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A conceptual model of subcontractor development practices for LEED projects

Andrea Nana Ofori-Boadu (Department of Built Environment, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)
De-Graft Owusu-Manu (Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
David John Edwards (School of Engineering and Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
Fafanyo Asiseh (Department of Economics, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 20 August 2020

Issue publication date: 28 April 2021




This paper presents a conceptual model of effective subcontractor development practices to guide general contractors' development of a network of high-performing subcontractors (SCs) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects.


Drawing from supplier development theories and practices in the manufacturing sector, a mixed interpretivist and empirical methodology is adopted to examine the body of knowledge within literature for conceptual model development. A self-reporting survey questionnaire with a five-point Likert scale is used to assess 30 construction professionals' perceptions of the effectiveness of 37 SC development practices classified into five categories. Descriptive statistics, weighted means, and t-tests are used for data analysis.


SC prequalification, commitment, incentives, evaluation and feedback practices can be effective in generating high-performing SCs. Practices that require more direct involvement and linkages between GC and SC are perceived to be less effective.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretical contributions include a framework to foster future research to advance knowledge and understanding to enhance the adoption of SC development practices in the construction sector.

Practical implications

Implementation of ranked SC development practices can equip GCs with a network of high-performing SCs for improved competitive advantage and revenues.


The proposed conceptual model expands discussions on the modification of supplier development theories and practices currently utilized in the manufacturing sector toward their application in the construction sector. This research differs from previous research, which primarily focused on the manufacturing sector.



This material is based upon work supported by Mr. Lee Addo, President of Sterling Construction Services (SCS) and Ms. Caroline Carpenter, the President of East Coast Construction Services and Executive Member of the Piedmont Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).


Ofori-Boadu, A.N., Owusu-Manu, D.-G., Edwards, D.J. and Asiseh, F. (2021), "A conceptual model of subcontractor development practices for LEED projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 1196-1213.



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