McCaffer, R. (2004), "Editorial", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 11 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ecam.2004.28611caa.001Download as .RIS
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This issue again sees a collection of papers from the international community. This time the tone of the issue is set by Hong Kong researchers who have two papers both on the selection of consultants. One paper deals with pre-selection and other deals with the workings of the “two envelope” selection method. It is intriguing that Hong Kong sees these as bigger issues than other research communities. Other papers range from the issues of strategic and total quality management to the more technical issues of the case of down time and planning linear projects.
The six papers took 14 authors to produce. Four papers having two authors and two papers having three authors. Two papers were multi-country, multi-institutions, which continues a trend I think is still growing. Five authors are from Hong Kong, three authors are from Singapore, two from Australia and two from Greece with one each from USA and UK. The Pacific Rim is well represented. The papers in this issue are the following.
Ng and Chow address the pre-selection of consultants by clients to generate a list of capable consultants who should receive an invitation to submit a technical and fee proposal. The authors' aim to produce a more objective framework, and base their work on surveys carried out in Hong Kong with clients and consultants. This is a useful and timely piece of work. Timely in that the criticism is emerging that it is the various consultancy services that are currently slowing the evolution of the industry and not any longer the construction companies.
Drew, Tang and Lui also address consultant commissions through the two envelope system covering fees and technical proposals. They address the issue as to what extent the “fee” dominates because fees vary more than the assessment of the technical proposals. The result is that consultants with lower technical scores win competitions. The authors wish to put this right by balancing fees and technical scores.
This is an interesting area because after a period of time the technical proposals from consultants merge to common practice as the community learns how to present their case. Taken together with the first paper one could presume that the problem of consultant selection was greater in Hong Kong than elsewhere.
Cheah and Garvin remind us that corporate success is usually based on a good corporate strategy and provide us with their conceptual model for corporate strategy. This model is based on four decades of developing strategic management research and a study of 24 international firms.
One of the main features of the model is the boundary interaction between the firm's internal setting and the external environment. The model is designed to enhance the strategic outlook of the firm.
Love, Edwards and Sohal studied the TQM practices of eight Australian contracting organisations. Their research tool was the Australian Government's National Industry Extension Scheme's “how to” model. The authors report their findings on case studies. This adds to the growing mountain of information on how TQM is, at varying rates, pervading the global industry.
Nepal and Park argue that downtime of construction equipment has a serious impact on the performance of construction projects and that the causes and consequences of downtime are not well recorded or understood, particularly in a developing country context. The authors have developed a model to identify the factors that cause downtime and their impact. The data collection has been based on nine road projects in Nepal. From these data the authors' hope to stimulate a proactive management approach to plant management.
Kallantzis and Lambropoulos return us to the technical issues of planning and scheduling. They propose a method for determining the critical path in linear projects, in their case low-pressure pipeline construction projects.