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Construction procurement : redefining the contours of organizational structures in procurement

Tookey, John and Murray, Michael and Hardcastle, Cliff and Langford, David (2001) Construction procurement : redefining the contours of organizational structures in procurement. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 8 (1). pp. 20-30.

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Today there are a number of different types of procurement routes available for clients to choose from. Each different type of procurement (traditional, design and build, management, etc.) has its own proponents and inherent strengths and weaknesses. Selection of optimal procurement systems is difficult, because even experienced clients cannot know all the potential benefits or risks for each system. Procurement is, therefore, a succession of ‘calculated risks’. Industry and academia have focussed research on reducing procurement risk through better procurement-system selection methods. Current research considers procurement as a set of rationalistic decisions within a closed environment, aiming to produce generic, prescriptive rules for clients and advisers to use to select the ‘best’ procurement route for their project. This paper seeks to identify whether prescriptive procurement guidance was adhered to on a set of case study projects. It was found that clients usually selected appropriate procurement systems, and where an inappropriate system was selected, alterations were made in contract form to incorporate aspects of the ‘best’ procurement route.