In most cases, companies in the construction sector are structured by activity or project. These are usually located in different regions and spread over several large geographical areas. The control of stocks, supplies, purchases, crews, and works is more complex because this task is carried out at the head office, which is usually far from the areas where the works are carried out. Profitability is penalised by the changes that accompany the work and the waste of materials on the one hand. On the other hand, the building is undergoing a vast increase in competition with more specialisation and too much complexity, affecting profitability.
Concerning the design of this study, it is remarkable that imbalances characterise the construction industry at all levels. These imbalances could be highlighted by analysing, on the one hand, the difficulties they face in the AECOO disciplines and, on the other hand, the ambitions and opportunities involving the importance occupied by CI and its considerable effect on economic indicators. The data collection shows that many difficulties prevent the field from reaching its full potential and ambitions to achieve maximum benefit. The literature review from official documents, bibliography, and semi-structured interviews illustrate the AECOO industry's failures. It reveals various challenges that need to be overcome before thinking about the renovation of this sector. These challenges could be ordered into categories (CC) related to:
- C.C01: Procurement and purchasing (2P);
- C.C02: Management (M);
- C.C03: Planning, site preparation, control (2PC);
- C.C04: Informality and Defects (ID);
- C.C05: Stakeholder Collaboration (SC);
- C.C06: Waste, Loss, and Error (WLE);
- C.C07: Structures and Competition (SC);
- C.C08: Technology, Research, and Development (TR&D);
- C.C09: Economic, Social, Environmental (ESE);
- C.C10: Quality, Cost, Delivery (QCD).
So far, the difficulties revealed in this study are grouped into ten categories. According to the interview responses, most people working in the construction phase focused on the problems encountered on the construction sites and the challenge interval [C.C01-C.C04]. The respondents stated the lack of communication and permanent collaboration due to the serial flow construction process. According to the architects and engineers, the project’s design, study, and costing phase is cumbersome due to technical calculation errors. The time allocated to modifying plans is difficult due to the limitations of the software used. In their interventions, the academics summarised the challenges in the lack of support programmes on innovation, promotion of research and development, and the emergence of information technology. Thus, the lack of introduction of new technological and managerial trends for project management. It is noted in an intervention by two-three professors and four professionals that the lack of close coordination and the gap between the academic and professional environment constitutes a real challenge and conditions the quality and skills of the laureates to align with the new trends of the professional environment. Let us now consider the project owners, who have the role of guaranteeing the proper functioning of the project. They agreed that time overruns, cost overruns, and lousy quality influence the project's overall delivery, impact the social, economic, and environmental benefits, and threaten economic growth. One participant noted that the worst thing was that projects were abandoned after a completion rate that sometimes reached 60% during his professional career as a project owner. For their part, software suppliers indicated two main challenges; on the one hand, despite the renovation of tools for design, studies, coordination between the various trades, and project management, stakeholders are still attached to traditional methods. On the other hand, structuring projects and competition prevents companies from opening up to new tools and software or implementing the new approach.
Looking at the CI professions in Morocco, it has experienced a boom this decade, according to national surveys, which is characterised by an increase in the creation of architectural firms, engineering offices, and construction companies, despite many difficulties. These new actors are generally small and work in the informal sector. This has the consequence of reinforcing the persistence of several limitations, notably structural and undermining this sector's ambitions and expectations.
Many aspects emerge from this analysis of the difficulties/challenges tab and the other of the ambition and potential of the LCI. It appears that urgency is indicated to anticipate the missing time, reposition itself in a framework of change, and rethink the construction life cycle at all scales. The above findings in terms of expectations and ambitions give the impression that several integrated remedial perspectives can create a linkage to promote this industry and push it forward as a pioneering sector and driver of the economy and job creation. These perspectives will be promising solutions to overcome difficulties, and enhance reputation and customer focus.
