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Partnering made its appearance in the construction industry in the late 1980s and since then has emerged into a fundamental mainstream management strategy for reducing traditional adversarial relationship and improving project performance. Basically, partnering has been known as a non-adversarial approach to procurement in the construction project in the industry. Partnering in construction if implemented successfully can bring direct benefits to both clients and contractors. It is an effective tool for problem resolution and dispute avoidance in a industry where disagreements and conflicts are unavoidable. Partnering was first adopted in the UK following the publication of the Latham report. Since then, several developing countries have adopted partnering as a procurement route.
This dissertation seeks to investigate whether partnering can be achievable in the Mauritian Construction Industry. In today's date where partnering is no longer a new concept in world and every country is implementing it in their procurement system, what is its need in the Mauritian Construction industry? There are also several barriers to partnering in Mauritius which are discussed in this dissertation.
For this purpose data was collected through the Mauritian Construction Industry using questionnaires. The data obtained were analysed using frequency and likert-scale analysis. According to the research, the adversarial relationship between the client and the contractor is making the need for partnering more urgent. Partnering is achievable in the Mauritian construction industry if the barriers are successfully overcome. Partnering, if properly implemented, can provide a workable solution for enhancing the overall performance of the Mauritian construction industry.
Since development has started, construction industry plays an imminent role in the progress of a country. Construction cannot depend on only one person to achieve its outcome but it depends on many people from a number of diverse disciples who work together as a team to produce the desirable outcome. With the increasing complexity of the construction process, a multidisciplinary team has become an integral part in the development projects from inception to completion (Wong, 2005).
In the 1990, two major reports funded by the British Government by Egan sir John and Latham M. have provided a scope to improve the relationship between all the parties involved in the construction procurement. Both the reports talked about partnering as the major factor in achieving this improvement.
Over the years, partnering has emerged as an innovative approach to procurement of construction services in the industry. It reduces the risk of cost overruns and delays as a result of better time and cost control over the project. It increases the opportunity for innovation due to open communications and the existence of trust among project parties. It provides the basis for project participants to orientate themselves towards a win-win approach to problem solving and fosters synergistic teamwork among them (Black et al, 2000).
Partnering process establishes working relationships among parties through a mutually agreed objectives and goals, inter-organisational trust, mechanism for problem resolution and continuous improvement related to benchmarking process (Naoum, 2002). Thus partnering can be advantageous to the projects and the construction industry if all parties involved in the project work hard for its success.
It is believed that Partnering approach to procurement of construction projects can pave the way to improve the relationship of all parties and members of the project which seemed to be an impossible task traditionally with the parties all having in mind their own interests. This is will lead to better project outcomes for both clients and contractors and providing a 'win-win' solution for all the parties contractually bonded to the contract. This dissertation highlights the success factors of partnering and whether it can be a significant tool in the enhancement of the performance in the Mauritian construction industry and the barriers in its implementation.
1.2 Problem statement
Traditionally, the construction team comprised of the designer, contractors and suppliers who were bound to each by a contract. The competitiveness and the high risk in the business have made the relationship between the participants adversarial. The cooperativeness between the parties is on the verge of disappearance. Every party of the contract give more importance to their own objectives at the expense of the overall project. (Bennett and Peace, 2006)
For too long, the construction industry has been divided by factionalism and conflict, which has contributed to poor performance, dangerously low profit margins and poor morale among consultants, constructors and suppliers (Construction Industry Council, 2000). It is therefore high time for each member in the construction industry to work as an effective team as each person are interrelated to each other and in turn they affect each other works. This will help to achieve a shared or common goal.
However despite the numerous benefits of partnering, its success implementation requires hard work. Changing the mentality and old habits of the players in the construction industry and building trust is not easy. Partnering is not the solver of all the problems in the construction industry, it is just a technique and its success depends on people who want to implement it (Wong, 2005).
1.3 Previous similar studies
A search of the secondary data found that hundreds of literatures have been written about partnering. Some of the studies that found related to my area of study are as follows:
First, Patrick Wong Siu Yue- a student in master's program Interdisciplinary Design and Management at the University of Hong Kong in 2005 did his thesis under the topic "Partnering in the Hong Kong Construction Industry" an exploration into the challenges and opportunities. He did an empirical research aiming at exploring the oppurtunities for partnering in the Hong Kong construction industry and he highlighted the critical issues of partnering for possible implementation in future construction projects.
