Keywords: road infrastructure, design space, design process, contract arrangements, strategic behaviour, critical infrastructures, next generation infrastructures, maintenance, contracting
Innovative contracting in infrastructure design and maintenance
This paper describes the results of research into the contract arrangements and design processes for contractors in the road infrastructure industry. The changing institutional environment has led the industry to believe that more opportunities can be realised to the benefit of society (lower cost, higher quality, more efficient design and design process) when contractors are allowed more 'design freedom' in their contracts with governments. We have explored the technical design space, and developed a framework to structure this space. Next, we identified, through many indepth interviews and case studies, a number of technical, organisational and institutional opportunities, threats and barriers for granting more design space. Finally, the paper discusses the conclusions that could be drawn from the mapping of the opportunities onto the bottlenecks, and it shows that much can indeed be gained, but that many of these opportunities for cost reduction or value improvement are hampered by large, inert institutional settings.