Performance appraisal of road projects implementation using force Account and Bidding methods
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ABSTRACT The principal purpose of maintaining roads is to provide continuous acceptable conditions for undisrupted, safe and economic travel. To achieve this, well planned and timely maintenance interventions need to be undertaken on them to ensure least long-term cost for the agency responsible for their maintenance. Maintenance is done through either direct intervention by Force Account or by use of private sector contractors and consultants. Prior to 2012, district and urban roads maintenance in Uganda was carried out through contracting local small-scale labour-based contractors. The new government policy called Force Account (Direct Labour) for maintenance of District, Urban and Community Access Roads (DUCARs) was introduced and involves use of own equipment and road gangs. It was perceived as a cheaper way of undertaking maintenance work than contracting as it minimizes cost because both staff and equipment are in-house. This study set out to analyse the road project implementation using force account strategy in relation to Bidding of District, Urban and Community Access Roads by examining the level of performance and quality of services delivered by the force account strategy in road maintenance, determining factors that affect its performance in terms of the project duration, cost of the activities and recommending appropriate measures that can be taken to improve its performance and service delivery, using the central region as a case study. The perceptions of the respondents about Force Account were obtained using questionnaires and through interviews to determine its performance, quality, cost, duration of the project activities and the factors affecting its implementation. The study also showed that it is a good method of road project implementation and that increased budget allocation for force account activities would improve its operations. The study revealed a number of factors that affect the implementation of Force Account activities and these include; Poor planning, budgeting and schedule management; Lack of reliable complete sets of road equipment; Inadequate operation funding for road maintenance activities; Inadequate/ inexperienced supervising staff; Poorly motivated unproductive staff; and Procurement process delays. From the research, it was recommended that the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Road Fund should increase on the budget allocations for Force Account activities so as to streamline the financial problems encountered by the implementer and adequately equip all the districts with complete sets of modern equipment. The researcher also recommended that the 2013 Force Account Policy Guidelines should be revised by Ministry of Works and Transport so as to suit and form a good backbone for running Force Account operations.