Implementation of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) in Norwegian Bridge Projects Procurement
Paper in proceedings, 2017
According to the literature, even if early contractor involvement (ECI) has several advantages, international and national legislation often represent challenges for public owners considering implementing it in their projects. This might be caused by the obligations that public owners being obliged to use competitive and transparent contractor selection procedures based on both price and quality. In addition, they are obliged to treat all tenderers equally. However, fulfilling these obligations is challenging even in the traditional project delivery methods. Thus, it becomes extra challenging when it should happen together with ECI. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to add to the knowledge of abilities and constraints of using such an approach by studying how public owners use ECI approaches. This research was carried out according to a qualitative approach, based on a literature study, a document study and interviews. Fourteen semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with key client personnel from eleven case studies selected from Norwegian bridge projects. Various approaches of ECI have been used in the investigated bridge projects without violating public procurement legislation. Among the identified approaches are; direct contact with specialist contractors in the front-end phase of projects, idea competition, announcing the project with optional technical solutions, using a design & construct contract, information meetings with the contractor branch and a front-end partnering process. This study concludes that public owners might have several alternatives in order to implement ECI. However, the contractors' contributions vary a lot depending on which ECI approaches are implemented and at what time they are implemented in a project. Most of the ECI approaches identified in the targeted projects were implemented in the relatively late phases of the projects. Most of the approaches, however, could have been implemented earlier. Therefore, the ultimate potential of the approaches was not realised. This paper can help public owners to understand the full potential of ECI approaches. Likewise, it can help public owners to benefit more when they implement the approaches in the future.
Early contractor involvement