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The WABER 2017 Conference took place at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana on 16-18 August 2017. The Minister of Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, gave the Opening Address. During the Opening Session, Professor Kabir Bala of Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria was presented with a Citation in honour of his distinguished contribution to the development and mentoring of early career built environment academics in Nigeria.

The keynote speakers were:

Professor Jason D. Shaw (Chair Professor of Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University & Editor-in-chief of Academy of Management Journal)

Professor Oluwole Morenikeji (Professor of Urban and Regional Planning & Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria)

Professor Will Hughes (Professor of Construction Management and Economics at University of Reading, UK).

Below is the Foreword for the conference proceedings written by Dr Samuel Laryea.

FOREWORD FOR WABER 2017 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

It is my pleasure to welcome each of you to our 7th West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) Conference taking place on the campus of University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana.

Thank you for coming and a very warm welcome to Accra and the beautiful campus of the University of Ghana. When you have some time, I recommend a visit to the upper campus of University of Ghana to enjoy the full beauty of this university. You will find buildings of architectural significance and you will also be able to see from there an aerial view of parts of Accra.

The delegates at this year’s conference come from Chad, Ghana, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Kazhakstan, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, UK and USA. I welcome each of you personally. Please take every opportunity to interact, exchange ideas and develop collaborations with colleagues from other places. To everyone who has come from outside Ghana, we extend a very special welcome to you by saying “Akwaaba” which means “Welcome” in our local language.

I know many of you have travelled long distances to get here. I also know that many of you have made considerable sacrifices by drawing on your own resources in order to be at this conference. We appreciate your efforts and hope your expectations will be met as we progress through the conference programme. It is always my hope that this conference provides each of us with a valuable professional development experience and opportunities for a productive and rewarding career.

I am delighted that we have three excellent keynote speakers this year who will interact with delegates on a range of important topics on the programme but also on issues that you may wish to discuss with them during breaks. Feel free to discuss professional issues on your mind with them. It is a credit to our three keynote speakers that all of them kindly agreed to come and share their time, knowledge and expertise with us. So I would like to welcome and honour our three keynote speakers: Professor Jason D. Shaw (Chair Professor of Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University & Editor-in-chief of Academy of Management Journal); Professor Oluwole Morenikeji (Professor of Urban and Regional Planning & Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria) and Professor Will Hughes (Professor of Construction Management and Economicsat University of Reading, UK). I thank each of you profoundly for accepting our invitation. I hope everyone here benefits from the illumination your presence provides. Have a nice stay in Ghana and enjoy your interaction with delegates.

From an initial submission of 181 abstracts, we eventually accepted 98 papers for publication in the conference proceedings. About 84 of the accepted papers have been scheduled for presentation at this conference. Some authors opted for the publication only route and their papers have not been scheduled for presentation. We congratulate all authors of published papers in our WABER 2017 conference proceedings. Thank you for your commitment to scientific research, professional development, and the hard work put into doing the research and writing of the papers.

I look forward to the paper presentations. Some of you would have noticed that we have introduced a new format into our paper presentation system. In previous years, all paper presentations were done using traditional conference style presentation. This year, we have a combination of traditional conference style presentation and poster presentation which we are adopting for the first time. We have designed the format of the poster presentation session to be as interactive as possible for authors and the audience. We want every presentation to be seen, every author to be heard, and audience interaction with each author. That is the basis for our design of the poster presentation session. This change has not been easy for some authors to accept. I know some authors still prefer traditional style conference presentation. However, I ask for your cooperation and support in making the poster presentation session a success. Please embrace the change we have introduced in order to realise and enjoy its benefits. I can assure you that your poster presentation will be seen by everyone in the audience and you will be fully heard. A poster presentation is one of the most effective and most widely used ways to present research. I hope that all of us adapt well to this new system and we use our poster presentation session as an opportunity to enjoy an alternative way of presenting our research.

I turn my attention now to the invaluable members of our scientific committee and review panel. Peer review is essential to good science; credit must be given to our expert reviewers from 17 countries who have so generously given their time and knowledge to contribute to the peer review process for this year’s conference. I wish to thank each reviewer personally for your effort, contribution and essential service as gatekeepers for the scientific integrity of published research papers. Without the expert contribution of our referees, this conference will not enjoy its high reputation. So thank you once again to all reviewers particularly Assoc. Prof. Eziyi Ibem, Dr Carmel Lindkvist, Assoc. Prof. Emmanuel Essah and Prof Will Hughes for your significant contributions in this regard.

Organising a conference of this scale successfully requires the backing and support of some sponsors and partners. I would like to say a big thank you to Pinsent Masons who have provided us with significant support this year. Pinsent Masons supported us to initiate our Construction Law Seminar in April (26-27) this year. The April event was attended by more than 200 people. We just finished a 2nd Construction Law Seminar (14-15 August) and that one too was attended by more than 200 people. Rob Morson who represents Pinsent Masons at this conference was instrumental in the planning and success of the Construction Law Seminars. Rob, thank you so much for your contribution to the work we are doing here. I hope you enjoy your time at this conference. Our other sponsors/partners have also been extremely supportive and generous. Procurement and Project Management Consultancy (PPMC) Ltd have been regular sponsors of WABER Conference – Thank you for your financial support over the years. Dataware Consult became our official IT partner earlier this year – Thank you for providing various forms of IT support for our events. McOttley Capital are our newest partner. We appreciate your financial contribution and look forward to the start of a great relationship between WABER and McOttley. Finally, special thanks to EPP Books Services for sponsoring prize items for the Gibrine Adam Award which we introduced two years ago to recognise and encourage promising young researchers. Last but not least, I thank Excelsis Ghana who are doing video recording and documentation of this conference.

I must conclude by acknowledging and appreciating the roles and efforts of the following people for the significant contributions you have made towards the successful organization of the conference: Florence Laryea, Assoc. Prof. Eziyi Ibem, Solomon Kwofie, Emmanuel Ansah, Georgina Bediako, Assoc. Prof. Emmanuel Essah and Dr Afolabi Dania. Organising a conference of this scale is always an enormous task so I thank each of you for your dedication and important contribution. I thank Florence and Eziyi for their work regarding the production of this publication. This publication contains useful and interesting content that is indicated on the contents page. I hope you will enjoy reading the content.

On the whole, I am pleased to say that this year has been a successful and productive one for WABER Conference. To all of you who have contributed in various ways, I thank you very much. To all delegates at this year’s conference, I thank you once again for your participation. Enjoy the conference, engage in the exchange of ideas and knowledge, interact and build new relationships for the future, and have a safe journey back home.

We wish everyone at this conference the very best for all of your endeavours and hope to see you again in the future.

Sam Laryea, PhD, PGCAP, FHEA, MSCLA, MASAQS, MRCIS, MCIOB, PrCPM

Chairman of WABER Conference

Accra, Ghana, 16th August 2017

The WABER 2015 Conference took place at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana on 10-12 August 2015. A Welcome address was given by Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana. The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, gave the Opening Address. During the Opening Session, Dr Gibrine Adam, Founder of EPP Books Services and President of Zenith University College in Ghana, was presented with a Citation in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the development of education in Ghana.

The keynote speakers and resource persons for the conference were:

Professor George Ofori (National University of Singapore)

Professor Koshy Varghese (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras)

Dr Roine Leiringer (University of Hong Kong)

Dr Ron Watermeyer (Infrastructure Options Pty Ltd, South Africa)

 

Below is the Foreword for the conference proceedings written by Dr Samuel Laryea.

FOREWORD FOR WABER 2015 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

It is a pleasure to welcome you to our 6th WABER Conference taking place at the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra. Thank you for coming, and a very warm welcome to Accra and the beautiful campus of the University of Ghana. I know some of you have travelled long distances to get here. Some of you have also made considerable sacrifices to mobilise the resources required to be here. We appreciate your efforts. We hope the conference meets your expectations and provides you with valuable experience and developmental opportunities for a productive and rewarding career.