Second, Koksal Eren- a student in Master's program in Civil Engineering at the Middle East Technical University in 2007 did his thesis under the topic "Critical success factors for partnering in the Turkish Construction Industry". The aim of his thesis was the identification of factors that affect the partner selection process of the Turkish contractors as well as the critical success factors that are found important by the Turkish contractors. For this purpose he conducted interviews with experts and a questionnaire was designed to collect necessary statistical data regarding the critical success factors.
Third, Awodele Oluwaseyi- a student in undergraduate program in Quantity Surveying at the Federal University of technology in Nigeria in 2010 did his dissertation under the topic " an assessment of success factors and benefits of project partnering in Nigerian Construction Industry. The study assessed and distinguished the various potential factors contributing to project partnering success and analysed the benefits that can be accrued from its efficient practice in Nigerian Construction Industry.
Fourth, Johan Nystrom- a student in PhD program in Real Estate Economics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden in 2007. This thesis made contributions to three areas of partnering research: the definition of partnering, the theory behind partnering and how to evaluate the effects of the concept. It also comprised of an empirical study of the attitudes towards partnering in the Swedish construction industry.
1.4 Aim of research
To investigate whether partnering can be a significant tool in the enhancement of the performance in the Mauritian construction industry and the barriers in the implementation of partnering.
The objectives of the research are to explore the following:
Study the need of partnering implementation in Mauritius.
Identify the barriers of partnering in the Mauritian Construction industry
Investigate whether partnering within the Mauritian Construction industry is achievable
1.6 Scope/Limitation of research
The main focus of my thesis will be partnering between contractor and client.
The investigation will be only within the Mauritian Construction Industry.
More emphasis will be placed on project partnering
1.7 Research Design and Approach
1.8 Structure of the dissertation
This dissertation consists of five chapters. The first chapter is general introduction to the research. It consists of an introductory background on partnering and the chapter outlines the aim, objectives, problems and limitations of the research.
Chapter 2 reviews the literature of partnering on the definition, benefits and problems and the success factors.
Chapter 3 reports the research methodology of the study.
Chapter 4 presents the statistical analysis results, research findings of the questionnaire that have been reported in detail by tables and charts.
Chapter 5 gives a summary of findings in the research and it gives a conclusion and recommendations for future research.
The construction industry in Mauritius is a competitive high risk business as Mauritius is working hard to emerge as a developing country. Every day, new hotels, residential and commercial buildings are being constructed due to the increasing demands and improving standard of Mauritians. Since the Tourism Industry is one of the fundamental industries in Mauritius, building of new hotels and bungalows are increasingly in demand. Although Mauritius is a small island with a population of about 1.3 million, the number of construction companies has been increasing in the recent years including many small companies.
Due to globalization, the world has been witnessing high competition and absolute increase in risk levels, in every sector including the construction industry. It is being faced with many problems such as little cooperation, little trust and ineffective communication resulting in an adversarial relationship among the project parties. Consequently, such an adversarial relationship have resulted in project delays, difficulties in resolving claims, cost overruns, litigation and win-lose climate (Moore et al, 1992). Even the Mauritian construction industry has been going through these changes in the recent years. This kind of relationship has made the need of a non-adversarial approach more urgent.
The UK Government has attempted since the Latham Report was published in 1994 to change the rules of the construction industry and make it less conflicted. The successful management method that provides innovative solutions and acts as a problem resolution mechanism and dispute avoidance mechanism is partnering.
In the Mauritian construction industry, it is a common belief among the clients and contractors are just looking for means to cut corners so that costs is minimised and to search for design flaws so that the contractors are able to present claims. Therefore, in the end to generate profit. The contractor's belief is that the clients want them to deal with any unexpected situations or shortcoming in the design at their own cost. They believe that the clients leave the specification vague to compel the contractor to do things that were not anticipated in the tender.
In today's date, partnering has gained much popularity as a project management tool to solve problems. Partnering therefore provides an environment of trust, open communication and employee's involvement (Sanders and Moore, 1992). Partnering projects are growing rapidly around the globe due to its benefits with which it is associated with such as lower process for clients, higher profits for consultants, contractors and specialists, faster completions, greater certainty and zero defects. Partnering can reduce costs by 30% and time by 40% (Bennett and Peace, 2006).
The main focus of my dissertation is whether partnering can be achieved in Mauritius and how it can be an enhancement tool in the Mauritian construction industry.
2.2 Definition of partnering
Partnering is a difficult concept to define. Partnering definition has been in discussion by many research papers and studies in the past. There is no fixed definition used when defining partnering although common themes or elements prevail (Moore et al., 1992). Partnering can be defined in one of the two ways. Firstly, by its element such as trust, shared vision, and long term commitment, and secondly by its process, whereby partnering is seen as a verb and includes developing mission statements, agreeing goals and conducting workshops (Crowley and Karim, 1995).
Partnering is defined by Construction Industry Institute (CII, 1991) as:
"A long-term commitment between two or more organisation for the purpose of achieving specific business objectives by maximising the effectiveness of each participant's resources. This requires changing traditional relationships to develop a shared culture without regard to organisational boundaries. The relationship is based on trust, dedication to common goals, and an understanding of each other's individual expectations and values."
The Construction Industry Board (CIB) in the UK defined partnering as:
"A structured management approach to facilitate team working across contractual boundaries. It should not be confused with the other good project management practice, or with long standing relationships, negotiated contracts, or preferred supplier arrangements, all of which lack the structure and objective measures that must support a partnering relationship."(CIB,1997)
Even though there is variety of partnering definition, the defining features of partnering are basically similar. They may be listed as mutually agreed objectives and goals, inter-organisational trust, mechanism for problem resolution and continuous improvement related to benchmarking process (Naoum, 2002).
Another definition of partnering put forward by Bennett and Jayes (1995) is as follows:
"A managerial approach used by two or more organisations to achieve specific business objectives by maximising the effectiveness of each other's resources. The approach is based on mutual objectives, an agreed method of problem resolution and an active search for continued measurable improvement."
In the 1990, two major reports funded by the British Government by Egan Sir John and Latham M. had provided a scope to improve the relationship between all the parties involved in the construction procurement. Both the reports talked about partnering as the major factor in achieving this improvement. The Latham report discussed that that partnering can bring significant benefits by improving quality and timeliness of completion whilst reducing costs.
In short, partnering is basically relations formed at a particular time in order to meet the expectations of all the parties in a contract.
It is fundamental to define partnering as it provides the basis of explanation for partnering as well as an idea for a basic understanding to several construction players in introducing and implementing partnering concept in the Mauritian Construction Industry.
2.3 Types of Partnering
Partnering is perceived based on the term of the project. It can be long term alliances that continue across a series of project opportunities. On the other hand it can be objective driven, tactical and short term in approach that is created for a single project. In construction industry, the much talked types of partnering are Project Partnering and Strategic Partnering.
These two approaches are not mutually exclusive. An arrangement which starts as a project specific partnering relationship may develop into a longer term arrangement. On the contrary, a long term strategic partnering relationship may provide the framework for a series of project specific partnering arrangements (Mustaffa, 2009).
Project partnering is a set of actions that helps project teams enhance their performance. It involves initial costs and provides substantial benefits. It is not a fixed way of working; it develops as project teams cooperate in finding the most effective ways of achieving agreed objectives. ( Bennett and Peace, 2006).
Project partnering provides a narrower range of cooperative arrangements between organisations for the duration of a specific project. It can involve the whole construction project where the relationship is established during the whole construction process from conceptualisation stage to completion stage. It can involve the design stage only, covering only the early planning stages of a project. Thirdly, it can involve the collaborative arrangement at the conceptualisation stage, where the parties work together to create a proposal or design (Barlow et al, 1997). The basis of partnering selection is competition or negotiation. It can be used for all projects and it works best for projects of high value (International Journal for Construction Marketing, 2002).
Strategic partnering provide a broader range of strategic cooperative relationships between organisations or different departments in the same organisation, involving highly structured agreements providing high level of cooperation between the partners ( Barlow et al, 1997). The basis for partnering selection is by competition or negotiation. It can be used in good business case, part of medium- long term strategy (International Journal for Construction Marketing, 2002).
Therefore, strategic partnering deals with a relationship between parties that extends beyond a specific project resulting in a long-term relationship, while project partnering brings parties together for a specific project. In this dissertation the focus will be on project partnering, although project partnering can result in or be part of a broader strategic partnering relationship.
2.4 Partnering process
Partnering is set up through a structured, simplified process, consisting of planned workshop to bring the participants together. The process is intended to provide an environment for initiating the cooperative attitude and commitment needed to motivate the partnership.
A generic six stage implementation model was proposed in 1999 by Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in the collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry which are described as:
Identification of which markets and products/services
Sell the idea
Establish what you want from the partnership
Make the partnership work
Refinement and development of the partnering relationship
According to Moore et al (1992), the suggested steps required to be taken are early start of a partnering arrangement, commitment from top management, selection of partnering team, identification of a champion from each organisation and facilitator selection. There should always be a follow up process arranged to evaluate current project issues and to go through plans in view of the present project status.
The summary of the partnering process as summarized and adapted by Chan et al (2006) from the Latham Report (1994) is as in the figure 1.0 below.
Partnering processFigure 1.0: Project partnering process as in Chan et al (2006) adapted from Latham's (1994) report
2.5 Characteristics of partnering
The most fundamental factor in starting a partnering relationship is commitment from senior management (Mohr and Spekman, 1994). The commitment must be noticeable, supportive, ongoing and subtle to organization change (CII, 1996; Bresnan and Marshall, 2000). Although the mutually developed partnering charter is not a contract, the whole community should be aware of the partnering when the commitment is made (Hellard, 1996). Thus, the active involvement of all parties of the contract and continuous communication helps to strengthen the organisation.
Equity deals mainly in creating and developing mutual goals. All the stakeholders' interests should be considered equally when creating project goals, thus promoting a successfully completed project based on equity and win-win philosophy by satisfying each stakeholder's requirement (Hellard, 1996). It reveals a sense of proportionality and balance transcending equality (CII, 1996).
Partnering depends on work teams being able to trust that planned task will be carried out properly. Trust is often described as an indispensable feature of partnering (Bennett and Peace, 2006). Trust exists in five levels; (1) the individual, (2) the firm, (3) the building project, (4) the building industry and professions and (5) the community and society as a whole. However, individual trust is the central in the process of building trust (Powell, 1993). Teamwork cannot be achieved where there is distrust about partner's motives. Once each shareholder understands each other's risks and goals, mutual trust will be developed and therefore this will lead to cooperation (Hellard, 1996). Trust is important for two main reasons. Firstly, because the relationship is long-term and each party has to make a commitment based on integrity and dependability. Secondly, clients have to disclose information concerning future plans early on in the conceptual phase (NEDO, 1991). Therefore trust in partnering can only be built up if the stakeholders' actions are dependable and predictable and their communications are open and honest as trust cannot be bought or sold but it can only earned by mutual endeavour.
2.5.4 Goals and objectives
Despite the traditional conflict between parties within construction, many companies or individuals share satisfactory common goals to form more collaborative relationships. The typical contractor/ owner relationship was characterised by win-lose strategies and mistrust. These approaches restricted management through conflict in solving problems and maintains an arm's length relationship with two project teams with conflicting objectives. Although this essential conflict existed, the owner and the contractor share sufficient common goals to form a closer working relationship (Cowan et al, 1992). It is difficult to find mutual objectives given the great variety of organisations that are needed to design manufacture and construct a modern building or engineered facility. If the project teams are brought together to discuss their individual interests they can find mutual objectives (Reading Construction Forum, 1995). The primary advantage of partnering was that it recognises and honours the objectives of all parties thereby creating a synergy for project success (Moore et al, 1992). Partnering approach to managing construction relationships highlighted the establishment of common goals ad utilises the concept of group dynamics to achieve these goals (Sanders and Moore, 1992). The most fundamental requirement of partnering is an agreement on mutual objectives. The aim is to identify objectives that firmly established, for everyone involved, their own best interests that will be served by concentrating on the overall success of the project (Reading Construction Forum, 1995). Examples of partnering goals/ objectives include on-time delivery; within budget; no claims and litigation; quality product; no rework; increased communication; better working environment; customer satisfaction; achieving value engineering, etc. ( Wilson et al, 1995). At a partnering workshop the stake holders identify all respective goals and objectives for the project. These goals/objectives are then incorporated in to a partnering charter which is a symbol of the stakeholders' commitment to partnering (Association General Contractors of America, 1991).
2.5.5 Win-Win Philosophy
Win-win philosophy in the context of partnering can be described as a situation in which there are no losers (Stevenson, 1996). Each party agrees to scrutinize each situation and struggle to achieve a win-win solution as partners have one specific mutual goal(Slater, 1998; Lazar, 2000).
At the workshop, stakeholders together develop schemes for implementing their mutual goals and the mechanisms for tackling problem (Hellard, 1996)
For partnering implementation to be success on a project, evaluation of the effectiveness of the partnering team needs to be developed systematically by the stakeholders to ensure 'follow through' on the partnering agreement and the successful implementation of the project goals. Continuous evaluation within the context of partnering is aimed at the common goal of improvement (Harbuck et al, 1994). The measures of continual evaluations should be devised at a workshop and drawn up either by an action group or workshop participants. It is imperative that all measures are understood and accepted by all parties.
2.6 Benefits of partnering
The benefits of partnering are significant in number. It depends mostly on the type of partnering arrangement employed and the degree of integration and risk sharing. The benefits of partnering may be divided into tangible and intangible benefits (Beach et al, 2005).
Improvement per year
Turnover and profits
All costs excluding finance
Time from client approval to practical completion
Number of projects completed on time and within budget
Reduction in number of defects on hand-over
Reduction in the number of reportable accidents
Increase in the value added per head
Turnover and profits of construction firms.
Table 1.0: Tangible benefits of partnering ((Egan (1998) as in Beach et al(2005))
The intangible benefits are in the form of increased willingness to share risk, decrease in risk exposure, high level of confidence in project success, better understanding and less adversarial relationship due to less audit and decreased client inspection, enhanced communication concerning finance, technical and programming information, increased motivation and skills of the employers (Black et al, 2000; Scott, 2001).
Partnering can be beneficial to the contractors, clients, sub-contractors and all the parties of the construction industry. The partnering process allows all the project personnel to accept responsibility and try to do their jobs by delegating decision making and problems solving to the lowest possible level of authority (Dunston and Reed, 2000).
According to Chan et al (2002), the common benefits of partnering are as follows:
2.6.1 Reduced Litigation
Litigation is one of the major problems in most construction projects. In partnering arrangements, the problems of disputes, claims or litigations are reduced drastically as a result of open communication and improve working relationships (Cook and Hancher, 1990). Cost arising from disputes and claims are relatively low in the case of partnering projects (Li et al, 2001). The US army Corps of Engineers and UK oil industry had used partnering on large and small contracts since 1980's. Not a single dispute has worsened to litigation in these partnering projects according (Bayliss, 2002).
2.6.2 Improved Cost control
The improved cost performance can be considered as an intern benefit resulting from partnering (Albanese, 1994). Partnering arrangements promise better cost control, which successively reduces the risk of budget overruns (CII Australia, 1996; Li et al, 2001). The several reasons for better cost performance include alleviating, re-working, reducing scheduled times, heightening the involvement of team members, improving trust, reducing scope definition problems, open communication, lowering variation order rates, improving problem solving, eliminating blame shifting, improving, improving the understanding of project objectives and decreasing adversarial relations (Albanese, 1994). Thus partnering is a significant tool in improving cost performance.
2.6.3 Improved time control
Partnering helps to decrease delay in construction projects in various ways including better schedule performance, timely decisions, and reliable programming (Li et al, 2001; Albanese, 1994). The fair and equitable attitude resolved many disputes, discrepancies and changed conditions, which arose during construction. Partnering can be a means to reduce the delay as a result of better schedule performance (Cowan et al, 1992), timely decision and reliable programming (Albanese, 1994;Li et al, 2001). It is also found that less Liquidated damages was imposed on the partnered projects than the non-partnered projects (Gransberg et al, 1999). With an early involvement of contractors, at the design stage, it assists in 'constructability input and maximizing value engineering, thus improving both cost and schedule" (Construction Industry Institute, 1991).
2.6.4 Improved quality product
Partnering produces high quality construction and service (Moore et al, 1992). An improved quality product is possible as the partnering allows the parties not only to communicate more effectively regarding quality issues, leading to the earlier recognition of potential problems, but also aids to develop a quality consciousness amongst all concerned (Albanese, 1994). A partnering effort also creates a focus on learning and continuous improvement and raises the quality of products and processes (Loraine, 1994).
2.6.5 Efficient problem solving
Partnering offers a way to develop a control and resolution mechanism for dealing with problems (Cowan et al, 1992). In the partnering approach, the partners anticipate the potential problems and devise an action plan on methods as well as solutions (Chan et al, 2002). Partnering allows the opportunity to share and exchange ideas therefore allow each and every one to learn from each other and improve the problem solving method and maximise the results. Partnering helps to eliminate many conflicts (Sanders and Moore, 1992).
Clarify problems with other parties
Determine level of decision
Elevate to next level
Agree to time limit
Figure 2.0: Problem Resolution Flow chart (Bennett & Jayes, 1995)
2.6.6 Closer relationship
The working relationship between the partners that is the owner, contractor and engineer is more close thus enhancing communication, the identification of shared goal and objectives, the recognition of problems arising and an agreement to address those problems using a customized procedure (Construction Industry Institute, 1991). Therefore, the cooperative relationships provide a friendlier environment to work in.
