Conceptual framework for the assessment of subcontractors' eligibility and performance in the con

Conceptual framework for the assessment of subcontractors' eligibility and performance in the con

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Conceptual framework for the assessment of subcontractors’ eligibility and performance in the construction industry JASPER MBACHU * Massey University, New Zealand Received 15 June 2007; accepted 15 January 2008 Subcontractors handle a major portion—about 85%—of all construction projects in the building industry. The ability of the main contractor and consultants to deliver the project within time, quality and cost targets depends largely on the performance of the subcontractors. Selection of subcontractors on the basis of overall ability to perform is therefore crucial to successful project delivery. The key criteria for assessing subcontractors’ eligibility for tender invitation and award, and subsequent performance at the construction stage, were investigated. Using the descriptive survey method, 243 contractors and 307 subcontractors registered with the Gauteng Master Builders Association of South Africa were surveyed. The multi-attribute technique was used to analyse the data. Results showed that quality record is the most influential criterion for selecting high performing subcontractors at the pre-qualification stage, and for assessing their performance at the construction stage. Tender price exerts the most significant influence in the subcontract award. A framework was developed for use by main contractors and consultants in the assessment of the suitability and performance of subcontractors. Application of the framework to a case study demonstrated its merit as a tool for ensuring that only high performing subcontractors are selected for subcontract jobs. Keywords: Performance evaluation, pre-qualification, selection, subcontracting, tendering. Introduction Hoban and Francis (2003) see the subcontractor as a specialist hired by the main contractor to perform specific tasks on a project as part of the overall contract. Hinze and Tracy (1994), and Hoban and Francis (2003) identify three main categories of subcontractors in the construction industry: trade contractors—those that specialize on specific trades such as painting and brickwork; specialist subcontractors—those that under- take specialist services, especially building or engineer- ing services such as electrical, plumbing and HVA; and the labour-only subcontractors—i.e. skilled tradesmen that provide labour-only services, while the main contractor provides the materials and attendance. From a contractual point of view, subcontractors could be categorized as domestic—those that the contractor has the free will to hire to perform specific tasks; and the nominated subcontractor who, as the name implies, is nominated by the client or client agent to undertake specified aspects of the main contract. All subcontrac- tors are required to enter into contractual relation with, or be employed by, the main contractor.
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Conceptual framework for the assessment of subcontractors' eligibility and performance in the con

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