We are grateful for the presence of the Minister for Education – Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang – at the Opening Session of this conference. Thank you for kindly accepting our invitation to come and open the conference for us. We are equally grateful for the presence of the Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana – Professor Ernest Aryeetey – whose leadership and distinguished academic career serves as an inspiration to many. Professor Aryeetey leads a University which has recently been ranked by Thompson Reuters as the 10th best university on the African continent. We are proud to host our conference here and thank you for accepting our invitation to come and give a Welcome address. Thank you also to our other special guests – particularly leaders of academic institutions and industry – for joining us. The presence of industry practitioners and leaders of the built environment professions provides an opportunity for us to critically explore practical solutions to existing problems in our built environment like flooding, fire, building collapse, poor construction, health and safety of workers, environmental pollution, land management, development control, impact of construction on the environment, inclusive design, waste management, traffic on our roads and congestion in our cities. We believe that such interactions provide a much needed opportunity to start to bridge the proverbial gap between academia and industry.

The WABER Conference keeps growing each year. For this, I would like to thank our delegates and partners. Thank you for the contributions you have made to the life and success of this conference. As some of you know, this conference began in 2008 as an initiative of the School of Construction Management and Engineering at University of Reading. Over the years, colleagues including Prof. Will Hughes, Dr Roine Leiringer, Dr Chris Harty, Dr Sena Agyepong, Dr Emmanuel Essah, Prof. George Ofori and myself have formed a solid foundation for the development of the conference, which so far has proven to be successful. We have sustained the success through the provision and facilitation of appropriate academic infrastructure and leadership. Most importantly, the academic recognition and continued support we receive from delegates has been the key to our development. Indeed, the most important people in the growth of WABER are the conference delegates, and we take great pride in the high number of repeat participants. Let me focus now on this year’s conference and our activities.

The delegates at this year’s conference come from 64 different academic institutions spread across eight different countries. There is a real opportunity here for rich exchange of academic, social and cultural ideas. Please take every opportunity to interact, exchange ideas and develop collaborations with colleagues from other institutions. From an initial submission of 165 abstracts, we eventually accepted 92 papers for presentation at this year’s conference. Congratulations to the authors of accepted papers. Thank you for the hard work put into doing the research and writing the papers. The papers being presented at this year’s conference are written by authors from six main academic backgrounds and disciplines namely: architecture, building, construction management, estate / property management, quantity surveying, and urban and regional planning. As such, the conference truly reflects an international gathering of built environment academics. We also have some mainstream academics and industry practitioners here who will contribute to the richness and quality of deliberations.

More than 50 reviewers from 12 different countries were involved in the peer review process for this conference. I would like to express sincere gratitude to each reviewer for the great job done. Without the dedication and expertise of our referees, this conference will not be as successful as it is. So thank you to all reviewers for your contributions to the success of this conference. I particularly wish to thank Dr Wisdom Kwawu, Dr Roine Leiringer and Prof Will Hughes for your significant contributions in this regard.

It is important to appreciate the roles and efforts of the following people for significant contributions made towards the successful organization of the conference: Florence Laryea (for among other things, formatting and typesetting the papers in this conference proceedings), Dr Sena Agyepong, Jonathan Ntsiful, Dr Emmanuel Essah, and colleagues at Scatterlings Conference and Events. It is always a mammoth task to mount an event of this nature successfully.

Our keynote speakers who have travelled long distances to come and share their time, knowledge and expertise with us deserve our profound gratitude: Professor George Ofori (National University of Singapore); Professor Koshy Varghese (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras); Dr Roine Leiringer (University of Hong Kong); and Dr Ron Watermeyer (Infrastructure Options Pty Ltd, South Africa).

I finally wish to thank our sponsors and partners who support us in diverse ways. In particular, John Rixs Construction and EPP Books Services / Zenith University College.

We aspire to provide a vehicle for the advancement of built environment research in Africa; and create opportunity for built environment academics, particularly those in the early stage of their career, to develop their research work and skills through constructive interaction with experienced international academics. Therefore, the future of this conference needs to be properly architectured and sustained through innovative ideas, academic enterprise and leadership. The WABER conference values are knowledge, interaction, people and leadership. We have developed with a clear sense of purpose since 2008 and made significant impact on the research landscape in West Africa. We plan to continue our growth by serving the built environment community in our region. Plans for the publication of our African Journal of Built Environment Research are now firmly established. Two issues will be published within the next year. We are awaiting feedback on our application for indexing of the WABER Conference proceedings in the Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index. A positive outcome will facilitate greater scientific recognition of our work and dissemination of our research outputs in global databases like Scopus and the Web of Science collection. Our activities going forward will include: facilitating access to scientific literature, providing opportunity for experienced/leading international academics from elsewhere to interact with the built environment community in Africa, providing a forum for quality scientific engagement and interactions, facilitating the development of research skills and publications among built environment academics particularly those in the early stages of their careers, supporting the development of researchers in our academic institutions, and creating opportunity for people in different institutions to connect for exchange of ideas and collaborative work.

I thank you once again for coming to this conference. Enjoy it, engage in the exchange of ideas, build new relationships for the future, and have a safe journey back home. We wish you all the best in your endeavours and hope to see you again in the future.

Samuel Laryea, PhD

Chairman of WABER Conference, Associate Professor at Wits University School of Construction Economics and Management, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

August 2015

The WABER 2013 Conference was held at the British Council in Accra, Ghana on 12-14 August 2013.

The 2013 conference was special for a number of reasons.

  • First, it was our fifth anniversary conference.
  • Second, we had keynote speakers from very distinguished backgrounds.
  • Third, we had a WABER Committee providing the academic leadership for development of the Conference.
  • Fourth, we had participants coming from 12 different countries.
  • Fifth, we were back in Ghana after our successful WABER 2012 conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Sixth, the person who was adjudged to have written the best paper won a prize worth about £3000 (Pounds) plus an opportunity to disseminate the finding of the work at the 30th Annual ARCOM Conference held at Reading, UK on 2-4 September.  This was the first time of instituting the WABER-ARCOM best paper prize was won by Dr Cynthia Adeokun of Covenant University in Nigeria who travelled to the UK to participate in the ARCOM 2013 Conference on 2-4 September. All expenses were paid for by the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM). We are grateful to ARCOM for the support and partnership.

We received a total of 232 abstracts, 172 full papers, and eventually accepted 102 papers for publication in the conference proceedings which represented approximately 60% of full papers submitted. The statistic provides an indication of significant participation in the WABER conference and underscores the need to congratulate the successful authors.

In term of thanking sponsors, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Diagonal Projects Africa (DPA) Pty Ltd for serving as a major sponsor for the WABER 2013 conference. The Managing Director, Mr Moses Honu, was very instrumental in making the collaboration between WABER and DPA possible so we wish to thank him for his passion about research and the development of the built environment field in Africa.

We had outstanding keynote speakers for the WABER 2012 Conference including Prof Chimay Anumba of Penn State University in the US, Dr Ron Watermeyer of Infrastructure Options (Pty) Ltd in South Africa and Dr Roine Leiringer of University of Hong Kong.

Overall, the 3 days conference was a resounding success with about 140 people attending. We would like to thank everyone involved particularly our delegates, sponsors and speakers.

The three day West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) Conference 2012 was held on the 24th to 26th July, 2012 at the National Merit Award House in Abuja, Nigeria. It was a pleasure to host this conference in Abuja because this was our first time of hosting the conference outside of Ghana and also because most of our delegates come from Nigeria. Abuja is a beautiful city.

An opening address was given by Professor Will Hughes (Editor-in-chief of Construction Management and Economics Journal and Professor of Construction Management and Economics, University of Reading, UK) after a brief welcome by Dr Samuel Laryea. The conference featured keynote addresses, doctoral sessions, a research skills session and parallel sessions in which various authors presented their papers.

