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Critical contractual issues of outsourced operation and maintenance service for commercial buildings

Joseph H.K. Lai (Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China)
Francis W.H. Yik (Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China)
Phil Jones (Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Article publication date: 1 August 2006

Abstract

Purpose

Building operation and maintenance (O&M) service, which embraces a wide range of specialist trades, has been increasingly outsourced through discrete contracts. This paper aims to study the issues critical to outsourced O&M contracts for commercial buildings.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a transaction cost approach to analyse the findings from face‐to‐face interviews with 22 O&M practitioners in Hong Kong.

Findings

The analysis revealed that they practitioners generally had limited understanding about the concepts of contract. Lacking a standard form for O&M contracts, some contracts were formed rather loosely and irregularities in contract conditions are common. Disputes frequently arise from the scope of work although the practitioners considered well defined work scope is paramount to a successful contract.

Research limitations/implications

Besides the need to study how to improve practitioners' knowledge about O&M service contracts, further studies are required to investigate which or which combination of the contract concepts would be suitable for particular types of O&M contracts where their scale and complexity are dependent on the trade of work required to serve the building.

Originality/value

This paper uncovers a number of contractual issues that are critical to the performance of outsourced O&M service for commercial buildings.

Keywords

Citation

Lai, J.H.K., Yik, F.W.H. and Jones, P. (2006), "Critical contractual issues of outsourced operation and maintenance service for commercial buildings", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 320-343. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564230610680640

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited