Early Contractor Involvement

“Facts About Early Contractor Involvement” describes a more cooperative, cost-effective approach to designing and planning infrastructure projects.

The preparatory work for large infrastructure projects can consume an extraordinary amount of time, money and human resources and is not particularly cost-effective. Some of this inefficiency is caused by traditional procurement methods which bring contractors into the process too late, after many key decisions have been made. Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) provides an efficient means of designing and planning infrastructure projects in a cooperative, more efficient and less adversarial structure. For straightforward maintenance work, traditional contracts are adequate. But for complex, mega infrastructure projects – such as large reclamation works, port expansion and new port development – contractors can make an important contribution when brought into the process early on. They can offer technical knowhow and innovative ideas and can fast track the procurement process. The contractor’s knowledge can help develop more realistic and reliable operating schedules, also in terms of environment, safety and cost estimates. One issue that is often cited when considering Early Contractor Involvement is whether it is in violation of competitive practices that are required by law during tendering. One way of avoiding criticisms of favouritism and of guaranteeing transparency when implementing Early Contractor Involvement is to use “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs). Key Performance Indicators are used to define and measure performance, to evaluate the success of an operation, and, in the case of Early Contractor Involvement, to establish and measure qualifications to be used during tendering. The Key Performance Indicators are selected at the discretion of the contracting authority (the client) and applied to all contractors. In this way, they are an important tool for ensuring a level playing field. Early Contractor Involvement does not preclude a properly executed contract that reflects a contractor-client relationship able to deal with project risks. Such a contract is essential to increase transparency and shared responsibilities and to reduce risks and limit the reasons for disputes. “Facts About Early Contractor Involvement” answers essential questions such as:
  • What is Early Contractor Involvement ?
  • How do traditional procurement methods work?
  • Is ECI always a better choice than traditional procurement systems?
  • When does ECI offer benefits that traditional procurement systems do not?
  • What are the client’s needs when considering a project?
  • How can consultants and contractors co-operate?
  • What are the benefits of ECI for clients?
  • Does ECI violate the legal (national and supranational) requirements for competition?
  • What is meant by the ‘‘principle of transparency’’?
  • Should Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) be included in the tendering documents?
  • Why do contractors want early involvement in a project?
  • What are adverse physical conditions?