Socialization sessions were held each day after conference, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Nicon Luxury and Sheraton Abuja Hotel respectively. In attendance were built environment academics, researchers and practitioners from about 60 institutions and 6 different countries.

The main highlight of the WABER 2012 Conference was the launching of our WABER book on “Construction in West Africa”. The book was written by ten academics of West African origin based in six different countries. This contribution was an example of what we can achieve when we work together and combine our ideas.

It was reported at the conference that 2011 was a busy year for WABER because of visits to institutions in Ghana and Nigeria where our delegates come from.  In January 2011, some members of our WABER team visited built environment departments in six polytechnics and two universities in Ghana to interact with lecturers and postgraduate students and deliver research workshops.  We also donated textbooks to some departmental libraries as a means of supporting students and teaching and learning activities. In August 2011, Sam Laryea visited six universities in Nigeria which enabled us to interact directly with staff and students in built environment departments. These visits were instrumental in promoting closer interaction with our friends in various institutions.

The 2012 conference itself was attended by about 110 people. The conference proceedings consisted of 125 papers. We initially received and screened 278 abstracts with the help of our Scientific Committee.  182 full papers were eventually submitted and each went through a peer review process.   The papers accepted for publication represented around 68% of full papers received.  While the authors did a good job, the members of our scientific also supported us greatly. The work done by the 56 members of our Scientific Committee and 84 members of our Review Panel ensure a rigorous review process which contributed to the quality of papers published.

The published papers covered a wide array of topics including: Building services, Construction design and technology, Construction economics, Construction finance, Contract law, Contracting, Contract administration, Decision support systems, Economic development, Engineering, Energy, Environment, Facilities Management, Health and safety, Housing, Human resources and skills, Information technology, Materials science, Procurement, Project management, Quantity surveying, Real estate and planning, Risk management, Supply chain management, Sustainable technologies, Urban development.

An important and impressive statistic from the conference was that the 329 authors of the papers in our 2012 conference proceedings came from 87 different institutions and 10 different countries. This provided plenty of opportunity for cross-boundary learning. It also provided for a rich intellectual, international and multicultural blend and platform for networking and developing new knowledge and longer-term collaborations.

At the conference we awarded a Micheletti & Co. Ltd Prize for Best Masters Research Dissertation which was an initiative to recognise and encourage younger researchers. The Micheletti & Co prize for Best Masters Research Dissertation was presented on the final day of the conference. Various submissions were received on themes including; Sustainable construction, Energy efficiency, Construction costs, Construction procurement, Urban development, Materials science, human resources management, Building maintenance, Architecture & design, among others. 6 dissertations were shortlisted by our review panel. The paper titles were:

  1. An appraisal of the effectiveness of contingency sum as a risk management tool in building projects in Abuja by Akanji Aina Motolani from University of Jos, Nigeria
  2. Comparative performance evaluation of building projects procurement methods in North Central, Nigeria by Otali Monday from University of Jos, Nigeria
  3. The Ecological Services of Anurans and Lizards in West African Savannas: Assessing Effects of Land-Use Change by Gilbert Baase Adum from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  4. Susceptibility of building elements to variation in construction projects in Nigeria by Solomon Olusola Babatunde from Obafemi Awolowo University
  5. Development of an Automated System for Extracting Material Specifications and Quantities from Building Information Models by Aiyeleso Abdulmalik from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
  6. An appraisal of therapeutic performance of Teaching Hospitals in North-Western Nigeria by Mukhtar Adamu Dandajeh from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

After a careful review by our review panel, the paper titled “Development of an Automated System for Extracting Material Specifications and Quantities from Building Information Models” by Abdulmalik Aiyeleso was selected as the best M.Sc. dissertation. Abdulmalik was at the time a student of the Quantity Surveying Department of Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria.

In term of partnership and sponsors, we received support from a number of individuals and organizations: Vector Morrison Ghana Ltd; A-Kon Consults Limited (Ghana); Oladele Construction Ltd (Nigeria); K+H Limited (Ghana); HLB Ltd (Ghana); Laurus Development Partners; PPMC Ltd (Ghana); Micheletti and Co. Ltd; Mr. Michael Kwadwo Frimpong (President of the Africa Association of Quantity Surveyors (AAQS)); Mr. Afolabi Abdulsalam Dania (University of Reading, UK); Professor Kabir Bala (Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria); and Professor Stella Zubairu.

