Chair of Public Commissioning - Evolving client-contractor relations

Increasing public value by redesigning traditional collaborative structures in construction.

Supervisors: Marleen Hermans (TUD BK - MBE); Leentje Volker (TUD BK - MBE).

In the past 20 years many integrated collaborative structures have been developed in construction (Eriksson, 2010; Hartmann & Bresnen, 2011). These agreements vary from performance-based contracts until Design and Build, Engineering and Construct or DBFMO contracts, but also include alliances, supply chain collaboration, strategic partnerships and co-creation (Walker & Lloyd-Walker, 2015). Many of these initiatives originate from the need to increase public value by involving private partners.

Collaborative structures often develop by exploration, evaluation, and evolution of experienced practitioners in (public) organisations that participate in the construction process. Because of the innovative and complex character of this public infrastructure (road, bridges, canals, railway) and social infrastructure (museums, governmental offices, prisons etc), these structures are often considered as interesting study objects for academics, resulting in a treasure of scientific insights (Bektas, 2013; Bosch-Rekveldt, 2011; Gehner, 2008; Lenferink, Tillema, & Arts, 2013). Hence, it appears that many of these scientific recommendations and learning experiences are hardly exploited and implemented in practice (van de Ven & Johnson, 2006).

In this research, we aim at strengthening future collaborative structures for clients and contractors in the construction industry by making use of existing knowledge and expertise. The research will be based on mixed methods, since we intend to use existing dataset from project management and knowledge management databases, in addition to document analysis and additional interviews. As such we build on previous research approaches such as Verweij, van Meerkerk, and Korthagen (2015) and Hoezen, Voordijk, and Dewulf (2011) but broaden its scope by comparing different kinds of infrastructures commissioned by different types of clients. An international comparison also belongs to the opportunities.

The empirical findings will be the input for valorisation workshops with strategic partners in our network such as the Dutch Government Building Agency, Highways Agencies in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands, Municipalities and Water boards. The final aim of the project is to design a toolbox for collaborative agreements between partners in the future network society of the construction industry. 

  • Bektas, E. (2013). Knowledge Sharing Strategies for Large Complex Building Projects (Vol. #4). Delft: Delft University of Technology.
  • Bosch-Rekveldt, M. (2011). Managing Project Complexity. Delft: Delft Centre for Project Management.
  • Eriksson, P. E. (2010). Partnering: what is it, when should it be used, and how should it be implemented? Construction Management and Economics, 28(9), 905 - 917.
  • Gehner, E. (2008). Knowlingly taking risk - Investment decision making in real estate development. Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers.
  • Hartmann, A., & Bresnen, M. (2011). The emergence of partnering in construction practice: an activity theory perspective. Engineering Project Organization Journal, 1(1), 41-52.
  • Hoezen, M., Voordijk, H., & Dewulf, G. (2011). Formal and informal contracting processes in the competitive dialogue procedure: a multiple-case study. Engineering Project Organization Journal, 2(3), 145-158.
  • Lenferink, S., Tillema, T., & Arts, J. (2013). Towards sustainable infrastructure development through integrated contracts: Experiences with inclusiveness in Dutch infrastructure projects. International Journal of Project Management, 31(4), 615-627.
  • van de Ven, A. H., & Johnson, P. E. (2006). Knowledge for Theory and Practice. The Academy of Management Review, 31(4), 802-821.
  • Verweij, S., van Meerkerk, I., & Korthagen, I. A. (2015). Reasons for contract changes in implementing Dutch transportation infrastructure projects: An empirical exploration. Transport Policy, 37(0), 195-202.
  • Walker, D. H., & Lloyd-Walker, B. M. (2015). Collaborative project procurement arrangements.