Making Performance Happen in the Construction Industry Using Collaborative Working Agreements

Introduction

It can be fairly stated that the early 1990s were probably not the best time for the construction industries in Australia,the United Kingdom as well as the United States. In Australia major construction companies came and went and mergers of well-established Australian construction companies with German builders seemed to be the norm. The Australian construction boom with the large number of apartments in overbuilt markets; overheated economies, overextended developers and, let us not forget simple greed and mismanagement, led to a significant decline in construction volume. It cannot be understated that the value the of construction industry on each local economy is considerable, for example construction accounts for 4 % of Australian GDP, 8% of GDP in the UK and 5% of GDPin the US.

It could be argued that the decline of the construction industry in the mid-nineties in all three markets can be easily laid at the door of the flow on effect from the US of ever increasing litigation as much as anything else has played amajor role. Poor project briefs, adversarial tendering practices all had their part to play as well. In Australia, disputessurrounding major projects have been the subject of much debate in other forums. Late delivery and over budget seemed to the cynics amongst us, as the norm

Whether the claims explosion of the '80s and early '90s was a cause, symptom, or effect of the construction industriesother difficulties is for others to sort out; what is certain is that in the UK, Australia and New Zealand the industry'sfactiousness cannot have helped to ameliorate an already declining situation.

Studying these failures, one could examine a number of possible explanations for this phenomenon. Undoubtedly, there are many opinions: high interest rates in the early to mid-eighties, inflation, severe competition for fewer projects, margin slashing and out of control speculation, the lack of infrastructure projects in all countries; can all take their place in the line of suspects. Certainly, however, poor project organization a lack of attention to the detailin architectural design, poor project structure, communication, and execution may be identified anecdotally as a keyfactor in many claim-ridden projects.

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