A common tradition at academic conferences is to have keynote speakers. We were blessed to have some really experienced international academics in the persons of: Professor Roger Flanagan (University of Reading, UK) who delivered his keynote address by video conference; Dr Roine Leiringer (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong); Dr Chris Harty (University of Reading, UK); Professor Stella Zubairu (Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria) and Professor Will Hughes (University of Reading, UK).

We were supported by a local organising committee led by Mr Oladele Ishaq.

The WABER 2011 Conference took place at the British Council in Accra, Ghana on 19-21 July 2011. This was our first conference which we held for three days instead of two days. The reason is because the conference was growing and we simply could not fit everything into two days so to us this was a clear sign of progress and ownership of the event by the academic community in the region.

The keynote speakers were:

Professor George Ofori, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Dr Roine Leiringer, University of Reading, UK

Professor Will Hughes, University of Reading, UK

Dr Chris Harty, University of Reading, UK

Below is the Foreword for the conference proceedings written by Dr Samuel Laryea.

FOREWORD FOR WABER 2011 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Welcome to this year’s WABER conference in Accra, Ghana. Thank you for coming and we hope you enjoy the conference. The WABER conference has developed rapidly in the past three years, but our aims remain the same. We strive to: help young built environment researchers in West Africa (WA) to develop their research work and skills through constructive face-to-face interaction with their peers and experienced international academics; supply a platform for interaction among more senior academics and an outlet for disseminating their research work; and to serve as a vehicle for developing the built environment field in Africa.

Three conferences have so far been organized, 2009-2011, bringing together nearly three hundred academics, researchers and practitioners from 50+ different institutions in WA. Through WABER, many young researchers have been helped to develop their research work and skills through constructive face-to-face interaction with experienced academics. We find this encouraging and we will continue to work together with colleagues in WA to develop initiatives that provide young researchers in WA with opportunities to develop their research potential and aspirations.

This year’s conference proceedings consist of 95 papers. This represents around 50 per cent of abstracts and full papers that were initially submitted. We congratulate the authors of papers that made it into the proceedings for a job well done. The published papers cover a wide array of topics including: Building services, Construction design and technology, Construction economics and finance, Construction education, Construction materials and production, Contracts, Cost and financial management, Energy generation and consumption, Engineering sciences, Facilities management, Health and safety, Housing, Human resources and skills, Information technology, Materials science, Procurement, Project administration and management, Quantity surveying, Real estate and planning, Risk management, Supply chain management, Sustainable technologies, Urban planning and development, Waste management. As such they reflect various areas of socio-economic development aspirations of countries in West Africa. One thing that is strikingly clear is that the construction sector has an important part to play in helping to realize these aspirations.

We hope that the publication and discussion of these papers at this conference will contribute towards the development of knowledge and technologies for development in West Africa and beyond. Given that the delegates at this year’s conference come from 10 different countries and 45 different academic institutions, there is plenty of scope for cross boundary interaction and learning. The conference also provides for a rich intellectual, international and multicultural blend and platform for networking and developing new knowledge, connections and longer-term collaborations. We hope that the delegates make good use of this opportunity.

We wish to express strong appreciation to two companies in Ghana who have supported us financially. The first is A-Kon Consults Limited who are Chartered Quantity Surveyors with head office based in Accra. The second is K+H Limited who are Constructional Engineers and Contractors with head office based in Takoradi. We are grateful for your support and input and we look forward to a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

We are blessed to have four distinguished Keynote Speakers: Professor George Ofori (National University of Singapore); Dr Roine Leiringer (Chalmers University, Sweden); Dr Chris Harty (University of Reading, UK); and Professor Will Hughes (University of Reading, UK). Thank you very much for coming. As always, many thanks are due to Dr Sena Agyepong for her excellent and capable management of our local organizing arrangements. Above all, thank you to all of you for coming to this conference. Our conference next year (2012) will take place in Nigeria and we look forward to seeing all of you again. Enjoy Accra and have a safe journey back home.

