Challenges facing small and medium enterprise contractors in delivering grade R classrooms for the Western Cape department of transport and public works

Chadhliwa, Taona Quinton (2015-04)

Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Western Cape Education Department (WCED), through the Department of Public Works (DTPW), launched the Grade R classroom programme in 2009 to increase primary school enrolment in less privileged communities. Due to the low construction contract values the programme has attracted SME contractors. These SMEs have stalled the programme by either not delivering on time or by going insolvent whilst building Grade R classrooms. This research investigated the challenges encountered by SME contractors in delivering Grade R classrooms. The objectives of the research were achieved by means of a questionnaire administered through telephonic interviews and face-to-face interviews. Thirteen contractors have taken part in the programme since 2009. All contractors who have built the classrooms in the Cape Metropole region were contacted for a telephonic interview of which 12 agreed to participate in the telephonic interviews. Descriptive statistics were used to collate and discuss the challenges reported by the contractors. The findings are similar to other studies of SME contractors. SME contractors that took part in the survey confirmed that financial factors, economic and external environment, management skills and expansion and growth factors have been affecting their businesses. The fifth factor, which is the project specific factor, had the most interesting data. Nine out of twelve contractors interviewed indicated that they were not satisfied with the grade R contract working environment. If it was not for scarcity of work, they would not tender for Grade R classrooms. Nine out of twelve contractors interviewed indicated that the DTPW and its agents hindered the successful delivery of Grade R projects through their actions. The main reasons given were the late handover of sites, incomplete construction information, unreasonable construction period, numerous specification changes and delays in processing information. What emerges from the data collected is that the DTPW needs to address the challenges highlighted in this research report. Addressing the challenges will ensure the success of the Grade R programme. This will be beneficial to both the SME contractors and the DTPW. The study also makes recommendations on how to address the challenges.

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