Case Study On Building a New School For Children


The research around construction management forms one of the milestones covered towards realization of the nature and type of the procurement method used. Construction management can simply be described as a professional service that utilizes more specialized project management methods in overseeing planning, design as well as the construction of the project. Construction management fosters excellent control of the project as far as cost and quality are put into consideration. Based on this, the paper focuses on conducting a literature search on constriction management while narrowing down to the procurement methods applied in CM. This will be accompanied by a research in the latest developments as well as trends in regards to the procurement methods. Some of the characteristics that will be put into consideration in the literature search include constructability, productivity, supply chain, productivity, sustainability, value engineering, innovation and technology, lean construction and e-procurement among others. The paper will also comment on the most appropriate procurement method that can be used in constructing a New School for children with disabilities. This will also be accompanied by a case study that can reinforce the value and quality of the chosen procurement method.

Literature review

The literature search looks into 10 important researches that have been covered in line with construction management and the procurement methods applied in the due course. This section further delves deep into the possible characteristics that enable the selection process or define the criteria that determine the procurement method to be used. The search will also look at the evidence of research that demonstrate the context, purpose and the timescale assigned to different projects. First, the literature search looks at the available procurement methods that are in use in the industry.

Procurement methods

Procurement methods as the structured processes utilized by the owners in acquiring significant construction products and services. In construction management, the methods can be categorized into two types including the traditional as well as the alternative procurement method (Oshungade, & Kruger, 2015; Akintoye, et al., 2012). Oshungade and Kruger (2015) further indicated that the methods have undergone significant developments as well as refinements with time. This is due to the conspicuous inadequacies of the traditional method. The emergence of the alternative methods, sometimes referred to as the innovative procurement method, has led to discovery of better methods such as the construction management, design/build and the management contracting procurement. There is always a big difference between the traditional and the alternative methods with regards to procurement in the construction industry.


Traditional procurement methods

The procurement methods categorised as traditional are characterised by separated design entities from construction process. According to Shehu et al. (2014), traditional procurement method provides clients with three sequential tasks that constitute design, bid and build. The traditional method has been in use since 18th century where a client depends on the design consultant who is both the consulting engineer and the architect. The consultant further prepares the contractual documents and the design of the project. Upon this stage, Oshungade and Kruger (2015) indicate that the main contractor can be procured through invitation of bids in the bases of the design documents.

Global Railway versus Air

Naoum and Egbu (2015) agree that under the traditional option, a number of methods can also be discovered and the choice depends on the characteristics. There are three profound types of traditional procurement ever used in the history of the construction industry. The first one is the lump sum contract method in which the contract sum is computed before the amount is introduced in the agreement. Othman et al. (2015) argued that the lump sum contract compels the contractor to carry out a certain amount of work for an agreed sum. The amount can be fixed and is limited in terms of fluctuations. However, Othman et al. (2015) still argues that the lump sum contract can have quantities or may lack quantities. The ones with quantities would be priced based on the bill of quantities and the drawings. The one without quantities can only be priced based on the drawings and an extra document. The second method of traditional procurement is the measurement contract method as indicated by El-Agha (2013).

The method take care of a situation where the work to be done cannot be measured in accurate terms before tendering. The presumption is that the design is accurate enough in reflecting the picture of the quality and amount expected by the tenderer. The measurement contract method is majorly based in the drawing with the approximate quantities and schedule of rates or the prices that are prepared by employers for completion by the tender. The last method behind the traditional method is the cost reimbursement contract method which constitutes indeterminate work based on the fact that amount of work is paid based on the actual cost of labour and materials as well (Salem et al. 2018). Besides, the method allows the contractor to receive an agreed fee meant to cover the overheads, management, and profit as well.

Techniques employed by traditional procurement methods

Traditional procurement method, as noted across the three techniques, adopts common features. First, El-Agha (2013) indicates that the traditional method assumes that the requisite design will be noted or appointed by the consultants, which does not absolutely imply that the involved contractor bears the design obligations. Secondly, the employer is allowed to appoint the consultants who have the potential of facilitating advisory services on matters related to design as well as costs. This means that the employer retains the absolute control over the quality and design required. Besides, the traditional method demands that the contractor should rely on the instructions and information conveyed from the architect with regards to maters or issues of time and risks. It is of note that significant matters of valuation as well as payment constitute the responsibility of the consultant attached to the employee.

Advantages of traditional methods

The nature of traditional methods gives the employer a number of advantages as far as procurement is involved. First, the scale of accountability is high as a result of competitive selection. Secondly, the design lead as well as the client is provided with an opportunity of influencing the functionality and quality of the entire design. Lastly, variations in the contract can easily be managed and arranged at the same time. However, most of the traditional methods still suffer from the timely process as far as the full contract documentation is put into consideration. This can increase the tendency of working on an incomplete design.

