Loughborough University
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A project partnering approach to the main contractor–sub-contractor relationship

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posted on 2010-11-12, 10:12 authored by Jason D. Matthews
This research describes an investigation into developing closer working relationships through project partnering in order to reduce the occurrence of adversarial practices commonly found between main contractors and subcontractors. A literature review was undertaken that identified two main types of partnering: project partnering; and strategic partnering. One of the main differences between the two types of partnering were identified as being their durations: short term (project partnering); and long term (strategic partnering). It was concluded that the published literature had the following limitations: primarily applicable to the Australian and US construction industries; models and processes identified did not have an adequate practical content; and limited application to the main contractor - SC relationship. After completion of the literature review a research methodology was developed, allowing an alternative approach to project partnering to be developed. The research methodology enabled information to be obtained from both the collaborating contractors personnel and SC personnel. The approach to project partnering was named 'semi project partnering' as it contained an element of SC competition. The approach was implemented on a live commercial project during the preconstruction tendering and estimating stages. The semi project partnering approach utilised both the knowledge gained from the literature review and the conclusions from the empirical research. The approach was validated by the collaborating company's personnel. Further validation of the achievements of the approach took place by interviewing personnel from both the collaborating company and subcontractors. The main outcomes from the research are: identification of what a main contractor's employees want from their dealings with subcontractors; recognition of what subcontractors want from their dealings with main contractors; a comparison of the collaborating companies performance compared to that of its competitors; and a semi project partnering approach that provides: a reduction in the occurrence of adversarial practices used between main contractors and subcontractors; and earlier involvement of subcontractors within the building process promoting mutual understanding.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© J. Matthews

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en

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    Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering Theses


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