2.6.7 Non-adversarial attitude
Partnering helps to reduce the traditional adversarial relationship between the owner and the contractor into a non-adversarial one that allows focus on mutual goals to the benefit of both parties. This transformation change the usual business into trust based relationship (Lazar, 1997)
2.6.8 Enhance communication
Traditionally, in non-partnered projects, the communication among the parties are hierarchical that is the working instructions are conveyed indirectly to those carrying the task. In order to break the traditional hierarchical communication channels, partnering approach promotes openness, trust and efficient communication through common and alleviated language (Li et al, 2001; Construction Industry Institute, 1991). The improvement of communication in the industry has shown better results in term of schedule delays and additional costs which if not dealt properly can lead to disputes and litigations (Li et al, 2001).
2.6.9 Continuous Improvement
Partnering paves the way for all parties to generate continuous improvement (Chan et al, 2002). It is in fact a shared effort with a long-term focus on eliminating wasteful barriers to improvement (Black et al, 2002).
2.6.10 Potential for innovation
An efficacious partnering relationship encourages the parties to evaluate advanced technology for its appropriateness (Cook and Hancher, 1990; Hellard, 1996). The suitable use of innovation through open communication enhances the design and construction processes (Bourn. 2001).
2.6.11 Lower administrative costs
Partnering provides a method to reduce administrative cost by eliminating the defensive case building (Construction Industry Institute, 1991; Black et al, 2000). In partnered projects, due to the awareness of the other's legal and litigation concerns by the partners, the cost of negotiating and administering contracts is greatly decreased (Construction Industry Institute, 1991). Partnering diminishes paperwork and makes administrative procedures simple. In addition, more face to face discussion was possible in partnered projects (Bayliss, 2000).
2.6.12 Improved safety performance
Joint responsibility taken by the parties ensures a safe working environment for all the partners subsequently reduces the risk of hazardous working conditions and avoids workplace accidents (Chan et al, 2002). There is an improvement in safety as the partners understand each other better and as the knowledge of construction process and systems improves (Albanese, 1994).
2.6.13 Increased satisfaction
A more conducive environment of achieving project objectives is achieved by using partnering as all parties involved gain benefits from the partnering arrangement (Matthews et al, 1996). Partnering increases customer satisfaction as the arrangement provides them an opportunity to be closer to the construction process and be better informed (Nielson, 1996). Reasonable profits are made by the contractor and they are assured of continued work at predetermined profit margins (Moore et al, 1992). The work becomes more enjoyable instead of a burden or an unreasonable risk (Bates, 1994).
2.6.14 Improved culture
Partnering arrangement provides good cooperative framework which encourages tolerance and produce an output of enhanced trust between participants (Fellows, 1997). According to Bloom (1997), evaluations of army partnering contracts had indicated significant improvements in the working culture of the parties of the contract. In an environment which is free of conflict, people concentrate more on the task instead of potential claims and in turn the morals and the effectiveness of the whole project team are improved (Brown, 1994).
Based on the review above, there are many benefits of partnering in the construction industry. In Mauritius, the clients and the contractor need to be educated on the various types and benefits of partnering approach. With the knowledge of partnering, there can be a significant change in the Mauritian Construction Industry, and effort to use partnering in the procurement method in the Construction Industry.
2.7 Barriers to partnering
In today's date, partnering is increasingly becoming one of the pillars of a successful construction project by increasing the client satisfaction and by securing a more stable workload. Partnering create the notion of mutual benefits for clients, consultants and contractors. Despite the benefits of partnering discussed above, there exist barriers and obstacles to the successful implementation of partnering. Partnering is not the solution to all the problems in the construction industry but it acts as problem resolution mechanism, dispute resolution mechanism. It helps to improve communications and reduce cost overruns (Sanders and Moore, 1992; CII, 1996; Larson and Drexler, 1997; Akintoye and Black, 1999).
In a partnering process everyone has to be committed to one another (CII, 1991). There may be trouble of trusting others and it may be hard to work through adversarial attitudes. Participants who are likely to win at the expense of others require great effort to be dealt with the cooperation and collaborative thinking (Larson and Drexler, 1997). Partnering has the ingredients to configure the construction industry to work in a more cooperative environment.
