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The researcher's perspective on procuring public works projects

Esther Cheung (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Albert P.C. Chan (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Stephen Kajewski (School of Urban Development, Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 30 August 2010



As part of a comprehensive research study looking at implementing public private partnerships (PPPs), interviews with experienced researchers were conducted with the aim of realizing their views on private sector involvement in public works projects.


Amongst these interviews, five were launched with academics from Hong Kong and Australia, and two were conducted with legislative councillors of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region Government.


Findings show that Hong Kong and Australian interviewees had previously conducted some kind of research in the field of PPP. “Different risk profiles” and “private sector more innovative/efficient” were highlighted as the main differences between projects that were procured by PPP and traditionally. Other differences include risk transfer. In a PPP arrangement the public sector passes on a substantial amount of the project risks to the private sector, whereas in a traditional case the public sector would take the largest responsibility in bearing these risks. Another common feature of the private sector is that it tends to be more efficient and innovative when compared to the public sector; hence its expertise is often reflected in PPP projects. It was agreed that the key performance indicators for PPP projects were unique to individual projects. The critical success factors mentioned by both groups included “transparent process”, “project dependent” and “market need”. Because PPP projects tend to be large‐scaled costly projects, adequate transparency in the process is necessary in order to demonstrate that a fair selection and tendering process is conducted. A market need for the project is also important to ensure that the project will be financially secure and that the private sector can make a reasonable profit to cover their project expenditure.


The findings from this paper have enabled a comparative analysis between the views of researchers in two completely different jurisdictions. With the growing popularity to implement PPP projects, it is believed that the results presented in this paper would be of interest to the industry at large.



Cheung, E., Chan, A.P.C. and Kajewski, S. (2010), "The researcher's perspective on procuring public works projects", Structural Survey, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 300-313.



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