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Article

S. THOMAS NG, R. MARTIN SKITMORE and NIGEL J. SMITH

Contractor prequalification involves the establishment of a standard for measuring and assessing the capabilities of potential tenderers. The required standard is based on…

Abstract

Contractor prequalification involves the establishment of a standard for measuring and assessing the capabilities of potential tenderers. The required standard is based on a set of prequalification criteria (PQC) that is intended to reflect the objectives of the client and the requirements of the project. However, many pre‐qualifiers compile a set of PQC according to their own idiosyncratic perceptions of the importance of individual PQC. As a result, sets of PQC, and hence prequalification standards, vary between prequalifiers. This paper reports on an investigation of the nature of the divergencies of the perceived importance of individual PQC by different groups of prequalifiers via a large‐scale empirical survey conducted in the UK. The results support the conclusion that there are significant systematic differences between groups of prequalifiers, with the individual PQC that contribute most to the differences being the method of procurement, size of project, standard of quality, financial stability, project complexity, claim and contractual dispute and length of time in business.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

S. Thomas Ng, Swee Eng Chen, Denny McGeorge, Ka‐Chi Lam and Simon Evans

The fragmented and highly competitive nature of the construction industry (CI) limits efficiencies and inhibits communication. However, through the effective use of…

Abstract

The fragmented and highly competitive nature of the construction industry (CI) limits efficiencies and inhibits communication. However, through the effective use of information technology (IT), these communication barriers between clients, consultants, suppliers, subcontractors and contractors can be broken down. Public sector clients in Australia have proposed an IT implementation strategy with the aim of improving communication and increasing productivity in the CI. However, IT is relatively new to the industry and so are the problems associated with it especially for the small subcontractors. The aims of this paper are to examine the current usage of IT by Australian subcontractors, and to identify the potential problems for subcontractors in IT implementation. The results indicate that the uptake of email and the internet by subcontractors is at a low level and the awareness of IT training and education is very low. The indications are that Australian subcontractors are not yet ready for the implementation of even rudimentary IT technology.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article

Duc Thanh Luu, S. Thomas Ng and Swee Eng Chen

The lack of structured procedures, based on good information, for the selection of construction procurement system sometimes inhibits the opportunity for clients to choose…

Abstract

The lack of structured procedures, based on good information, for the selection of construction procurement system sometimes inhibits the opportunity for clients to choose a procurement option in a fully informed manner. The selection and use of an unsuitable procurement approach could eventually lead to project failure. To formalise the procurement selection procedures, clients should establish a set of appropriate procurement selection parameters (PSPs) based on their distinctive characteristics and objectives, project requirements, and external environment. In this paper, a list of 34 PSPs was drawn up according to the findings of researchers in procurement selection. An empirical study was carried out in Australia with clients and project managers to unveil the importance and interrelationships of the identified PSPs. The results indicate that the perception of clients and project managers on the importance of PSPs was generally consistent, that underlying relationships do exist among parameters, and there is a need for clients to ensure that the interrelated PSPs are not overlooked when assessing the suitability of construction procurement systems.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Yuan Fang and S. Thomas Ng

Precast construction has become increasingly popular in the construction industry. Nonetheless, the logistics of construction materials has been a neglected topic, and…

Abstract

Purpose

Precast construction has become increasingly popular in the construction industry. Nonetheless, the logistics of construction materials has been a neglected topic, and this neglect has resulted in delays and cost overruns. Careful planning that considers all of the factors affecting construction logistics can ensure project success. The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential for using genetic algorithms (GAs) to derive logistics plans for materials production, supply and consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed GA model is based on the logistics of precast components from the supplier’s production yard, to the intermediate warehouse and then to the construction site. Using an activity-based costing (ABC) approach, the model not only considers the project schedule, but also takes into account the production and delivery schedule and storage of materials.

Findings

The results show that GAs are suitable for solving time-cost trade-off problems. The optimization process helps to identify the activity start time during construction and the delivery frequency that will result in the minimal cost. What-if scenarios can be introduced to examine the effects of changes in construction logistics on project outcomes.

