Comparative costs of the commercial process in different construction procurement methods
Hughes, W. P. (2003) Comparative costs of the commercial process in different construction procurement methods. In: Joint International Symposium of CIB Working Commissions (W55; W65; W107), Singapore.
The commercial process in construction projects is an expensive and highly variable overhead. Collaborative working practices carry many benefits, which are widely disseminated, but little information is available about their costs. Transaction Cost Economics is a theoretical framework that seeks explanations for why there are firms and how the boundaries of firms are defined through the “make-or-buy” decision. However, it is not a framework that offers explanations for the relative costs of procuring construction projects in different ways. The idea that different methods of procurement will have characteristically different costs is tested by way of a survey. The relevance of transaction cost economics to the study of commercial costs in procurement is doubtful. The survey shows that collaborative working methods cost neither more nor less than traditional methods. But the benefits of collaboration mean that there is a great deal of enthusiasm for collaboration rather than competition.