Global Railway versus Air

Nevertheless, alternative procurement process exists. Ojo and Gbadebo (2012) took note of the alternative methods, which take a different discourse apart from the one noted under the traditional procurement methods. While Oshungade and Kruger (2015) took the case study of South Africa, Ojo and Gbadebo (2012) took note of a similar case study while reviewing the alternative methods in Nigeria. The two case studies noted that the alternative procurement method denotes any other method apart from the known traditional procurement methods applied in the construction industry. Most of the alternative methods are also referred to as the non-conventional method, which considers the design as well as the building aspects behind the project. The main variants of the alternative method include the collaborative procurement and the integrated management oriented.

Design/Build procurement method

The Design/Build method, denoted as the DB procurement methods, bears two sequential phases treated as a single task. However, Oshungade and Kruger (2015) focus on the Design/Build procurement method and the construction management methods. The approach guarantees the client only one point of contract which is equally treated as a single entity. Besides, the method allows the main contractor to be in charge of the construction and design, as well as all phases of the entire project that range from the starting point to the end. Three variants of the Design/Build method include develop, direct and construct. A good example where DB procurement has been applied includes the City of Johannesburg where the client was involved in the entire construction of the Nelson Mandela Bridge.

Construction management procurement method

Although this method is relatively new, it has been widely integrated especially in the Australia, UK, and USA. Ojo and Gbadebo (2012) took note of the construction management procurement method, which is known for uniting three parties, which constitute the client, designer, and contractor. The approach gives room for the client to partake in the construction process while the construction manager remains responsible to the client, as well as acts in the interest of the client. The method allows the construction contracts to be implemented directly between the contractors and client. Some of the projects that adopted the CM Procurement method include the construction of a new taxi rank in the City of Johannesburg. Apart from the types of the procurement methods, the selection of a method in the construction industry depends on the dynamics and perceptions of people (Salem et al. 2018). In a research conducted in South Africa, the trend showed the following results across the construction industry.

Global Railway versus Air

The emergence of e-procurement in the construction industry marks a significant milestone as far as procurement considerations are put into consideration. The study around the alternative procurement methods shows an investment in technology and innovation. Ibem and Laryea (2015) ventured in the advent behind internet technology that has changed and impacted the dynamics noted through increased e-commerce applications. Currently, the e-procurement systems across the supply chain management seemingly changed the way of doing things in the construction industry in most of the African and Asian countries.

E-procurement invests in the electronic communication as well as the transaction processes while buying the supplies and conducting tendering. To aid their research, Ibem and Laryea (2015) engaged 603 participants in an interview that fostered the impact of CAD drawing s, IT infrastructure, web 2.0 technologies and other emerging e-procurement technologies attached to the construction industry (Eadie et al. 2015). It is important to note that the e-procurement process constitutes of two main phases. The first phase includes the pre-award phase which carries the e-Notification, e-Payment, e-Submission, e-Invoicing and e-Awarding. The second phase is the post-award phase that consists of such activities like e-Payment, e-Ordering an e-Invoicing. Every activity in both phases is executed based on the vast range of the e-Commerce communication media, as well as the e-Procurement tools and technologies. Since 1990s, the use of e-procurement has been on the rise as a result of both the email and the web services (Salem et al. 2018). E-Procurement in the developing countries s at the nascent stage as it is the case of the Nigerian tendering process and other third world nations. In a study conducted by Ibem and Laryea (2015), the researchers focused on how the construction industry is adopting e-procurement. Various tools and applications had different scales of adoption as shown in the table below.

Global Railway versus Air

The extent of use of the e-Procurement materials follows the DOI theory that fosters the innovation diffusion as well as adoption as viewed in five significant attributes. These include the relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trial-ability, and observability. A tool or an application that scores highly in the five attributes seemingly stands high chances of being used by a large population. Based on the diffusion studies conducted by Rodgers, it came out evident that the five attributes account for either 49% or 87% of variation in terms of adopting innovation in line with procurement activities in the construction industry. While e-procurement seems to be highly adopted in developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, most of them would end up scaling only three attributes in adopting an application or tool. The three include the compatibility, the relative advantage, and complexity, which also describe the stability and the functions of e-Procurement in the sector.

The IT Construction Forum established in 2004 noted that e-procurement has a prime role of transferring data as indicated in e-Ordering, e-Submission, and e-Notification, which also change with patterns of innovations and their impact on the use of e-procurement. In a case study of South African Construction Industry, it could be noted that e-Procurement technologies were more profound in instant messaging and solicitation of the available tender offers. Addition tolls and systems provided to impact exchange of the project information, data, and communication include the e-mail technology, portals, and websites among others. However, key barriers to most of the electronic technologies revolve around the cultural, technical, security, legal and organizational aspects.

