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Paper itaec-2003-10:
Identifying needs and potential for decision support in construction procurement

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Kumaraswamy M M

Identifying needs and potential for decision support in construction procurement

Abstract: Procurement options in construction have proliferated amidst innovative approaches to financing projects, segregating functions, choosing participants and managing processes. Recent studies confirm that the selection of 'appropriate' procurement options is a necessary (although insufficient) condition for improving project performance levels. One such study compared procurement vs. non-procurement related variables in influencing project performance. Data from a sample of building projects in Hong Kong was used to develop time and cost over-run models, through multiple linear regression and artificial neural network techniques. These exercises indicated the significance of 'procurement variables' such as 'payment modality' (e.g.: fixed price lump sum) as well as 'non-procurement variables' such as client characteristics (that include secondary variables/ factors such as 'client type' and 'client experience') and project characteristics (including secondary variables such as 'building type' and 'project complexity'). A follow-up pilot study next evaluated (a) the relative impacts of various procurement and non-procurement variables on eleven identified project performance criteria; and (b) the feasibility of developing a decision support system for improved construction procurement that targets these eleven performance criteria, while 'modelling in' (and therefore incorporating) the influences of significant non-procurement variables. A viable model of a decision support system is thereby developed to help optimise project-specific procurement decisions by clients and their advisers.

Keywords: construction, decision support, knowledge-based, performance, procurement


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