Designing appropriate contracts for achieving efficient winter road and railway maintenance with high performance quality: A survey of the state of practice in Sweden

Adel Abdi (Department of Transport Science, Royal Institute of Technology – KTH, Stockholm, Sweden)
Hans Lind (Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, Royal Institute of Technology – KTH, Stockholm, Sweden)
Björn Birgisson (Department of Transport Science, Royal Institute of Technology - KTH, Stockholm, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Publication date: 17 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

For a long time, the winter maintenance of the Swedish road and railway network had been performed in-house by Swedish Transport Administration, Swedish local authorities i.e. municipalities and Stockholm public transport. During the last 15 years the winter operation and maintenance of these state infrastructures have been performed by public procurement and contracting from independent contractors, where in practice the lowest price is the dominating selection criteria. The aim of this paper is to investigate and identify how these contracts are designed and how satisfied the parties are with the contract and the quality of the performed work during the winter and point our directions for improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted by a literature review and followed by semi-structured interviews and electronic questionnaire.

Findings

The results of the study which are based on the interviews and the online questionnaire show that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the contracts among both clients and contractors.

Practical implications

The article prepares a basis showing how a contract affects the quality of the performed winter road and railway maintenance services.

Originality/value

The findings lead to a number of suggestions about how to improve the contracts, e.g. having a separate winter maintenance contract to increase the quality of performed winter maintenance measures, a more partnering-like structure where consultations and adjustment can be made during the contract period. A partnering structure also makes it less important to get all the details right in the contract.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Swedish Transport Administration which has financially supported this study. The authors would also like to thank most sincerely all the contractors and clients who participated in this investigation and contributed with their knowledge and experience by responding the questionnaire and by taking part in the interviews.

Citation

Abdi, A., Lind, H. and Birgisson, B. (2014), "Designing appropriate contracts for achieving efficient winter road and railway maintenance with high performance quality: A survey of the state of practice in Sweden", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 399-415. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-06-2014-0033

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.