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Photo: Åsa Svedjeholm, LTU
From left: Researchers Kajsa Simu and Helena Lidelöw shows how delays in major construction projects can be prevented with new procurement models. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Fewer delayed construction projects when vendors collaborate

Published: 28 December 2016

New ways to procure major construction projects helps construction companies to reduce lead time by 30-40 percent.

Scientists Kajsa Simu and Helena Lidelöw studying 10 of Sweden's largest construction companies and how they make decisions about how construction projects are implemented.

700,000 new homes needed by 2025 to address the housing shortage prevailing in Sweden. To take better control over the construction process, in order to prevent large and costly delays, is in focus for Kajsa Simus and Helena Lidelöws study of 10 of the largest Swedish construction companies.

- Seeing the big picture, that is how the strategy of top management in industrial construction companies can be put at the intermediate level, the so-called tactical level, so that all the different suppliers work together can  reduce lead times significantly, says Kajsa Simu. Our studies show that construction companies who  begin to acknowledge the flow of their construction projects, also sees a huge waste of resources linked to delays and practices which were not taken into account the big picture.

With new ways to procure suppliers, where the construction company - based on the company's overall strategy -control the conditions of the many companies that supplies electricity, heat, water, various construction elements, etc., and force them to commit themselves to cooperate in the construction process, is a way to prevent delays and clashers between vendors.

Today each one of the suppliers optimizes their own delivery and takes no responsibility for what happens for the supplier to enter the project after them in the production chain.

- What we are calling for, and which can be controlled through the contract, is that all the different suppliers undertake to have a dialogue and to work together to streamline the flow of the construction process. To adapt to new working methods requires courage from management but the companies that made this report about big profits. The requirement for the construction of 700,000 new homes, along with government subsidies linked to this, unfortunately contributes to construction companies  not beeing motivated to change how they implement major construction projects right now, the researchers say.