Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Owner-Contractor Syndrome Can Kill Your Project -Engr. Osaz’ ENOBAKHARE

Far from it! It’s not health-related but it can kill a project irrespective of size. When a project owner, unqualified professionally to manage construction processes on site assumes the role of a construction manager, the fellow is said to be suffering from Owner-Contractor Syndrome (OCS). 

When the Owner of a project also doubles as a ‘Contractor’, there must be a problem somewhere, especially if the owner is not technically sound. OCS is a real threat to sustainable building development in any country and indigenous researchers are studying a link between OCS and the upsurge of sick buildings. The OCS mostly affects small and medium-scale project owners in developing countries. 

Although there have been a huge success in self-enlightenment on construction activities by project owners in the last few years provoked by the incessant rate of building collapse and its attendant woos; poor earnings and high cost of construction due to an all-time economic low has again begin to fuel the spread of OCS and its very many consequences.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in keeping an eye on activities on your site from time to time at least to serve as a form of incentive to the men at work or perhaps to add some spark to the delivery process but taking on the technical role of construction management may eventually harm your project. 

Owner-Contractor Syndrome is synonymous with Self-medication and it affects victims in about the same manner. Like the saying goes ‘what you don’t know can kill you’. For lovers or fanatics of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) construction approaches, there is a temptation to believe they are sort of knowledgeable enough to assume professional roles which they are not qualified for but there is always an extent to what you can do and it is therefore important to avoid such regrettable pitfalls by allowing those with the technical know-how do their job.  

Some project owners suffering from OCS have claimed that their ‘over-zealous’ involvement in the delivery of their project helped save cost and promote ‘desired’ quality, especially in small residential projects. 
No doubt there is an element of truth in this assertion but it has also been observed that most of such building or infrastructure often become terribly sick; suffering from another ailment know as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and requiring a more deeper pocket to correct.

Generally, where construction cost are to be kept low, Project owners are advised to prune down their project budget by at best getting directly involved in materials supply and logistics. 

They request for a material schedule from their contractor, source and purchase the required construction materials directly from manufacturers or merchants, and ensure that such purchases are backed up with prompt delivery to the point of usage. 

Other cost-saving approaches includes engaging a single (trusted, competent and low-cost oriented) point of responsibility as well as using cheaper construction methods. 

Testing positive to OCS is certainly not in the best interest of your project.

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