Multilayer subcontracting of specialist works in buildings in Hong Kong

Francis W.H. Yik, Hung Kit Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Multilayer subcontracting has been alleged to be one of the major causes of poor construction quality in Hong Kong. A thorough understanding of how the multilayer subcontracting system works is critical to evaluating its benefits and drawbacks and, in turn, to deciding if the practice should be put under regulatory control or moderated through other measures. Until now, little research has been done on this topic. A portrait of the working of the multilayer subcontracting system for specialist works in buildings has been constructed through assembling the pieces of information collected from practitioners in the building construction industry of Hong Kong. This unveils that the system is highly efficient in mobilizing workers to cope with fluctuating labour demand and is effective in ensuring workers will perform reasonably efficiently. The system, however, is prone to problems of non-payments for lower-tier subcontractors and workers, which will lead to project delays and work quality problems. The direction for mitigating the problems without losing its flexible and efficient features is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008


  • Buildings
  • Hong Kong
  • Labour law
  • Multilayer subcontracting
  • Specialist works

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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