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The changing role of the public client in construction procurement

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conference contribution
posted on 2014-12-19, 11:16 authored by Ali S.A. Al-Harthi, Robby SoetantoRobby Soetanto, Francis Edum-Fotwe
The public sector obligation to improve the performance of construction procurement has resulted in several changes to the organisation, roles and systems adopted for development schemes. For example, a less than expected outturn performance of traditional arrangements and the increase demand for public services led to the adoption of integrated procurement systems. These changes have seen a transition of client’s role from merely a funder to an active player working collaboratively alongside the private sector (as service providers) at different periods over the last three decades. These changes were expected to improve construction procurement performance dramatically as they allow the clients to enhance their organisational capabilities by assigning major part of their roles to the private sector. However, the literature does not show that the procurement performance has improved as a result of the changes in the client organisation. While research continues to emphasise the importance of the client role in the construction procurement, so far limited attention has been given to the development of the client’s internal organisation for better procurement performance. This paper reports a comprehensive review of the role of the client in construction procurement identified by various researchers to establish the role that the client has been performing over the last three decades. This has been achieved by applying a chronological mapping method of materials published on the subject over the last three decades. The analysis indicates that there are critical elements within the client role which have been consistently addressed over the last three decades. In addition, there are elements which have emerged as a consequence of the shift towards integrated systems. An understanding of critical and emerging elements will allow the clients to identify the gap between the required and the existing capabilities within their organisations, and to assess their procurement arrangement.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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403 - 412 (10)


ALHARTHI, A., SOETANTO, R. and EDUM-FOTWE, F.T., 2014. The changing role of the public client in construction procurement. In: Raiden, A. and Aboagye-Nimo, E. (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September 2014, Portsmouth, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, pp. 403–412.




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is a conference paper. It is also available at: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/




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