Role of project management consultants in public infrastructure development: the case of water management and development project of Arua Town, Uganda
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Like several other public infrastructure development projects in the developing world, the role of Project Management Consultants (PMCs) in the successful implementation of the projects is critical. The Government of Uganda (GoU) adopted a national Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy in 2010, with the objective to encourage private-sector investment and participation in public infrastructure and related services in which value for money can be clearly demonstrated (Mawejje & Munyambonera, 2017). Despite the heavy reliance on the services of PMCs, there still persists public outcry inform of project time overruns, cost overruns, defective works, environmental-social-health and safety concerns, etc. which are largely attributed to the roles of the PMCs. It is against this realization that this study aims to explore factors that influence the performance of PMCs in public infrastructure development projects in Uganda. The study focussed on the Roles and challenges faced by the PMCs and suggests possible mechanisms to address the challenges. The study employed descriptive research design with the target population comprising the Arua district staff of works department. NWSC’s staff of planning and Capital development (P&CD), Contractors and consultants on the WMDP project and the staff of Arua Municipal Council works department. The study employed stratified sampling technique in coming up with a sample size of 35 from a total population of 85 respondents. The study relied mostly on primary data sources where quantitative data was collected, coded and entered into (SPSS Version 21.0) and analysed using descriptive Statistics alongside a few qualitative data from the key informants. The findings were presented inform of frequency tables while explanation was presented in prose. The study found out that PMCs do analyze client requirements and design control systems, prepare deliverables schedules, establish an EHS Management plan, ensure efficient flow of correspondences between the various stakeholders as well as prepare project close out reports. While recruitment of qualified employees, maintaining proper communication channels, establishment of conflict resolution channels are the prominent mechanisms established by the study to mitigate challenges to performance of PMCs. The study concluded that PMCs are most important at the construction stage followed by the post-construction stage and with a lesser importance at the pre-construction stage. Also the study concluded that, the supply chain risks and organizational politics significantly affect the performance of PMCs. The study thus recommends for thorough scrutiny of PMCs qualifications and adherence to the guidelines by clients in project communication if the benefits of PMCs are to be fully realized.