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Focus on strategy implementation for increasing innovation in the infrastructure sector

Published: 4 June 2020

At the 27th of March, Anna-Therése Järvenpää presented and discussed her licentiate thesis within construction management and building technology. Malena Havenvid, Royal Institute of Technology, was the opponent.

Anna-Therése Järvenpää presented and discussed her licentiate thesis ”Managing change for increased innovation in the infrastructure sector – exploring a client’s strategy implementation”. In focus of the thesis is the implementation of two strategies to increase the innovation rate in the infrastructure sector in Sweden via the inter-organizational relationship between the client and the contractor.

“The Swedish Transport Administration, the client in this study, has a governmental directive to increase the innovation rate and has therefore decided to procure more design-build contracts and working for increasing the number of non-domestic contractors in the Swedish infrastructure sector. How the implementation was been perceived by both client and contractor representatives has been in focus”, says Anna-Therése Järvenpää, PhD student at Industrialized and sustainable construction at Luleå University of Technology.  

The increasing number of design-build contracts, instead of design-bid-build, has been more difficult to implement than just changing contract type. As stated in the thesis, the change has required more than just changing the wording of the contract, such as changing culture and creating new roles. One example of a new way of working is how the client controls and oversees the contractor’s execution of the project.

“The client has in some parts continued working as if it was a design-bid-build contract, where the client does the design, and this has affected the relationship between the client and the contractor” continues Anna-Therése Järvenpää.

The strategy to increase the number of non-domestic contractors has its aim in both increasing the capacity but also getting the knowledge of the in-house design teams at the contractors. The strategy has to some extent been successful, the number of non-domestic contractors has increased in Sweden. However, the new contractors have not been able to fully use their in-house design teams due to rules and regulations in Sweden.

“Even if the codes are the same in Sweden like the rest of Europe, there seems to be a difference in how they are applied. The client also uses a vast amount of regulations that are based on its collected knowledge over a long period that new contractors need to get familiar with. Communication has also had an impact in this, one example is that translating field-specific words could result in words that do not mean anything in Swedish, resulting in design-documents that needs to be corrected before they could be approved” says Anna-Therése Järvenpää.

For more info:

Anna-Therese Järvenpää

Anna-Therese Järvenpää, Official

Phone: +46 (0)920 492896
Organisation: Construction Management and Building Technology , VSS-UOFP, Professional Support