Introduction to construction procurement

Procurement is generally seen as the process of obtaining goods and services for a stated task, in return for money.

In the context of construction, procurement is the process, led by the construction project manager, of acquiring professional expertise. The purpose of procurement is to design and construct the proposed project, and covers the acquisition of relevant expertise from professional construction consultants, main contractors, sub-contractors, manufacturers and suppliers. It is normal for this procurement process to be crystallised into formal contractual arrangements.

The words that follow construction procurement can range from ‘strategy’, and ‘options’ to ‘routes’. Confusing, yes, but generally it all means the same thing, ie what contractual organisational method will be used to realise the project.

In order to successfully deliver a construction project for the client, the construction project manager will need to enlist the support of a number of design, costing and construction professionals and organisations.

How these professionals and organisations operate, when they are appointed, and what they actually contribute to a project and when they carry this work out, is reflected in the chosen procurement route selected. The selection of an appropriate procurement route is linked to key project criteria, which in turn are determined from the client’s requirements. They will also be appointed by a tendering process – of which, yes, you’ve guessed it – there are several options.

Construction as a process is typified by project risks and once these risks have been identified and prioritised, a suitable procurement route to reflect the project risk profile can be selected.

Your task

Produce your own definition of construction procurement and identify the key tasks that you think are involved in procurement to ensure delivery of a successful project.

Post your thoughts in the discussion.

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This article is from the free online course:

Pre-Contract Management for Construction Projects: The Basics

Coventry University