on the target population of contractors who are considered to be a
homogeneous group. A pilot study was carried out to test reliability and ascertain validity of the
data collection instrument. Data was analyzed with reference to the research objectives through
use of SPSS. Major findings of the research reflect the propositions contained in various studies
and models as reviewed from literature sources that basically, the factors identified influence
project performance. The study further reveals the relative influence of each of the factors, of
greatest significance being human resources conditions and design quality aspects. A key
derivative of this study is the distinctive emergence of the human resources element as the prime
factor influencing the performance of contractors of government-funded building projects in
Kirinyaga County. Essentially, the research findings suggest that addressing all the factors
identified, with particular focus on the human resources and design quality elements, would
enhance the contractors’ performance of the projects and ensure higher rates of projects success.
Suggestions are put forth for further study on interest areas that may have a significant influence
on building projects performance.