Evaluating the main contractors' influence within the concrete frame construction decision making process

Haroglu, H., Glass, J., Goodchild, C., Minson, A. and Thorpe, T. (2009) Evaluating the main contractors' influence within the concrete frame construction decision making process. In: 11th Annual International fib Symposium: Concrete : 21st Century Superhero; 22 - 24 Jun 2009, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Abstract: The UK has a tradition of in-situ concrete construction and in the past in-situ concrete frame construction dominated the structural (skeletal) frame market. Despite concrete’s range of structural frame solutions (i.e. its thermal efficiency, inherent fire resistance, acoustic and vibration performance, durability and low maintenance), it lost significant market share to structural steel in the framed structure market in the UK in the late 20th century, although it still performs well in commercial and residential applications today. A four-year research programme was initiated by Loughborough University and The Concrete Centre to investigate the key drivers and barriers in the concrete frame procurement process as it is a generally under-researched area with the specific aim of identifying ways in which the process could be improved. To begin with, the research investigated typical structural frame selection processes through a state-of-the-art literature review, semi-structured interviews and a postal questionnaire survey. One of the main findings was that the design & build procurement approach was used for about 50% of UK construction projects. This illustrated the significance of the contractor’s potential influence in the structural frame decision-making process and so the subsequent stage of the research examined the role of contractors in detail; for example, whether the main contractor could exert influence to change the frame type or any specifications of a building project as a result of the design & build procurement route being used. This paper reports major new findings on the main contractors’ influence over the structural frame selection process and will therefore be of interest to designers, contractors and clients/customers.

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