The literature review below will focus on the common problems of partnering within the construction industry. According to Chan et al, 2003, the problems of partnering are as discussed below:
2.7.1 Misunderstanding of partnering concept
The partnering concept should be studies in depth for its successful implementation. The misconception of the partnering concept is a major problem for partnering implementation. Some participants of a project do not seem to understand how the partnering relationships could provide a competitive advantage (CII, 1991; CII, 1996). If the concept of partnering is not fully understood, the limited experience in partnering approach can affect the understanding and knowledge of the project participants (Larson and Drexler,1997). Partnering can be a failure if the project participants are unfamiliar to partnering or fail to understand the concept of partnering (Sanders and Moore, 1992; Harback et al, 1994).
2.7.2 Relationship problems
The aim of partnering is to stimulate the participants to change from their traditional adversarial attitude to a more cooperative, team-based approach to preventive disputes attitude (Moore et al, 1992; Loraine, 1994). The indifferent traditional adversarial relationship and other improper attitudes may have an unfavourable effect on the development of good relationship between the partners of the contract.
126.96.36.199 Adversarial relationship
Win-win thinking plays a key role in the success of partnering (Hellard, 1996; Lazar, 2000). Nevertheless, past experiences and the fear of unknown and change can be a factor of distrust among the parties (Larson, 1995). In short, the greatest difficulty lies in the change of the thinking of the project parties. Most of the time, the parties of the project try to gain benefits out of their relationships and often end up with a lose-lose environment (Hellard, 1996).
Since construction is not a risk free industry, partnering also has some risks involved. The development of trust on each other might be a risk in itself, although it the most fundamental element of success in partnering. However, the bad experience in litigation, dispute and past adversarial relationship can be the cause which affects the project environment conducive to trust (Albanese, 1994; Lazar, 1997). Therefore, it is very hard to trust each other as the participants brings the adversarial experience to partnering.
188.8.131.52 Failure of sharing risk
Another barriers to success of partnering project is risk sharing. The difficulty to share risk fairly in the partnering process can be a major problem. They always try to look for their own advantage first and therefore take full advantage of the partnering spirit to reduce their own risk. In the end, the contracting partners may not be willing to share risk and the trust relationship (Larson and Drexler, 1996).
184.108.40.206 Over-dependency on others
The partnering concept is intended to underline the strengths of partners and consequently cannot offset for the fundamental weaknesses in the participants. In certain cases, partnering created strong dependency on the partner (CII, 1991).
2.7.3 Culture barrier
Partnering acts as an opposition to the traditional implementation of construction projects. Cultures which have been established for years are hard to change (Hellard, 1996; Lazar, 1997). Many organizations are not willing to change into integrating culture. In most of the cases, bureaucratic organizations hinder the effectiveness of partnering (Larson and Drexler, 1997).
2.7.4 Uneven commitment
Partnering generally demands commitment of all the project participants. Total commitment must be given to the partnering process by the project participants. Nevertheless, due to different goals among the parties, there is commonly an uneven level of commitment in practice (Moore et al., 1992). Lack of agreement of commitment is a barrier to partnering and the commitment is hard to obtain and maintain (CII, 1991). Consequently, the projects are full of misunderstanding and inflexible conflicts. Therefore, the parties to the contract must devote more efforts to balance the level of commitment on each side (Moore et al., 1992).
2.7.5 Communication problems
Communication should be clear, concise, effective, open and two way so that the client's requirement can be easily understood and in turn improved. Problems arising onsite should be tackled whenever possible (Moore et al, 1992). However, in the partnering process, some parties do not have trust on each other completely and are reluctant to communicate and share information freely (Larson and Drexler, 1997). When the parties fail to communicate, this may result in less collaboration and unreasonable demands due to ignorance of other parties (CII, 1996). In short, clear and effective communication is a key element for partnering success.
2.7.6 Lack of continuous improvement
Traditionally, the responsibility for continuous improvement normally rested with the contractor. Nevertheless, the continuous improvement is a joint effort to remove waste and barriers (Moore et al, 1992). As a matter of fact, continuous improvement is hard to maintain. The usual barriers that are usually encountered in the improvement efforts are approval time and development costs. Joint work on improvement schemes yields good recognition of inherent risks of alternative schemes (Cowan et al, 1992).
2.7.7 Inefficient problem solving
As a matter of fact, problems do not disappear when partnering is chosen (Sanders and Moore, 1992). Conflicts among the partners are unpredictable and very much possible. Even if the members of the partnering team are willing to identify, confront and tackle the problems, problems still occur (Albanese, 1994).
2.7.8 Insufficient efforts to keep partnering going
Partnering arrangement requirement necessitates the need of additional staff, time and resources for it to sustain. It is very costly to group together all organisations with every partnering undertaking (Larson and Drexler, 1997). In the actual operation, project participants always come across many difficulties in the partnering process which hinder the success of partnering.
220.127.116.11 Inadequate training
Inadequate training is the barrier of the implementation of partnering. Insufficient staff training is the major reason for the failure of partnering. The contracting partners do not really understand the concept of partnering and therefore the implementation of partnering is unsuccessful (CII, 1996).
18.104.22.168 Not involving key parties
The existence of partnering between the client and the contractor only render the partnering implementation hard to enforce. Nevertheless, partnering involves all parties namely the key subcontractors, design consultants and suppliers who are to be included along with the clients and contractors. Their advice and opinion can be sought only if they are involved in the partnering process.
22.214.171.124 Lack of top management support
The initiation of partnering cannot be effected without the top management support. Even if the top management pursue the partnering relationship, the information is not passed to the staff at the project level easily. The mid-level staff and the frontline staff may misunderstand the concept of partnering (Lazar, 1997). If the top management does not take the necessary steps to keep their words, the partnering relationship is bound to pave the way of failure.
2.7.9 Discreditable relationship
Despite the benefits of partnering, partnering can be a prey to corruption. The project participants should be comfortable with each other in order to eliminate the discreditable relationship. The participants should not establish closer relationship to avoid possible allegation of corruption. Nevertheless, the development of trust under in such a situation is not easy (Harback et al, 1994).
2.8 Success factors of partnering
Critical factors can be defined as "those few key factors that are absolutely necessary to reach goals" (Rockart, 1982).
The success factors of partnering projects were identified and discussed by Cheng et al (2000) where he defined where he suggested that partnering can be a success by using appropriate management skills and developing a favourable context.
Figure 3.0: Framework of partnering in construction (Cheng et al, 2000)
According to the framework by Cheng et al. (2000), some objective and subjective measures were used for evaluating the rate of partnering success. The objective measures were defined as cost variation, rejection of work, client satisfaction, quality of work, schedule variation, profit variation and safety. Some subjective measures were defined as adequate resources, management support, mutual trust, creativity and effective communication and co-ordination.
2.8.1 Adequate resources
It very uncommon for an organization to share its own resources with others since resources is scarce and competitive. The main resources comprise knowledge, technology, information, specific skills and capitals (CII, 1991; CIB, 1997). It is also essential to determine the optimal use of shared resources. The complementary resources from the different contracting parties not only can be used to strengthen the competitiveness and construction capability of a partnering relationship but it is also a fundamental principle for evaluating the partnering success (Cheng et al., 2000).
2.8.2 Management support
Another success factor is management support. Commitment and support from top management is always a criterion for successful partnering projects. A senior management formulates the strategy and direct the business activities. Their full support and commitment are critical in commencing and leading the partnering spirit (Cheng et al, 2000).
2.8.3 Mutual trust
Trust is one of the most fundamental factors that make partnering a success. Trust encourages cooperation among partners and helps to complete a project (Wong et al, 2000). It is essential to open the boundaries of the relationship as it can relieve stress and enhance adaptability, information exchange and joint problem solving and promise better outcome (Mohr and Spekman, 1994; Cheng et al, 2000).
2.8.4 Long -term commitment
This element can be viewed as the willingness of the involved parties to participate continuously to the unanticipated problems (Bresnen and Marshall, 2000; Cheng et al, 2000). More dedicated parties are anticipated to balance the attainment of short-term objectives with long-term goals, and attain both individual and joint missions without arising the fear of opportunistic behaviour (Mohr and Spekman, 1995).
2.8.5 Effective communication
This is a critical success factor as effective communication skills can aid the organizations to ease the exchange of ideas and visions, which in turn results in fewer misunderstanding and encourage mutual trust (Cheng et al, 2000).
2.8.6 Efficient coordination
Coordination replicates the expectation of each party from the other parties in accomplishing a set of tasks (Mohr and Spekman, 1994). Good co-ordination resulting in the attainment of stability in an unreliable environment can be achieved by an increase in contract points between parties and sharing of project information (Chan et al, 2004).
2.8.7 Conflict resolution
Conflicting issues are very usual among the parties because of disagreement in goals and expectations. The effect of conflict resolution can be either useful or destructive and depends mostly on the way in which the partners are going the resolve the conflict (Cheng et al, 2000). Joint problem solving can be a way to tackle the difficult issues. The active and high level of participation among parties may help to generate a commitment to the mutually agreed solution (Cheng et al, 2000).