21/02/2024 09:41 AM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.
By :
Oswald Timothy Edward

The construction industry plays a pivotal role in the development of infrastructure and urban landscapes, contributing significantly to economic growth.

However, the occurrence of building collapses during construction poses a grave threat to public safety, causing loss of lives, extensive property damage and financial setbacks.

The importance of construction risk management extends beyond safeguarding human lives; it directly influences the industry’s credibility, sustainability, and economic viability.

As stakeholders become increasingly aware of the intricate interplay of factors contributing to construction risks, there is a growing imperative to prioritise and invest in robust risk management practices.

Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the significance of construction risk management is essential to foster a culture of safety, reliability, and resilience within the construction industry, ultimately preventing building collapses and ensuring the long-term success of construction projects.

Despite advancements in engineering and construction practices, the inherent complexity of construction projects, coupled with unpredictable external factors, underscores the urgent need for effective construction risk management.

The collapse of a building during construction, is a stark reminder of the consequences of inadequate construction risk management.

Upon a thorough examination, perhaps various factors may be identified as contributing to such collapse, emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach to risk management.

Inadequacies in Foundation Design

One of the common factors contributing to building collapses is inadequacies in the foundation design. Foundations are the bedrock of a structure, and any compromise in their design can lead to structural instability.

Effective risk management involves a meticulous analysis of the soil conditions and engineering a foundation that can withstand the intended load.

Substandard Materials

The use of substandard materials is a significant risk in construction projects. From concrete to steel, the quality of materials directly impacts the structural integrity of the building.

Risk management should include strict quality control measures, ensuring that all materials meet industry standards and are fit for their intended purpose.

Enforcement of Safety Protocols

Safety protocols are a cornerstone of construction risk management. The failure to strictly enforce these protocols, such as the correct use of personal protective equipment, adherence to height safety measures, and proper handling of equipment, can significantly increase the risk of accidents.

Risk management strategies should prioritise robust enforcement and regular training programmes for all construction personnel.

Lack of Comprehensive Risk Assessment

A holistic approach to risk management necessitates a comprehensive risk assessment. This includes identifying potential risks at every stage of the construction process, from site preparation to completion.

Without a thorough understanding of the risks involved, mitigation strategies may be insufficient or misdirected.

Insufficient Quality Control

Quality control is a fundamental aspect of risk management, ensuring that construction adheres to design specifications and industry standards.

Insufficient quality control measures, such as inadequate inspections or lax oversight, can lead to construction defects that compromise the overall stability of the building.

Poor Compliance with Building Codes

Building codes and regulations are established to set minimum standards for construction safety. The failure to comply with these codes is a significant risk factor.

An effective risk management approach includes rigorous adherence to building codes and regular inspections by regulatory bodies to verify compliance.

Communication and Collaboration

Collaboration among stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and regulatory bodies, is essential for effective risk management.

Poor communication and coordination among these parties can result in misunderstandings, oversights and a lack of clarity regarding safety requirements.

The Significance of Construction Risk Management

Construction projects are inherently complex endeavours, involving numerous stakeholders, intricate processes, and a myriad of potential risks. From design changes and unforeseen site conditions to labour shortages and regulatory shifts, the construction industry faces a dynamic and challenging landscape.

Effective construction risk management emerges as a critical process to ensure project success.

Construction risk management is not merely a regulatory requirement but a moral and professional obligation to protect human lives and promote the sustainability of the built environment.

Construction risk management is a proactive and systematic approach aimed at identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential risks and uncertainties associated with a construction project. The overarching goal is to minimise the negative impact of these risks on key project objectives, including cost, schedule, quality, safety, and overall success.

Indeed, construction risk management is imperative. Effectively managing these risks is crucial to ensure the successful completion of projects within budget, on time, and with the desired quality.

In conclusion, construction risk management is not a one-time task but an ongoing and collective responsibility.

Addressing inadequacies in foundation design, ensuring the use of quality materials, enforcing safety protocols, conducting comprehensive risk assessments, implementing stringent quality control, complying with building codes, and fostering effective communication are all integral components of a holistic risk management strategy.

Only through a concerted effort from all stakeholders can the construction industry minimise risks and create safer environments for both workers and the public.


Oswald Timothy Edward is Senior Lecturer (Risk Management) with the Faculty of Business & Management at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Johor.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)