Global survey by KPMG finds planning and skills issues at heart of underperforming projects

Woman on site

Nine out of ten construction project owners working in the public sector experienced underperforming projects in the last year caused by a shortage of skilled labour, poor contractor performance or planning issues, according to a new global survey by KPMG.

Results from the annual global construction project owners’ survey also found that 70% of all project managers in both public and private companies experienced schemes delayed due to planning issues, despite improvements in the planning systems of many countries.

Commenting on the results, Michael Peasland, non-executive director at construction firm John Sisk and former Balfour Beatty director, said: “Poor planning is definitely an issue, there is an acute lack of project planners who can manage forward programme and performance. There’s a lack of resource across the whole of the UK, especially for bigger projects. Lack of commercial people is also an issue.”

The survey found that nearly half of respondents are experiencing shortages in skilled labour, with 69% requiring external assistance to support existing workforce to enable delivery of projects.

KPMG’s UK head of infrastructure, building and construction Richard Threlfall said:  “This survey highlights the prevailing issues affecting the sector both in the UK and globally. We will only see a turnaround of poor performing contracts once we start seeing contractors and project owners adopt technology such as building information modelling (BIM) to enable more efficient planning, mandated apprenticeships to ensure skilled labour are bought up through the ranks, and more accurate planning of projects.”

KPMG polled 109 senior leaders including chief exectuives of firms worldwide who were carrying out major capital construction projects. Over a quarter of organisations were government bodies, and had revenues ranging from $250m to $5bn per annum.