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Paper w78-1997-215:
Repackaging construction megaprojects and redefiningtechnology transfer

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Kumaraswamy M H

Repackaging construction megaprojects and redefiningtechnology transfer

Abstract:Studies in many developing countries have indicated that inappropriate work packaginghas contributed considerably to problems that emerged on construction megaprojects. Forexample the geographical or functional demarcations of the works often leads tocomplaints as to either too large or complex packages to accommodate domesticcontractors, or too insignificant packages to attract competent international contractors.Other complaints may relate to the inappropriate separation or otherwise of various design,construction and financing functions and sub-functions.Parallel complaints have also lamented the lack of genuine 'technology transfers' betweeninternational and domestic contractors, despite initial intentions, promises and evencontractual provisions.This paper proposes a framework within which an appropriate procurement system withsuitable work packaging may be selected for a particular project. It also espouses aparadigm of 'technology exchange' which is based on necessarily mutual transfers ofdifferent components of 'technology' between project participants or Joint Venturepartners. This is based on a wider conceptualisation of 'technology': as including the fourcomponents of 'Technoware', 'Humanware', 'Orgaware' and 'Inforware' - as previouslyformulated in an ESCAP project. It is expected that synergistic two way technologytransfers (or 'exchanges') will be more attractive and thus more likely within anappropriate procurement/ packaging framework.Information technology (IT) must be harnessed in developing databanks of: (a) optionsalong with a codification of their strengths and weaknesses in respect of procurement subsystems/packaging arrangements and (b) organisational strengths and weakness profiles interms of potential technology exchanges with other possible project participants/ partners -so as to simulate and select from a series of suitably synergistic combinations. IT will alsobe needed to monitor the progress of each such proposed/ selected system - in terms ofpackaging, partnerships and management, so as to facilitate evaluations and feedback thatwill in turn help to formulate a 'selection model cum advisory system' and thereby furtherimprove future selections.

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