A Case Study of a Negotiated Tender within a Small-to-Medium Construction Contractor: Modelling Project Cost Variance

Ellis, James and Edwards, D.J. and Thwala, Wellington Didibhuku and Ejohwomu, Obuks and Ameyaw, Ernest Effah and Shelbourn, Mark (2021) A Case Study of a Negotiated Tender within a Small-to-Medium Construction Contractor: Modelling Project Cost Variance. Buildings, 11 (6). e260. ISSN 2075-5309

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Abstract

This research explores the failure of competitively tendered projects in the UK construction industry to procure the most suited contractor(s) to conduct the works. Such work may have equal relevance for other developed nations globally. This research seeks to teach clients and their representatives that “lowest price” does not mean “best value”, by presenting a case study of a successfully negotiated tender undertaken by a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) contractor; SME studies are relatively scant in academic literature. By applying the “lessons learnt” principle, this study seeks to improve future practice through the development of a novel alternative procurement option (i.e., negotiation). A mixed philosophical stance combining interpretivism and pragmatism was used—interpretivism to critically review literature in order to form the basis of inductive research to discuss negotiation as a viable procurement route, and pragmatism to analyse perceptions of tendering and procurement. The methods used follow a three-stage waterfall process including: (1) literature review and pilot study; (2) quantitative analysis of case study data; and (3) qualitative data collection via a focus group. Our research underscores the need to advise clients and their representatives of the importance of understanding the scope of works allowed within a tender submission before discounting it based solely on price. In addition, we highlight the failings of competitive tendering, which results in increased costs and project duration once the works commence on site. These findings provide new contemporary insight into procurement and tendering in the construction industry, with emphasis on SME contractors, existing relationships, and open-book negotiation. This research illustrates the adverse effects of early cost estimates produced without first securing a true understanding of project buildability and programming. Our work concludes with a novel insight into an alternative procurement option that involves early SME contractor involvement in an open-book environment, without the need for a third-party cost control.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** History: accepted 13-06-2021; pub-electronic 18-06-2021. ** Licence for this article: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11060260
Date: 18 June 2021
Uncontrolled Keywords: UK construction, tendering and procurement, rework, “race to the bottom”, negotiation, predicted cost
Subjects: K200 Building
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
SWORD Depositor: JISC PubRouter
Depositing User: JISC PubRouter
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 11:13
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 11:13
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11800

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