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Boes H and Dorée A (2013) Public procurement at local level in the Netherlands: towards a better client-contractor cooperation in a competitive environment. In: Smith, S D and Ahiaga-Dagbui, D D (Eds.), Proceedings 29th Annual ARCOM Conference, 2-4 September 2013, Reading, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 717–727.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: cooperation; municipality; procurement; project management
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-7-6
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2013-0717-0727_Boes_Doree.pdf
In the early 1990s, Dutch municipalities procured works mainly by invited tenders. The drive behind this policy was to maintain continuity of the relationship and cooperation between client and contractor(s). Towards the turn of the century the procurement policy moved to more public tendering. This was supposed to ensure more competitive pressure and to minimize suspicion over ‘cosy’ contacts between client and contractors. This ‘more competition’ policy was promoted even more after the exposure in 2001 of widespread collusion in the Dutch construction industry. For a number of years after this, client-contractor relationships remained distant and formal under the process of traditional contracting, open tendering and low cost selection. In 2009 representatives from the municipalities and contractors mutually expressed the wish to explore more integrated and cooperative contracts. These municipalities became participants in Pioneering to start pilot projects focusing on relational contracting or partnering for design and execution. The assumption was that more cooperative problem-solving would lead to less conflict and greater added value. The first pilot project is finished and the results are promising, but there are also some lessons. The willingness to cooperate between client and contractor existed during design and execution phase. The cooperation produced better solutions than the initial client solutions. Also, the focus on cooperation produced a more open atmosphere between client and contractor. However, this atmosphere sometimes hampered a critical attitude and influenced the process efficiency negatively. The delivery of reliable information by the client was especially critical and held back due to the time constraints caused by other projects also being executed. The tendering for qualitative criteria only and no prices led to competitive discussion about the budget. The new procurement law implemented on the 1st April 2013 no longer allows this form of tendering. Furthermore, the cooperation intention in the execution phase was supported by traditional Design-Bid-Built) legislation. Therefore, extra costs were allocated according to the traditional client contractor framework. The future management of the process and further development of the cooperation concept into the execution phase both need attention.