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What if We Treat the Construction Industry like Soccer as suggested by Itunuoluwa Abdulhameed, Construction Quality and Safety Professional, a researcher and ecostoryteller, is as paradoxical as all the other analogies formulated by frustrated contributors/participants to the construction industry worldwide.

Malcolm Gladwell explained the weak link theory while discussing the lessons we can learn from the Covid19 Pandemic. The same could be related to construction as the industry is a weak link system -where the success or failure of a team or project depends, not on a single player but, on every player.

Malcolm Gladwell discusses how soccer is a weak link and basketball is a strong link sport. Studies show that if people want to win a game of soccer, they should upgrade the worst players on the team. In the game of soccer Gladwell says, “You will never see one person dribble the soccer ball from one end of the field to another.” A lot of players have to touch the ball to make a goal. If one does not upgrade the weakest links on the team, they will drag the rest of the team down. In soccer, the worst players on a team are the most important. On the other hand, Gladwell also states that basketball is a strong link sport. A strong link is like professional basketball because studies show that if people want to win basketball games, you should upgrade the top one to two players on the team. Basketball is a star playing game. For example, Lebron James does not need anyone else to touch the ball if he wants to win. A basketball team doesn’t get that much better if upgrading the weak links, it’s more of a one-person sport. Although some sports relate to strong links and weak links, it’s also relatable in the real world.

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A construction project is teamwork. Every player, regardless of their level of participation, has a share in the outcome of the project. As we all know that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the simplified weak link theory states that in a project that involves a team where the outcome depends on everyone, the effect of improving the least skilled player(s) on the entire project far outweighs the effect of improving the most skilled player(s). This means that it is more effective to improve the most basic factors of production.

It, therefore, becomes pertinent to improve on the skills craftsmen and technicians involved in construction projects in order to thereby improve the quality of constructions throughout the country. I place a special focus on the craftsmen and technicians because they have the greatest number and influence (not on decisions but greatly) on outcomes of the project. However, they get neglected in professional discussions entirely owing to their low or no educational background.

I will talk about the options for improvement soon. Till then, let me know what you think about this and let us discuss the possible solutions to this problem.

Published by Itunuoluwa Abdulhameed aimolatunde@gmail.com

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