The role of the client

Authored by: Steve Rowlinson , Derek H. T. Walker

Routledge Handbook of Integrated Project Delivery

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138736689
eBook ISBN: 9781315185774
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter aims to present a client-based critique and client perspective on procurement systems and IPD. We develop the notion of IPD as a disruptive process innovation that focuses on information-based project and facility delivery. This notion is underpinned by the work of Winch and Leiringer (2016) on client capabilities and Söderlund (Söderlund and Tell, 2011) with the notion of the P-form company. However, our view of IPD would be quickly out of date if we talked solely about current issues. Hence, we go back to basic principles and systems rather than dwelling on new technologies and current innovations; these are dealt with in Chapter 16. To reinforce this view we start by presenting a historical, conventional view of the client and how the client goes about procuring construction projects. This view is shown to be one that is based in a long history of traditional professional values and approaches and, until recently, has changed little. A number of seminal reports (as well as contemporary ones) are referred to in this discussion and these are used to reflect the slow pace of change within the industry. We introduce the argument that much of the historical research and practice on procurement systems has been structure- and process-driven, based on professional silos and sequential structuring of inputs, and has not focused on a collaborative project process of reciprocal information exchange. The advances in information communication technology (ICT) have served to highlight this crucial weakness and facilitate the disruptive process innovation (see Chapter 16).

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