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An investigation into the sub-contractor selection process in the South African construction industry.

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This dissertation acknowledges that there is a need for improvement within the South African construction industry. Due to the broad need for improvement in the construction industry, this dissertation has investigated only one of the important possible areas of improvement i.e. the sub-contractor selection process. This dissertation investigates the existing sub-contractor selection methods used by sixteen established construction companies. Field research has been conducted by means of a questionnaire and all results have been compiled and analysed. Improvement of the sub-contractor procurement process can be achieved by benchmarking against practices used in the South African petroleum industry. This industry has had similar problems yet succeeded in improving their quality, safety, timeous completions, health and environmental issues. The construction of refineries are implemented under conditions similar to those experienced by the construction industry yet "best practice" procurement methods have been achieved. Sub-contractors presently undertake a large portion of the construction industries' activities and therefore should be more committed and responsible for their workmanship. This could be achieved by principal contractors establishing a wellstructured sub-contractor selection process, benchmarked against the petroleum industry. The petroleum industry believes that by procuring better contractors, they ensure better products. Their selection process ensures that all contractors meet certain requirements, which results in client satisfaction. The hypothesis, states that by benchmarking South African construction industry processes in respect of sub-contractor procurement, against the South African petroleum industry contractor procurement process, all stakeholders in the construction industry will achieve higher standards. If the principal contractors have well-structured sub-contractor selection processes, this will ensure the selection of the best sub-contractor for a particular project. The research and results prove this hypothesis. Without a paradigm shift by all stakeholders in the South African construction industry, establishing "best practice" in the sub-contractor procurement process will be unattainable. All stakeholders need to change their paradigms and invest in better processes. The petroleum industry sub-contractor selection process can be utilized by the construction industry positively and thereby establish higher satisfaction levels for clients.


Thesis (M.Sci.Eng.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2003.


Construction industry--Subcontracting--South Africa., Construction industry--Employees., Industrial procurement--South Africa., Theses--Civil engineering.