Public and private sectors preferences regarding the briefing process



Last Updated: 2-2015


Infrastructural projects are known to have many delays which in most cases originate from problems in the plan development and/or realization phase. From a financial point of view these delays and the accompanying stagnation of large infrastructural projects is undesirable, because public funds have to be used as efficient as possible. The last ten to fifteen years several changes occurred in the way public and private sector are collaborating with each other in the construction sector. With the introduction of integrated contracts like Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) more tasks and responsibilities are transferred to the private sector. Managing the expectations and interests of surrounding actors in infrastructural projects in the Netherlands has become increasingly important and are therefore stipulated in the contract. As part of the integrated contract, the contractor is responsible to analyze, validate and to make the design according to the requirements of the shareholder. These requirements are collected and documented by the client and all requirements are set down functionally, which means that the requirements describe which functions have to be realized and does not already force a solution to the contractor in the form of a building estimate. This process knows many problems and limitations, namely: lack of identification of shareholders’ needs, inadequate involvement of all the relevant parties, inadequate communication between those involved in briefing and briefing information still being given during late design and construction stages. First a literature study has been conducted and also experts have been interviewed about the most important problems. Six attributes were pointed out to be key to this process. Many professionals from the construction sector were asked to fill in an online questionnaire stating their preference on the subject. The results show that respondents prefer to have the timing of the first meeting during the tender phase and that the use of functional requirements have to be reconsidered. One of the recommendations is to use functional requirements where it can lead to innovative and creative and solutions, when this is not the case to use specifications based on performance to avoid ambiguity and problems between all involved parties.