The construction industry in Libya , with particular reference to operations in Tripoli
This research is concerned with the Libyan construction industry (LCI), which has not been investigated before. Its key aims are to achieve a better understanding of the industry, to identify the key factors which have formed its current status, and to address the major obstacles constraining its operations. Theoretical and empirical studies were conducted between 2002 and 2005 in Libya. The theoretical research focused on the construction industry (Cl) and its key issues, while the empirical research was organized around a survey and explored Libya as the context for the study. Owing to geographical and time limitations, the city of Tripoli was employed as the location where the research was conducted. Data was obtained through questionnaires targeting consultants, contractors, and clients, supported by a set of interviews with those concerned, visits to firms and projects under construction, and other supportive techniques. The information gathered was analyzed using SPSS package, Excel Software and SWOT analysis. The findings of the study indicate that the current shape of the LCI is a consequence of the interaction of geographical, historical, social, political, economic, institutional and technological factors. The industry operates in difficult geographical, social and economic circumstances. Its operations are concentrated in four main separate regions, influenced by social tribalism and nepotism, fluctuations in oil revenues and foreign workers. Political ideology has played a significant role in determining the current status, by imposing partnership principles. Also, the LCI is currently characterized by traditional procurement systems, paper-based and verbal communications systems, and cement- and intensive-labour operations. The study identifies three broad obstacles which restrict the operations of the LCI. These relate to the operating environment, firms, and clients and projects. Unstable regulatory, institutional and economic environments have not given the industry the opportunity to grow and play a significant leading role in economic and development processes. However, the strengths of the industry lie in its educated and experienced staff, the CI is seen as a profitable business, and because demand for construction will flourish in the coming decades. Thus, opportunity to develop the LCI does exist. Despite the strong commitment of the state to regulate the CI in accordance with formal construction standards, informality is one of the key features of its operations. The informal sector has a key role in production processes and the supply of construction materials and labour. In addition, Libya is a country which suffers from acute shortages in water supplies, and yet the current operations of the LCI are cement based and designed around mixing methods on construction sites in which water is an important issue in terms of quantity, quality and management. This thesis suggests that the position of water in the operations of the CI in arid and semi-arid countries should be investigated in specific further research. The levels of oil revenues, investment in construction, the ability to create an enabling environment, the roles of the private sector and foreign firms, and the relationship between the formal and informal sectors, are likely to determine the industry's future shape, operations and ability to cope with changes. However, without improving management capability of the LCI, the industry will not be able to cope with future challenges, and no significant advance can be made in its operations. Furthermore, the implications of the study's findings and recommendations for future research are suggested, including the water issue and the informal construction industry in Libya.