Dr Samuel Laryea

School of Construction Management and Engineering

University of Reading

July 2011

Our WABER 2010 Conference took place at the British Council in Accra, Ghana on 27-28 July 2010. The keynote speakers were:

Professor George Ofori, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Dr Roine Leiringer, University of Reading, UK

Professor Will Hughes, University of Reading, UK

Dr Chris Harty, University of Reading, UK

Below is the Foreword for the conference proceedings written by Dr Samuel Laryea.

FOREWORD FOR WABER 2010 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Welcome to this West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) conference taking place here in Ghana. Thank you for coming and welcome to Accra. The main aims of the WABER conference are: to help young researchers and early-career scholars in West Africa to develop their research work and skills through constructive face-to-face interaction with experienced academics; to provide a platform for networking and collaborative work among senior built environment academics in West Africa; and to serve as a vehicle for developing the field of construction management and economics in Africa.

WABER 2009

The WABER event in 2009 was held at the British Council in Accra, Ghana on 2-3 June. The event was a resounding success. It attracted participation from 32 researchers, from 12 different institutions, who presented their work to an audience of approximately 100 people. Each presenter received immediate and constructive feedback from an international panel. The event was opened by Professor K.K. Adarkwa, Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana, with several senior academics and researchers from universities, polytechnics, and other institutions in Ghana and Nigeria in attendance. There was also a significant level of attendance by senior construction practitioners in Ghana. Thank you to the School of Construction Management and Engineering, University of Reading, UK for funding the inaugural event in 2009. We are also grateful to all of you who helped to make the event a success and to those of you who have joined us here today to build upon the success and legacy of WABER 2009.

WABER 2010

This year, we have 60+ peer-reviewed papers and presentations on topics relating to Building services and maintenance, Construction costs, Construction design and technology, Construction education, Construction finance, Construction procurement, Contract administration, Contract management, Contractor development, Decision support systems, Dispute resolution, Economic development, Energy efficiency, Environment and sustainability, Health and safety, Human resources, Information technology, Marketing, Materials science, Organisation strategy and business performance, Productivity, Project management, Quantity surveying, Real estate and planning, Solar energy systems, Supply chain management and Urban development. We hope that these papers will generate interest among delegates and stimulate discussion here and beyond the conference into the wider community of academia and industry. The delegates at this conference come from 10 different countries. This provides a rich international and multicultural blend and a perfect platform for networking and developing collaborations. This year we are blessed to have three high profile keynote speakers in the persons of Professor George Ofori (National University of Singapore), Dr Roine Leiringer (University of Reading, UK) and Professor Will Hughes (University of Reading, UK). We are also thankful to Dr Chris Harty (University of Reading, UK) who is facilitating the Research Skills Workshop on ‘Writing a scientific article’. Thank you to Dr Sena Agyepong of our conference organising team for her capable management of local organising arrangements. And above all, thank you to all of you for coming to this conference. Enjoy and have a safe journey back home.

Dr Samuel Laryea

School of Construction Management and Engineering

University of Reading

July 2010

Our very first Conference in 2009 was in the form of a workshop and it took place at the British Council in Accra, Ghana on 2-3 June 2009. The resource persons for this event were Professor Will Hughes; Dr Roine Leiringer; and Dr Samuel Laryea.

After a brief welcome from the Deputy Director of the British Council in Accra, and an opening address about the nature of research in our field, and what we are looking for, the event was formally opened with a welcoming speech from Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, the Vice-Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. We also presented KNUST with a hard copy of the entire back-catalogue of Construction Management and Economics, as a gift to the library. We hired the British Council for the venue, and arranged the refreshments and food, so that the delegates had only to turn up and take part. We did not charge them for attendance, this being the first time we had tried anything like this. The turnout was excellent, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the event. It soon became clear that there had not been an event focused on the built environment in this region before.

