Small building enterprises : an evaluation of management skills of small building practices

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The building and construction industry in Australia is a fragmented industry consisting of many segments or groups, for example builders, sub-contractors and suppliers to name a few. Most builders and sub-contractors operate as small companies. Management skills in small companies, has long been a major concern to the building industry, especially within the house sector of the building industry. Old and recent studies have revealed that many proprietors / managers of small builders have progressed to managerial positions with only trade skills, and many of them are lacking in the various levels of managerial skills needed to successfully run their businesses. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the needs for changes to the current education strategies aimed at the proprietors/ managers of small builders with the aim of improving the management efficiency of small building enterprises. The focus of the thesis is a review of current managerial skills possessed by individuals managing small companies and an examination of their attitudes towards learning managerial skills A review of the literature provided valuable information regarding management inefficiencies in the building and construction industry. However little of it was expressly concerned with the management skills of proprietors / managers of small builders. In some cases the literature is misleading in relation to the attitudes of proprietors/ managers of small builders towards learning managerial skills. The research methodology involved a series of structured interviews, which included a guided questionnaire, and a personal interview. The development of trust in administering tile questionnaire and interviews was found to be a crucial part of the methodology. The findings of the investigation confirmed that lack of management skills is a problem within small builders. The study also revealed that proprietors / management of small builders are willing to retrain in the quest for better management skills. The thesis concluded that lack of education and re-education is one of the major hurdles for small builders. The study identified proprietors/managers of small builders as a category of people that need special education. The study also revealed that the education strategies in place fail to accommodate these people's needs. Consequently the study concluded by hypothesising that there is potential for developing oral based, learning education strategies to accommodate the specific needs of the proprietors / managers of small builders.
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