They were proceeding by affinity ranking of the ten proposed categories. Two main classes float to the surface. The first class is technological, and the second is managerial. It is noteworthy that the prospect of developing potential areas, reducing the impact of challenges, and meeting stakeholder expectations rely mainly: on the deployment of advanced technologies, the adoption of waste minimisation approaches, enabling continuous process improvement, and the search for integrated collaborative management models throughout the construction life cycle, from design to demolition.
Moreover, this state of affairs is no longer limited to the case of Morocco, so it is essential to reconcile and accentuate the state of the construction industry on a global scale. As far as the construction industry is concerned, it is paradoxical. Since it plays a significant role in every national economy and many other industries, it depends on purchasing and supplying products. Reducing or eliminating waste in the industry would result in considerable cost savings for the industry and society . It is considered a reliable indicator that reflects the economic conditions in each country .
However, over the past three decades, the construction sector has become apparent, consuming many natural resources, accounting for more than 40% in the 1990s . Today, this Fig is only about 32% [37–40]. The construction industry contributes 38% of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions . In addition to this consumption, the construction industry is also responsible for a quarter of the solid waste generated worldwide. This Fig can reach higher proportions in developing countries like Brazil, where the construction industry produces more than 60% of waste . In Europe, buildings account for over 40% of energy consumption . This happens because the construction sector mainly adopts a linear economic model of "take, make, throw away," using materials to construct buildings and throwing them away at the end of their life, as they are assembled for single-use and do not retain the potential for reuse [38, 43, 44].
In contrast, another economic model gaining attention in recent decades is the circular economy, whose founding principles offer better resource management [43, 45–47]. The situation in Morocco is no longer one of the construction industry at odds with environmental requirements. It is even worse, as many government studies have pointed to the detrimental effect of the construction industry and its misalignment with ecological perspectives.
In support of these recent findings on the paradoxical state of the MCI, several researchers argue that fast, complex, and uncertain projects cannot be managed by conventional means and that fast-track projects with long and complicated supply chains involving many actors and subject to multiple and significant design changes, processes and complex flow management fail miserably.
In the case of the construction industry [48, 49], it has been reported that the construction industry is heterogeneous and highly involved with projects that are exposed to uncertainty in design and planning, the presence of various stakeholder interests, resource availability, environmental factors, the country’s economy, and statutory regulations. As a result, the industry is characterised by delays and has often suffered from cost and time overruns [48, 49]. Needless to say, the CI has an unreliable reputation and low productivity .
In addition to this, there has been no significant difference in the construction industry for a long time. This is confirmed by the labour productivity and low profitability, which has not exceeded 5% [20, 50]. This means that the margin of error is not acceptable, and facility management costs are meagre. This result is very significant compared to the series of megaprojects launched in Morocco. Indeed, the assembly of the fund and the financial solvency is complicated and proportional to the size of the project, which makes the project unacceptable for any error or source of over-cost. According to professionals interviewed, in Moroccan reality, many projects have been abandoned, and others are at risk of stopping, ac
In an era of global effort to overcome challenges, take full advantage of many industrial transformations, and adopt good resource management strategies, the construction industry faces problems and difficulties. Comparing the progress made by multiple sectors in integrating innovative technologies such as the trend of digitalisation, automation, and increased use of information and communication technologies (ICT) as the central concept of Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0 , the construction industry is still reluctant to integrate these aspects into its current practices . And it is still struggling to adopt IR 4.0 concepts despite the apparent benefits . Another essential manifestation of inefficiency in the construction sector is the cost overruns resulting from delays and non-delivery and the waste of construction materials . This waste of construction materials has been specifically identified as having severe negative impacts on the ecosystem [54–56]. Therefore, the construction industry still has many adverse effects on the environment and natural and ecological resources . This calls into question attempts and approaches to ensure the sustainability and reconciliation of the built environment with economic, social, and environmental indicators. And what is waiting in Morocco to think about overcoming these challenges?
