Choosing a procurement method for construction projects

From the outside, it’s easy to sometimes forget all of the paperwork that is involved in major construction projects. Some projects appear remarkably simple in the eyes of the Average Joe, but if you were to scrutinize them in further detail you’d see all of the initial groundwork that gets them to the practical stage.

Part of this groundwork involves choosing a method of procurement. In simple terms, this involves the types of contracts and relationships which are formed between all parties involved in a construction party. It focusses on just how the project is going to be processed and it happens to be one of the most specialized fields around, with construction contract experts like Lisa Dudzik generally in hot-demand to sort the best arrangement.

There are three main types of procurement and if you are looking to get a project off the ground, here’s a lowdown of each of them in detail.

Traditional procurement

As the name might suggest, this is the “standard” method of procuring a project.

Traditional procurement means that a client will appoint a consultant for the project, who will then carry out everything ranging from the design, to costing to physically carrying out the work.

The benefit of this method of procurement is speed. As the same contractor is carrying out both the design and physical build of the project, it means there can be occasions where the two areas overlap. This is something which doesn’t necessarily occur in other types of procurement as we’ll soon look at.

Design and build procurement

Once again, the name gives a very good idea of what’s involved with the design and build method of procurement. This time, the client will appoint various consultants. One will be to organize the design stage of the process, while the other will be to carry out the build.

The big advantage with this procurement method is that the initial cost estimate is very accurate. This is because the whole of the design has been completed before contractors can bid on the work. There are also arguments that design and build procurement can prompt higher-quality buildings, as the client is engaging specialists in both areas to perform work – rather than relying on one individual or company to carry out everything.

However, as the design and build stages can’t overlap, this is one of the slower procurement methods and is sometimes overlooked for this reason.

Management procurement

We spoke about sourcing specialists in the previous section and this steps up a notch in relation to management procurement. It’s here where a manager is appointed to oversee the whole building process and this will usually involve sourcing multiple contractors to carry out the build phase-by-phase.

In terms of the design stage, the client will again turn to specialists who will put together drawings for the project. From this point on, the management consultant who wins the project will be responsible for overseeing it. It’s worth mentioning that any contractors sourced by the consultant will engage in contracts with the client – meaning that some clients regard this as a more specialized, but ultimately riskier, strategy.

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