Risk Identification Barriers

in Construction Projects in MENA



Mostafa H. Kotb (1) and Mohamed M. Ghattas (2)

(1) Prof of Structural Engineering – Faculty of Engineering – AZHAR University – Egypt

(2) Civil Engineer, Project Manager, PMP, PMI-RMPTM – Egypt – KSA



Construction projects nowadays are facing difficulties and financial losses due to high economic and political instability, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. So they require effective project management. Risk management is one of the most important aspects of project management, as it deals with unknown events which may cause benefits or losses to the project. Risk identification process is essential to the successful implementation of risk management. You can deal with risks effectively if you identify them properly. Risks are divided into opportunities and threats. This paper focuses on risk identification barriers while applying PMI risk standards for the projects. If the organization considers those barriers while risk identification, it will enhance the risk identification process, enhance profits and reduce damages.

Keywords: Risk management, Risk identification, Construction, PMI risk standards, MENA, Risk identification barriers.

  1. Introduction

In construction projects uncertainty is everywhere. Each project contains hidden parts which may cause negative or positive events. The construction industry in the MENA region was rapidly growing before the political crisis and the drop in oil prices, which badly affected the sector. Now investors need to spend less, earn more within short durations. This is difficult because of the nature of construction projects. Project management goal is to drive the project to successful completion, to meet the pre-established targets, to avoid losses and gain customer’s satisfaction. Project management processes are initiating, planning, execution, monitor, control, and closure. These processes are cyclical and repetitive through the project. Risk management is an important part of project management which plays an important role in trying to manage all unknown events which may affect the project. So the team should identify the risk, understand its nature, plan to manage once occur, monitor and control responses effectiveness, and make enhancements and changes to plans if required.

What is the risk? There are multiple answers to this simple question, As per PMI (2), the risk is “an uncertain event that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality”. If risk is positive, it is known as opportunity, but negative ones are known as threats as per W.D. Rowe (7), Mistakenly many people focus only on managing threats and think that those only should be identified, analyzed and managed, while they missed the positive chances and the profit might be gained from those chances.

As per PMI (2), organizations and project managers should also focus on non-event risks which are divided into two main types: (1) Variability: activities are usually performed within a probable range of duration and resources, and By using Monte Carlo simulation a good confidence level can be reached through iteration. (2) Ambiguity: when there is imperfect knowledge in any area of the project, which might affect the project’s success and can be solved by defining this gap and then filling it either internally or externally. To assure the continuous development of the project resources.

Jardine C.G. (6) defined risk as the probability of unknown events to cause losses or gain on a specific time frame.

Risk management is defined as the processes of risk management, identification, analysis, planning responses, monitoring and controlling risks of the project (2). Risk management should start as soon as possible once the project starts so that the project team can properly identify and deal with risks.


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How to cite this paper: Kotb, M. H. & Ghattis, M. M. (2018). Risk Identification Barriers in Construction Projects in MENA, PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue VIII – August.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/pmwj73-Aug2018-Kotb-Ghattas-Risk-Identification-Barriers-in-Construction-Projects-in-MENA.pdf


About the Authors

Prof. Dr. Mostafa H. Kotb

Prof of Structural Engineering – Faculty of Engineering
AZHAR University – Egypt


Prof. Dr. Mostafa H. Kotb,
Prof of Structural Engineering from 2006 till now, Field of interests behavior of design of steel structures, strengthening and repair of reinforced concrete elements for structure interactions and rehabilitation of civil infrastructure, Vice-dean from 2011 till end of 2015, Assistant chair of Al-AZHAR International Engineering Conference from 2000 till 2014.  For more information, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-mostafa-kotb-85ab353a/?ppe=1

E-Mail: [email protected],  

Mobile: 0020-100 100 3125


Mohamed Metwaly Ghattas, PMP, PMI-RMP, CCP

Egypt – KSA




Mohamed Ghattas
, PMP, PMI-RMP, CCP, Project manager with 5 years of experience in construction projects in Saudi Arabia, is currently a Project Manager at AI Rajhi Capital. Interested in risk management and cost management .  For more information, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamed-ghattas-pmp-rmp-b62a5526/

E-Mail: [email protected],

Mobile: 00966-59 590 4818