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Alternative methods for choosing an appropriate project delivery system (PDS)

William Ibbs (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA)
Ying‐Yi Chih (School of Management, Marketing and International Business, College of Business and Economics, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




Recent literature has proposed many theoretical methods to help decision makers choose an appropriate project delivery system (PDS) in a rational manner. None of these articles however systematically compare and systematize the available PDS selection methods and guide decision makers in choosing a method that best meets their PDS decision‐making circumstances. This paper aims to bridge this gap.


Four groups of PDS selection methods, namely, guidance (e.g. decision charts and guidelines), multi‐attribute analysis (e.g. multi‐attribute utility theory and analytical hierarchical process), knowledge‐ and experience‐based (e.g. case‐based reasoning), and mix‐method approaches are reviewed, compared and systematized.


The discussed methods vary in their underlying concepts, complexities of implementation and levels of required information. They also differ in the ways how decision makers' preferences are elucidated, expressed and measured. A conceptual framework is proposed to help decision makers match a PDS selection method with their decision‐making circumstances.

Practical implications

The paper highlights limitations of the discussed methods, and presents areas for future research.


This paper helps decision makers develop a fundamental understanding of the available PDS selection methods, and match a PDS selection method with their unique decision‐making circumstances. Using a suitable method will improve the decision‐making efficiency.



Ibbs, W. and Chih, Y. (2011), "Alternative methods for choosing an appropriate project delivery system (PDS)", Facilities, Vol. 29 No. 13/14, pp. 527-541.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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