The construction industry in the United Kingdom is a multi-billion pound business
that contributes, on average 10% of the UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, it is seen by many to be underachieving in terms of service delivery and
investment opportunities. Projects are frequently late and over budget much to the
disappointment of those involved in the industry and especially clients. Many
investigations have been commissioned and resulting reports have suggested
improvements in the way the industry is organised.
Procurement of construction projects in the main are undertaken using methods
that support fragmentation and adversarial relationships. However, with the
introduction of partnering and prime contracting some improvements have been
made. Procurement of a construction project begins with the strategies developed
during briefing and is only complete when the facility is handed over to the client,
some contract strategies allow for the facility to be completed once it is in
operation, has been maintained and eventually is demolished. Costings and
programmes are then related to life-cycle issues and aspects such as maintenance
have to be taken into account during the facility development stages.
The adoption of Concurrent Engineering (CE) is seen to offer the construction
industry a way forward. Having been adopted extensively by manufacturing in its
product development stages a similar adoption by the construction industry would
go some way to achieving the 30% improvement in real terms suggested by
Latham  and Egan .
The research described in the thesis aims to develop a new procurement method
for the delivery of construction projects. The approach adopted was to identify
current methods of procurement and the problems associated with each method.
Then using Concurrent Engineering as a basis, a new procurement model was developed that offered potential improvements in the construction process
between the stages of Clients Briefing and Detailed Design. The resulting model
was evaluated through the application of CE principles into the process and by the
presentation and discussion of the method with a number of industry participants,
followed by the completion and assessment of a questionnaire.
The model was shown to fulfil the principles of CE and could be adopted into
construction. It offers a new approach to procurement which in turn would save
costs and time and potentially improve the quality of the final construction
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.