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Candel, M, Gustavsson, T K and Eriksson, P E (2019) Beyond National Building Regulations: Exploring Public-Private Negotiations Over Sustainability Requirements. In: Gorse, C and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 35th Annual ARCOM Conference, 2-4 September 2019, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 740-749.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: Construction procurement, construction client, innovation, local governance, urban development programs
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/353931a4ef5fc1283f6d7a7743200ee5.pdf
Construction procurement can be understood as a governance mechanism for incorporating various requirements in construction projects to initiate change and innovation. Research on procurement often focuses on clients, such as housing developers, and their procurement of suppliers (e.g. consultants and contractors), and the effects of various procurement strategies. However, construction projects are also governed by mechanisms put in place during the early phases, before the actual procurement process takes place.
Research on local sustainability governance has revealed that municipalities govern construction projects through requirements in municipal land allocation agreements, which extend current legal requirements, to improve sustainability and building performance. Housing developers are thereby placed in a position where they are both governed by the municipality while at the same time having the power and position to govern suppliers through their procurement. Since clients are often considered and proposed as change agents and innovation champions, due to their power to formulate requirements when procuring suppliers, it becomes important to explore how they are governed during these early phases.
This paper builds on an on-going case study of a major sustainability-profiled urban development project in Sweden. The purpose is to explore how housing developers are governed by municipal land allocations and how this influences their procurement strategies and possibilities to act as change agents and innovation champions. The empirical material consists of interviews with housing developers and municipality representatives, observations of meetings and seminars, and documents. Tentative findings illustrate that the housing developer’s role as a change agent and innovation champion is complex and affected by municipal requirements. Furthermore, the conditions during procurement are dependent on preceding early phase negotiations between housing developers and the municipality. Accordingly, the understanding of the client’s role as a change agent and innovation champion needs a wider perspective that incorporates the governance of local authorities.