Global Railway versus Air

The information above was confirmed through an interview that involved clients in the construction industry and the information that was frequently shared between clients and contractors through the electronic means. The dominant procurement tasks engaged through the e-procurement systems, as noted in the United Kingdom and the US, include communication and project data. 33% of the respondents in a study of 603 participants indicated that they used some of the e-procurement applications in submitting the bill of quantities, 24% used e-procurement systems in exchanging the CAD drawings, and 16% only shared specifications. This leads to the fact that e-procurement systems are only important where there is need to share project information between the clients and the contractors. Most of the basic activities in the exchange of information include e-Exchange, e-Notification, and e-submission as well.

Factors considered during procurement method selection

A look at the technological milestones is convincing enough that procurement in the construction industry is taking a new shape. However, before selecting any of the methods, different factors and characteristics should be put into consideration. Ghadamsi and Braimah (2012) argued that project performance is essentially influenced by the procurement method one would choose in the course of handling the project. While there are issues to be considered in describing the selection criteria, project performance, in the construction management, remains the most fundamental area that is affected by different factors apart from the ones that describe the nature of the procurement method. Eriksson and Westerberg (2011) argued that a number of factors will inform on the decision that will determine the procurement choice.

Factors can either be external or internal. The ones that describe the external environment include finance, legal, economics, politics and technological factors. Factors that describe the internal environment are not limited to the client’s requirement, project characteristics, and the client’s characteristics. Ghadamsi and Braimah (2012) underscored the fact that client requirements can take different dimensions such as time related factors; quality related factors and cost related factors. In either dimension, the involved parties are expected to focus on the systematic procedures when determining the kind of approach to be adopted. However, a refocus on the project performance criteria underlines the fact that any level of performance will be determined by time, price, and quality. This means that any approach is supposed to provide the desirable level of customer satisfaction. The idea behind procurement method to be adopted should not only cater for the techniques but also the end outcome and the expectations of the client.

Global Railway versus Air

Project success is, therefore, measured in different ways depending on the perspectives and the parties. Comparison of the criteria would establish the kind of the relationship between the clients and contractors, and the type of project engaged. Most of the clients would insist on the satisfying their needs and those of other stakeholders, the desirable duration and minimization of the project costs. Tiwari et al. (2018) insists that it is aphoristic that a significant undertaking of the construction management project should be viewed in terms of completion in the desirable timeline, the acceptable quality and not beyond the agreed budget. All these are done to ensure absolute customer fulfilment. Therefore, satisfaction can be shaped by the procurement method, which can also describe the achievements of the entire project. This means that there are issues that can confront the entire building procedure. Such issues include separation of the outline plan, lack of team integration, ineffective communication, market dynamics, and change of customers’ needs, project complications and the evolving environment. The choice of the procurement technique, therefore, should foster project performance by addressing the mentioned issues.

Factors considered in selecting procurement method

Apart from the project performance and factors describing the position of procurement methods, Tiwari et al. (2018) insists that it is always important that current issues should prescribe the nature of the procurement methods to be used. The first issue is the supply chain management (SCM), which is also a network management that interconnects businesses ramified in the arrangement of goods as well as service packages served at the end users. SCM encompasses the movement as well as depository of the significant raw materials, the work in progress inventory, and the finished goods. The current issue of SCM should be factored in the selection process, especially in the modern procurement methods, where optimization of the construction costs and transfer of expertise constitute key elements under observation.

Researchers look at the technology group approach as part of the key determinant in coming up with a better framework for the procurement process. The second issue or factor, as suggested by Naoum and Egbu (2015), that should be considered include lean construction. This is one area that has been recommended in the past to sought radical changes meant to boost the performance of the construction industry in United Kingdom. Upon application of lean practices in the procurement process, more emphasis is put on the cooperative relationship between the outset and continuous improvement together with the relevant elements. Naoum and Egbu (2015) noted that continuous improvement, continuous learning, as well as systematic experimentation can impact both the technical and organizational levels in addressing significant aspects of lean philosophy. All these are channelled towards bolstering the customer value through reduction as well as elimination of waste. Therefore, introduction of the lean practices during selection of the procurement method should factor in the behaviours and the attitudes of all the parties involved in the negotiation of a better procurement method (Salem et al. 2018). Parties should be cautious regarding the barriers to cooperation including cultural, organizational, and industrial barriers.