In particular, the above points have been made to scientifically judge the contradictory situation experienced by the MCI as well as other countries and to create a clear argument for the inevitability of adopting radical changes at a time when technological change is phenomenal, economic, social, and environmental added value is in high demand and improving the performance of infrastructure management processes is indispensable.
They are looking at the challenges and ambitions identified in the triangular approach. There is a priority convergence for overcoming challenges and achieving ambitions based on accepting the synergistic use of a new technological and managerial practice. In this synthetic context, many countries have been thinking of renovating their AECOO system and adapting a thorough overhaul to improve performance, deploying new technologies and positive management processes throughout the construction life cycle that can bring the construction sector into full compliance with sustainable development objectives. The path of change being taken by many countries and the exploration of the emergence of new management revolutions, led by Lean Construction (LC) and other technologies based on information technology deployments leveraged by using Building Information Modelling (BIM).
Lean Construction has been widely adopted to efficiently deliver construction projects as a process-based management approach derived from the Toyota Production System (TPS) [58–60]. Lean concepts have been introduced in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Peru, Singapore, the UK, the USA, and Venezuela . As established by , the Lean construction technique allows more to be done but less of everything. Lean uses less human effort, equipment, time, and space . The lean manufacturing approach has also been an essential part of the construction literature [57, 64, 65]. Many authors confirm that there are as many Lean tools that can lead to the same success that this management style brings to the manufacturing industry in minimising sources of waste, reducing costs, and contributing to the timely delivery of projects, as well as meeting the needs of customers and prime contractors[66–68].
In turn, BIM is being implemented in many countries, e.g., the United States (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Hong Kong, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Singapore [69–71]. Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has improved productivity by 20-30% by 2020. It has mandated BIM as an essential technology tool for improving productivity [72, 73]. The General Services Administration (GSA) in the United States is an international stakeholder in promoting BIM adoption for public sector projects. It has also developed a set of BIM guidelines for better commissioning. Elsewhere in the world, 78% of Danish architectural and engineering (AE) firms have used BIM for conflict detection, 3D visualisation, and BIM performance ; this plays a crucial role in improving the effective collaboration of the project team to meet client requirements [75, 76]. BIM is synonymous with new concepts and practices, greatly enhanced by innovative information technologies and business structures, significantly reducing waste and inefficiency in the construction sector . It allows knowledge resources to be shared for information about a facility that provides a reliable and practical basis for decisions throughout its life cycle, defined from initial design to demolition. This decision support capability benefits the integrated creation of a virtual model, analysed and visualised by all stakeholders .
It follows from the literature reported and consultations conducted analysing the AECOO process in Morocco and some common aspects of the international fabric, the unanimity on the vital role of the construction industry for the overall development of countries, and the realisation of social and economic benefits. On the other hand, there is agreement on the persistence of several difficulties and challenges of either a technological or managerial nature. The actual results found are significant in at least two parts. A- the real challenge before the Moroccan AECOO is to compromise the current need for the built environment, the remarkable failures, and the much-hoped-for ambitions. B- the potential and capacity of LC and BIM to create a successful opportunity to overcome these challenges and improve the construction industry’s performance to achieve the aspirations that are expected of it as a driver of the national economy. The latter outcome (b) is to be explored in future research. This new research framework is generic and could be carried out for other countries similar to Morocco while respecting the particularities of each country. This Framework has a lot of scientific and professional potential.
Moreover, all the people involved in the qualitative approach expressed their willingness to participate in the MCI renovations. What is surprising is that according to the closing question on the level of awareness about BIM and LC, 72.5% expressed that they are aware of BIM, and 22.5% are aware of LC. These responses reinforce the potentiality of the Framework to explore and investigate the issues of BIM and or LC implementation for the Moroccan construction industry. In addition, the subject is being explored internationally, and this is evident from the emergence and growth of recent scientific output concerning this subject.