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Which economic sustainability criteria should be addressed in public procurement strategies?
conference contributionposted on 27.11.2012, 15:29 by Amr Sourani, M. Sohail (Khan)
Public clients in the UK are under even more demands to adopt procurement practices that are oriented towards sustainability. Despite the production of many publications addressing sustainable construction, there is a lack of agreed and comprehensive sets of social, economic and environmental sustainability criteria that should be addressed by UK public clients in developing a procurement strategy. This paper presents part of the results of a research project that aimed at developing agreed sets of the major sustainability criteria that should be addressed by UK public clients in developing a procurement strategy. In particular, the paper reports the findings in relation to the economic sustainability criteria. The investigation draws mainly on a Delphi method which involved a panel of experts representing a wide range of views and sectors. The panel involved experts from the public sector, professional/consultancy organisations, major contracting organisations and academics. The Delphi method was employed to achieve a reliable consensus of opinion among experts and to maximise the advantages and minimise the disadvantages associated with using committees. The method’s “hybrid” position within the qualitative/quantitative debate places it in an ideal situation for use; Delphi is primarily a qualitative tool that provides a rich context-based knowledge but has the potential to provide quantitative results. The results have been further validated through semi-structured interviews and discussions conducted with sustainability experts and professionals working in a variety of professional and public sector organisations in the UK. The analysis of the results obtained in this investigation led ultimately to the development of an agreed set of twelve economic sustainability criteria. These include: clear establishment of need and evaluation of alternative options, whole life value for money, consideration of whole life costing, fitness for purpose (including consideration of long term flexibility), waste minimisation and management, supporting the regional/local economy (including stimulating demand for local labour, businesses, materials and services), financial affordability for intended beneficiaries, creating employment opportunities, competitiveness, consideration of effective logistics strategies, Economic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and improving the efficiency of the supply side. The results of the investigation provide public clients with evidence based, comprehensive and agreed set of economic sustainability criteria which need to be addressed in their construction procurement strategies.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering