ALTERNATIVE PROCUREMENT METHODS
From the client’s perspective, there can be disadvantages with the traditional method. Consultants’ fees must be spent before a contractor’s price is available and it is clear that the project is viable. The process is also slow, with one stage following on from the next. A number of alternatives are available, such as design and build - D&B - where the contractor takes over design responsibility and utilises his experience to select alternative products at the design stage. Typically, an architect might obtain detailed planning permission for his client and then be employed by a D&B contractor to complete the project. Just who is responsible for specifying each product in this situation is difficult to assess.
Other fast track methods include management contracting where the contractor works alongside the consultants for a fee from the start, employing sub-contractors to carry out all actual building work. With this method, major projects have been built with some items completed on site before others have even been designed. More recent methods such as partnering and private finance initiative - PFI - seek to do away with the confrontational aspect of traditional contracts. The Latham and Egan reports on the building industry highlight this more constructive, non-confrontational approach. Some alternative methods are being seen as more appropriate to particular types of project and D&B has now stabilised at about 20% of the market.