Author: Lai, Ming-yan
Title: Impact of subcontracting system on quality of building projects in the Hong Kong construction industry
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2001
Subject: Construction industry -- China -- Hong Kong -- Quality control
Construction industry -- Subcontracting -- China -- Hong Kong
Subcontractors -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Department of Building and Real Estate
Pages: x, 81, [26] leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Main contractors in Hong Kong are used to sublet the majority of their work to subcontractors. A questionnaire survey carried out as part of this research indicates that more than 90% of main contractors have sublet more than half of their work value to subcontractors. This reflects that subcontractors carry out the majority of building works and they are playing a very significant role in the quality of building projects in the construction industry. Researchers have found many problems and implications of using subcontractors in the construction industry. This research examined the impact on the quality of building projects in the current Hong Kong construction industry from five different aspects, namely, commitment to meet programme, cost control, technical performance communication and co-ordination, and disputes. The result of the research indicate that the most significant impact relating to the use of subcontractors is the technical performance aspect that close monitoring and supervision of subcontractors is essential in order to achieve a high standard of work. Multi-layered subcontracting is very common and it is difficult to implement quality assurance system down to subcontractors level. In addition, the use of subcontractors induces significant problems in the dispute and communication aspect. Lot of arguments arises among subcontractors due to different rate of output or unclear demarcation in the scope of work. Therefore, this will impose high demand on the main contractors management and coordination. Positive impact of using subcontractors is on the cost control aspect. Cost control is more effective by using subcontractors due to specialization in certain trades. Comparing to other four aspects, the impact of using of subcontractors to the construction programme was found to be relatively less significant. With the exception of respondents from subcontractors who do not agree that they have a negative impact on the construction programme, respondents from all other disciplines consider that the use of subcontractors has a negative impact on the construction programme. This result indicates that there is a gap in the perception regarding the required standard to commit the construction programme between subcontractors and other disciplines. Similar results were also found in the communication and dispute aspect. Finally, by introducing a "partnering" relationship between main contractor and subcontractor, the indications are that the quality of building projects can be improved especially in respect of the work programme, communication and co-ordination, and resolution of disputes.
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