A new breed of contracts for faster subway and road construction projects
04 / 2012 - 04 / 2015
Conflicten zijn een belangrijke oorzaak voor kostenoverschrijding en vertraging van infrastructuurprojecten. De sleutel voor succesvolle realisatie is een effectievere samenwerking tussen contractpartijen. De onderzoeker analyseert hoe contracten te ontwerpen die samenwerking beter ondersteunen dan de huidige generatie contracten.
Public-private infrastructure projects, such as the Noord-Zuidlijn or the HSL, are at the center of public attention. This is for good reason since the impact of these projects is enormous in terms of cost and nuisance. Despite many attempts to improve project performance the majority still experience significant delays and overrunning budgets. An important reason for the above is that unexpected events during the construction process trigger a cycle of conflict. During the construction, unforeseen damage to the project or property of third parties may arise; leading to arguments about who should be held financially responsible for such damage. There is frequent conflict between the purchaser of the work and the main contractor. The latter produces a severe deterioration in their relationship that frustrates a prompt and adequate response to setbacks. This sets off a cycle where increasing costs and delay lead to further conflict. Theoretically, contracts are tools that should be of help when such problems occur. However, practice proves that in the event of unforeseen circumstances, contracts frequently become a source of conflict in itself by aggravating the relationship between purchaser and main contractor. Even those contracts purporting to provide incentives for a trustful relationship simply fail to provide a stabile basis for cooperation. The objective of my study is to design a new breed of contract that provides the kind of guidance that may actually keep projects on track when problems occur. First, I will investigate the effect current contracts have on cooperation and propose steps for drafting a new generation of contracts that maintain cooperation in times of trouble. For this purpose, I will use a multidisciplinary research approach, drawing upon relevant social psychological, economic and legal scholarship. I will build upon my earlier research into the problems of infrastructure projects and factors influencing their success.