Contractor performance and talent shortages weigh heavily on the minds of the global construction industry, finds KPMG survey

Over half of construction project owners have experienced underperforming projects in the previous year despite improvements in project planning and controls,according to KPMG’s 2015 Global Construction Project Owner’s Survey: Climbing the Curve. For larger organisations, this rose to 61 per cent, while executives from the energy and natural resources and public sectors experienced even higher levels of project failure, at 71 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.

The research went onto uncover that the global construction community is facing the same skills crisis that the UK construction industry is trying to combat. It found that nearly half of the respondents are experiencing the shortages in skilled labour, with 69 per cent requiring external assistance to support existing workforce to enable delivery of projects.

The survey also found that:

  • Over two thirds (69 per cent) identify poor contractor performance as the biggest reason for project underperformance, which revealed a thirst for greater collaboration with contractors with the majority (82 per cent) of respondents expecting to see this in the next five years.
  • Seven out of ten respondents admitted that they did not meet project timetable or budget due to not accurately planning for delays or cost overruns.
  • Despite confidence in project management controls, only half of the organisations had project management information systems that raise the quality of decision-making in each phase of the project life cycle emphasizing the considerable room for improvement. And not just improvement of the quality of controls, but also the need to develop the skills of those managing the projects and using the various tools.


Richard Threlfall, KPMG UK Head of Infrastructure, Building & Construction, 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.”