The third issue is sustainability where sustainable procurement is regarded as a procedure in which the associations focus to address the issues and demands for the works, utilities, administrations, services, and goods in a manner that meets the desirable value of money. This fosters the long haul benefits that can be extended both to the society and the association itself. Researchers agree with the fact that generation of Building Energy Models, such as the ones witnessed in Europe behind the Target Carbon Emissions Rates, calls for few cycles noted during the design and planning stage. Breakthroughs felt along the innovations should, therefore, attract the willingness of the customers and sustainable measures. However, Tiwari et al. (2018) argues that application of the traditional procurement methods might create a professional obstruction towards achieving an innovative change demanded in the scope of sustainability. Again, the traditional techniques posit difficult tasks when outlining the environmental sensitive buildings. The adoption of CM can remedy the social change that can address sustainable construction (Eadie et al. 2015).

The fourth issue to be addressed in the selection criteria is constructability. The issue of constructability pops up from the possible confrontational behaviour that can be witnessed between consultants, contractors, and customers as well as far as the conventional procurement settings are put into consideration. The idea of constructability came in the spotlight in 1960s as well as 1970s. At the time, constructability highly restricted the design procedure a therefore received equally negative feedbacks from different parties. A relook at the scope of constructability has led to realization of the significance of the continual use of the traditional elements in the light of technological innovation. Apart from constructability, the Building Information Modelling (BIM) is another current issue that covers the revolutionary innovation as well as process that can transform the perspectives behind the way buildings are designed, considered, constructed, as well as operated (Eadie et al. 2015).

BIM is regarded as the optimal state that influences the project life-cycle that runs from procurement stage to demolition BIM offers opportunities towards revolutionizing and changing the way most of the projects ought to be procured. BIM solves the problem of cooperation across the widespread team. Most of the BIM tools are tailored towards overseeing the information regarding the lifecycle behind building structures (Eom et al. 2015). Another issue is e-Procurement, which is a scope that appeared in the earlier review. The use of e-Procurement fosters the application of the innovated technology while influencing the administrative point of view across procurement performance as well as the procurement practices. However, e-Procurement is in itself a drawback because it calls for significant investment in staff training and specialist software (De Araújo et al. 2017).

Regardless of the drawback, more suppliers are still investing in e-procurement, which should equally be integrated in the procurement techniques in the construction industry. This is as a result of the growing demand for partnering agreement where two parties ought to build trust and remain transparent. Another issue is value management, which entails the standardized way of dealing with project delivery. Value management avoids issues to do with negative quality, reliability, and execution. The client’s requirements would still narrow down to aesthetics, ergonomics, economics and the technical aspect as related to costs and performance. With the help of workshops, value management can be felt in terms of improved communications, innovation, and increased integration between innovation and constructability (Salem et al. 2018). Lastly, the selection criteria should foster innovation as well as technology development. This ensures increased solutions that can impact the construction process, minimize the involved costs, and enhance quality at the same time.

The procurement method of choice

The project of constructing a New School for children with disability calls for consideration of different factors such as the dynamics in the market, costs, quality, and time. The procurement method that can suit and is flexible enough to contain the factors mentioned is the construction management procurement method (De Araújo et al. 2017). Construction management is in itself a management practice that constitutes arrangement of the services used in the construction projects as well as programs. It entails planning, designing, construction, as well as post construction phases aimed at attaining the objectives or the purpose of the project. The adoption of the CM procurement method for the New School came after a review of the case study of the Indonesian Embassy Complex established in Singapore (Lam and Chan 2013). The works included a complex building, a tennis court, and swimming pools.

The employer consulted a firm referred to as Jaya Penta and Rider Hunt Levett & Bailey. The contractual agreement paved way for retention of the architect followed by submission of the drawings to authorities. The scope of work comprised of piling and hoarding, site preparation, building carcass and landscaping. The improvisation of the construction management procurement method in this project made it a success by introducing a regular reporting system, bills of approximate quantities, recommended payments and formal change order (Lam and Chan 2013). The project saw the application of each package contractor that yield 100% package contract sum. With this performance, it can be concluded that CM contracts are absolute and cannot fail under robust implementation. This is the same narrative that can be carried to the construction of the new school for children with disabilities. The adoption of the CM procurement method, over the rest, revolves around the fact that the project stands to enjoy reduced construction costs, appropriate and reasonable construction time, desirable construction quality and project suitability (De Araújo et al. 2017).

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To sum up, the discussion presents a literature search on construction management and the procurement methods applied in the construction industry. First, the search looked at the types of the procurement methods available in the industry, and this led to realization of traditional methods and alternative methods as the two key categories. The search also looked at the types under each category before focusing on technology and innovation, which led to the discovery and use of e-Procurement in the construction industry. The discussion also looked at project performance and factors that determine the level of performance. Later on, current issues were also reviewed in line with their roles in the selection criteria for the procurement method. Lastly, the discussion picked on CM procurement method for construction of a New School for Children with Disabilities following a review of a case study on the construction of an Indonesian embassy in Singapore.


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