Over the course of two day, 32 PhD students and prospective PhD students presented their work to the audience. Each presented for ten minutes, and then there was a ten minute critique and discussion, led by the panel. We paired up presentations, so that the discussions could have the space to develop into something interesting. The sessions were all chaired by distinguished academics from the region, and this helped to keep the pace moving along. In many cases, the work being reported was at such a preliminary stage there was not much to discuss, so suggestions were made instead. What was intriguing was that although some of the criticism was quite harsh in some cases, the speakers took it on the chin in good spirit, and saw the experience as an opportunity to learn and develop. It was indeed refreshing to be among people who valued criticism, and did not see it as an affront to their dignity, as can happen in some parts of the world.

The range of work that was presented was broad. Despite our efforts to keep the focus on construction management, there were some presentations on materials science, some on property valuation, and even one from an artist on the representational aesthetics of palaces in Nigeria, or something along those lines. The quality, as well, was extremely variable, and so when one delegate presented a piece of work that was coherent, clear, well connected to what had gone before, and likely to produce something worth knowing, we decided to implement a prize for the best presentation. This was awarded to Mrs Kulomri Jaule Adogbo of Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria.

It was a pleasure to see such good work. Some of the other presenters were just setting out with their research, and so we had a huge range of quality, from clearly enunciated, well-paced and easy to understand through to garbled and incoherent embarrassment. But everybody’s got to start somewhere. Whatever was presented, there was a good discussion and in each case, constructive advice emerged from the various contributions to the debate. Here is a short list of some of the topics that are being researched in this region:

― Energy efficiency

― Construction costs

― Contract management

― Construction finance

― Construction procurement

― Supply chain management

― Building maintenance

― Human relations

― Productivity

― Economic development

― Marketing

― Decision support systems

― Information technology

― Urban development

― Materials science

A couple of themes came up in many of the presentations. First, there was clearly some confusion as to what constituted academic research. Many presenters were clearly setting up a piece of consultancy work. When it was pointed out to them that this was not research and would not satisfy the requirements for a PhD, there was some confusion. In the end, we simplified the message down to “if you are doing what practitioners do, you are doing consultancy. If you are examining or analysing what practitioners do, it is research”. This was something that had to be hammered home, but is also a regular problem in CM research the world over. Second, few presenters had come across the idea of research methodology. As usual, the word was bandied around a lot as a heading, but as usual, it heralded a discussion of methods. The distinction between methods and methodology was as difficult to get across here as anywhere. One metaphor that seemed to work was cooking – a recipe is a list of steps that are to be used in preparing a dish, but the recipe does not tell you why these steps work. Such is the difference between explaining what steps were involved (research methods) and explaining why they were chosen and how they generate data and information that will usefully address the questions (research methodology). Another frustration with research methods was the preoccupation with survey questionnaires and the notion of preparing some kind of model. It is a common feature among new researchers to assume that social science research requires a questionnaire survey. It doesn’t. There are so many research methods that might be used, and the lack of variety in approaches to hugely varying questions indicated that few of these researchers were aware of the literature on research methods. So we frequently pushed people to carry out some review of research methods before they did their fieldwork, and in many cases we told them that a questionnaire survey would simply not answer the questions they were asking. However, some of the research studies were well designed with appropriate methods, and over the two days we saw the full range from expert to novice.

There was a strong sense of occasion to the event. On the second day we were featured on the radio, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, at breakfast and on the six o’clock news. Sadly we were too busy to find a radio and listen, but a journalist from the GBC was with us a lot of the time, and this hammered home to us just how unusual it was to have a workshop/seminar of this kind in West Africa. And although it was based on Accra, Ghana, the vast majority of the delegates had travelled from Nigeria. They had a meeting among themselves after the seminar was over, because, it seems, this was the first opportunity they had had to meet as a group. Overall, then, the 2009 research seminar was a resounding success. Something like 100 people spend two days sharing views and knowledge about the research process and how academic research can be applied to the practical problems of management in this particular industry sector.