Originality/value

This paper presents a method for using GAs and an ABC approach to support construction logistics planning decisions. It will help construction planners and materials suppliers to establish material consumption and delivery schedules, rather than relying on subjective judgment.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

S. THOMAS NG, R. MARTIN SKITMORE and TULSIRAM SHARMA

The casual nature of employment in the construction industry makes planning human asset requirements a vague exercise. Human resource information systems (HRISs) offer a…

Abstract

The casual nature of employment in the construction industry makes planning human asset requirements a vague exercise. Human resource information systems (HRISs) offer a means of coping with these problems through improvements in the reliability, accuracy and accessibility of the human resources (HR) information. Aimed at improving the understanding of construction HRISs, interviews were carried out with three leading construction companies in Australia. The HR needs of the companies were examined by identifying the HR‐related functions and activities conducted, the internal and external users of HR information, the type of data needed, and the specific purpose of those data. Twenty‐three HR activities were identified and grouped into seven major functions: project management and control, strategic planning, review and analysis, employee profile, employee performance, HR development, payroll and accounting support, and information systems outside the company. The HR information for each function was established. The findings of this study may facilitate the development of a HRIS for construction companies.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

K.C. LAM, S. THOMAS NG, TIESONG HU, MARTIN SKITMORE and S.O. CHEUNG

The selection criteria for contractor pre‐qualification are characterized by the co‐existence of both quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative data is…

Abstract

The selection criteria for contractor pre‐qualification are characterized by the co‐existence of both quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative data is non‐linear, uncertain and imprecise. An ideal decision support system for contractor pre‐qualification should have the ability of handling both quantitative and qualitative data, and of mapping the complicated non‐linear relationship of the selection criteria, such that rational and consistent decisions can be made. In this research paper, an artificial neural network model was developed to assist public clients identifying suitable contractors for tendering. The pre‐qualification criteria (variables) were identified for the model. One hundred and twelve real pre‐qualification cases were collected from civil engineering projects in Hong Kong, and 88 hypothetical pre‐qualification cases were also generated according to the ‘If‐then’ rules used by professionals in the pre‐qualification process. The results of the analysis totally comply with current practice (public developers in Hong Kong). Each pre‐qualification case consisted of input ratings for candidate contractors' attributes and their corresponding pre‐qualification decisions. The training of the neural network model was accomplished by using the developed program, in which a conjugate gradient descent algorithm was incorporated for improving the learning performance of the network. Cross‐validation was applied to estimate the generalization errors based on the ‘re‐sampling’ of training pairs. The case studies show that the artificial neural network model is suitable for mapping the complicated non‐linear relationship between contractors' attributes and their corresponding pre‐qualification (disqualification) decisions. The artificial neural network model can be concluded as an ideal alternative for performing the contractor pre‐qualification task.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article

Yuan Fang and S. Thomas Ng

Construction materials take up a significant proportion of the total construction cost. Without careful planning and controlling on the flow of construction materials, it…

Abstract

Purpose

Construction materials take up a significant proportion of the total construction cost. Without careful planning and controlling on the flow of construction materials, it is possible that the cost of materials may increase unnecessarily. In view of that, this paper aims to examine whether the development of logistics cost analysis can help determine suitable logistics strategies for a project which involves the use of bulky components like precast concrete units.

Design/methodology/approach

The cost elements incurred during the logistics process of precast components from the supplier's yard to the construction site are first identified through the activity‐based costing (ABC) approach. Under each element, the resources necessary to fulfil the specific element are analysed. By representing those cost components through the cost functions, simulations can be carried out to determine the logistics cost under different logistic scenarios.

Findings

Through the ABC approach, the resources consumed can be traced back to the consuming activity and subsequently to a particular cost element. More importantly, the results indicate that the simulation model can identify a logistics option which would result in the lowest logistics cost without affecting the construction schedule.

Originality/value

This paper should help increase understanding of managers and planners on construction logistics activities and their related costs so as to increase their bid competitiveness and/or improve the chance of success at the construction stage by minimising the construction logistics cost.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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Abstract

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Construction Innovation, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Abstract

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

Content available

Abstract

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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