Delay causes in road infrastructure projects in developing countries

  • Guillermo Mejía Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia)
  • Omar Sánchez Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia)
  • Karen Castañeda Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia)
  • Eugenio Pellicer Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain)
Keywords: delay causes, delay factors, road projects, road infrastructure, systematic review


Project delays adversely affect road infrastructure development in developing countries. Unfavorable consequences of project delays involve cost overrun, contractual disputes, arbitration, and quality non-conformities. Despite these risks, literature shows that delays are still a prevalent problem in construction management. Although there is a considerable number of publications on project delays, few studies have compared their causes between developing countries. Therefore, this study aimed to: a) classify and determine the level of influence of the delay causes; b) find the relationship between delay causes and country's development; and c) propose recommendations for mitigating the most critical causes in developing countries. A systematic literature review provided a sample of 14 primary studies from Africa (50%) and Asia (50%). Based on this sample, the study found that developing countries, with a GDP per capita ($US2018) <= $ 2,000, may experience different delay causes depending on the economic and the geographical contexts. In African countries with a Global Competitiveness Index -GCI <= 56, road projects may experience delays due to financial issues of the project owner, and delays due to equipment/material issues of the project supplier/subcontractor. On the other hand, in Asian countries with a GCI between 62 and 49, road projects may experience delays due to financial issues of the project contractor, and delays due to planning issues of the project designer/consultant. According to these economic contexts, this study proposes a frame of causes and mitigation actions as a contribution to the risk analysis of road projects in developing countries.

Author Biographies

Guillermo Mejía, Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia)


Construction Engineering

Profesor Titular

Escuela de Ingeniería Civil

Universidad Industrial de Santander

Bucaramanga, Colombia

Omar Sánchez, Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia)

Ph. D. Candidate, Dept. Civil Engineering, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia

Karen Castañeda, Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia)

M. Sc. Candidate, Dept. Civil Engineering, Universidad Industrial de Santander

Eugenio Pellicer, Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain)

Professor, School of Civil Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain