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Construction in Ghana. Conclusion

The research question which guided this study was with regard to the perceptions of stakeholders in construction in Ghana, and how these were relevant to the disputes in the industry. Further questions concerned the harm that the disputes cause to stakeholders as well as Ghana in terms of its supply of infrastructure and buildings as well as economic growth.

The disputes can clearly be seen as arising from perceptions. The context and systematic conditions create difficulties and challenges, which is left for the affected stakeholder to resolve. This is despite the fact that a problem in one area will create a problem in another. The contractor is often the affected party. Rather than blaming the contractor (or consultant or client as the case may be), efforts must be made to see the problem of one stakeholder as a problem for the project. The client can play a lead role by determining the funds are available to pay for services, and the consultant as project manager can play a role by taking leadership over and encouraging a collaborative and systems based point of view. The contractor can play a role by ensuring open communications with the consultant and client, and to take a consensus based approach to resolving changes or modifications which are required on site. Other stakeholders such as the regulators and public at large can facilitate and support construction firms by not participating in blame for construction issues, but rather supporting solutions over identification of a party for shaming.

This may be a tall order; disputes regarding construction, particularly those involving public funds play out over media, encouraging the public to take sides. Considerable effort goes into political perception of construction issues. The importance of construction and the construction industry at this time is such that internal conflict must be put aside if the sector is going to thrive, let alone survive. The growth of the economy, living standards and quality of life depend on the stakeholders of the construction industry working together collaboratively towards common goals.

The foreseeable danger for Ghana is that it continues on a path where contract disputes displace collaborative solutions, resulting in business failure and reliance on foreign firms. With over fifty years of developing skills, ideas and institutions it would be waste of decades of investment to not continue to try to understand, facilitate and evaluate construction in Ghana.

A discussion of the contract disputes in construction in Ghana is easily understood only in the moment, but these issues go back into history, shaped by political forces in faraway nations. Today it is Ghana who determines the future of construction in Ghana and this can be done providing there is a dramatic shift away from blame and towards collaboration.

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