Subcontracts in the UK construction industry : an investigation into the root causes of disputes

Milner, A 2019, Subcontracts in the UK construction industry : an investigation into the root causes of disputes , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Subcontracting practice under a traditional procurement route in the UK construction industry is the dominant method by which construction work is carried out, using mainly discrete classical subcontracts. Inevitably, this method has a paramount function in the delivery of successful construction projects. However, construction disputes between main contractors and subcontractors are a widespread occurrence. The cost of disputes is significant; they reduce profits, affect productivity, are often time consuming, and damage relationships, sometimes irrevocably. Empirical exploration of the root causes of disputes is not new. However, disputes remain prevalent and entrenched in the industry, and consequently the need for further research is fundamental to understand and prevent disputes. The aim of this research study is to identify and evaluate the potential root causes of disputes that arise between main contractors and subcontractors in the application of subcontract documents in the UK construction industry. A qualitative approach to the research study is adopted under an interpretative paradigm, using data collected from construction dispute cases within professional practice in the form of distinctive practice-based inquiries, and interviews of participants from main contractor and subcontractor organisations. The findings show that there is no unique feature of a subcontractual relationship which will guarantee the absence of disputes. Likewise, it is not possible to identify a single universal root cause or causes of disputes. At best, it may be feasible to identify the root causes pertaining to an individual dispute relative to a specific construction project, but as the research shows given the complexity associated with each project relationship even that task is beset with uncertainty. Potential solutions to the successful formation and implementation of subcontracts to overcome the subcontracting pitfalls and mitigate disputes are provided.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: A Milner
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 13:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:29

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