Civil Engineer Sharpens Business Acumen with a Master of Commerce
The quest to become a well-rounded professional saw professional Civil Engineer, Mr Ndumiso Ngubane, pursuing studies which earned him a Master of Commerce in Management at UKZN in May.
Causes and Effects of Delays in the Implementation Phase of Infrastructure Construction Projects: Umgeni Water Case Study was the title of Ngubane’s dissertation under the supervision of UKZN Management experts, Professor Maxwell Phiri and Dr Malindi Kunene.
Ngubane unpacked his research and explained that his study examined the causes and effects of delays in the implementation phase of infrastructure construction projects for a South African state-owned entity. He said: ‘The study found that the “excessive changes to the scope of work” factor is the most frequently occurring and important delay cause for the entity. The factor often emanates from the additional scope of the client during construction. The most important effects of the delays were found to be time overruns, cost overruns, and a lost opportunity to make a profit by the entity.’
His study concluded that the reduction of important construction delays is within the control of the entity and associated contractual parties and recommended that the entity is advised to ensure effective engineering change management to prevent the incurrence of “excessive changes to the scope of work” and subsequent delays to the project.
The selection of the research topic was crucial to Ngubane as he firmly believes that one’s academic research study should contribute meaningfully to their current or future work responsibilities and goals.
Ngubane graduated with a BSc in Civil Engineering from UKZN. He is currently working for Lethabo Power Station as a Senior Civil Engineer where he is responsible for producing and integrating engineering solutions and designs for asset creation at various stages of the project lifecycle; developing discipline-specific technical standards, procedures, and specifications; and providing professional technical leadership to engineers. Before joining Lethabo Power Station, he was a civil engineer at Umgeni Water.
He is a professionally registered engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa and a certified Project Management Professional.
On obtaining the new qualification, he said: ‘The future of engineering work is changing rapidly and calls for dynamic engineering professionals. This degree has helped me to improve my managerial and commercial acumen. Most importantly, it equipped me with the skill to quickly learn new knowledge and unlearn existing concepts, which is important for adaptability in this ever-changing world.’
Challenging other engineers to embark on postgraduate studies, Ngubane said: ‘Civil engineers play an enormous role in improving the socioeconomic status of any society. Therefore, it’s imperative that as engineers, we constantly develop ourselves in order to make sound decisions that will put our lovely nation on the world map.’
Ngubane has already shared the findings of his study at IMBALI International Conference and co-published research with his supervisors.
Proud of Ngubane’s achievement, Kunene said: ‘It is truly a great pleasure to witness Ndumiso's exceptional performance. He has always been dedicated to his work and eager to learn. Working with a student who is passionate about creating knowledge and understanding through research was truly refreshing.’
When not solving complex engineering problems, he dabbles as a roadrunner and serves as a volunteer on the Information Technology Committee for the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.
Words: Hazel Langa
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan