1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The construction industry occupies a sensitive position as it is perceived to play an essential role for continuous growth of both the developed and developing nations (Ofori, 2000). The role of the sector is very important because of its output and due to the achievement of socio-economic objectives such as shelter, infrastructure and employment opportunities (Usman et al., 2012). The vital role played by the construction industry cannot be over emphasized as it is vivid that the activities of the industry impact almost every aspect of the economy which is also responsible for about 16.0% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs approximately 25.0% of workforce in Nigeria (Ayangade, Wahab, and Alake, 2009).
Craftsmen in the construction sector play a very essential role to the survival and development of the sector as they are directly involved in construction operation (Medugu, et al, 2011, Rafee, 2012). Even though Nigeria is endowed with ample manpower, authors posit that the situation in the sector is at best sarcastic. Fagbenle (2004) and other researchers reported that the industry is the highest employer of the nation’s manpower after agriculture, whereas it is still faced with shortages of technically skilled craftsmen which affect productivity, work quality, projects duration and overall organizational profit (Ruchi, 2012; Kuroshi and Lawal, 2014; Alinaitwe et al., 2007; Durdyev and Mbachu, 2011).
Poor productivity of craftsmen has been identified as one of the most daunting problems that construction industries face, especially those in developing countries (Kaming, Olomolaiye, Holt, and Harris, 1997). Productivity is generally defined as the average direct labor hours required to install a unit of material. It is said that perfect productivity (1.0) can be achieved with a 40-hour work week, with people taking all the holidays and vacation days as planned all of the engineering drawings would be 100% complete there would be no delays of any kind during construction; everyone would work safely; everything would fit perfectly the first time; the weather would be 70o F; and there would be no litigation at the end of the project (Rowlinson and Proctor, 1999).
Consequently, there is a growing and continuous interest in productivity studies all over the world because of the importance of labour productivity in the management and control of project costs. Identifying and evaluating the factors that influence productivity are critical issues facing construction managers (Attar., et al, 2012). Generally, factors influencing labour productivity include manpower, leadership, motivation, time, materials/tools, supervision, project, safety, quality, external, organisational factors, economic factors, physical factors and socio-psychological (Kazaz, Manisali &Serdar, 2008). Therefore, it is pertinent to study the factors influencing craftsmen productivity in Africa.
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