A Framework to Improve the Performance of Public Tender Evaluation Procedures in New Zealand
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One of the vital factors that contribute to the success of a project is the selection of an appropriate contractor. Contractors play a major role in projects. However, choosing the best contractor for construction projects has been one of the significant challenges which aroused a lot of concerns and discussions. Concurrent with the recent development in construction, there has been increasing interest in tender evaluation management in this sector. However, the decision-making problem is multi-criteria in the formulation. It contains different variables require clients to make judgements between competing objectives and limited resources. One of the common failures associated with construction projects were attributed to inefficient tools to properly measure contractors before awarding the contract. This study investigates the nature of the tender evaluation procedures in the New Zealand public construction sector and suggests a possible framework that could improve the performance of contractor selection practices. The study employed mixed-method approach starting with conducting ten semi-structured interviews with construction experts in the Auckland region. Based on the results obtained, an online survey was later administered to a wider population across New Zealand. The findings of these two phases then resulted in developing a tender evaluation framework for the New Zealand public construction sector. The information gathered from previous approaches were then synthesised and validated using subject matter expert interviews. The study results illustrated the absence of a formalised framework that can evaluate and select contractors appropriately. With this in mind, the literature review of this research explored the key components of tender evaluation processes. Different evaluation methods including mathematical, AI and hybrid approaches were reviewed, and a comprehensive list of advantages and disadvantages of each method was provided. Furthermore, the study demonstrated that some challenges such as over workload, low productivity and inappropriate risk allocation practices are affecting the construction tender evaluation processes in New Zealand. Thus, this research proposed a comprehensive tender evaluation framework consists of three stages of (1) market analysis, (2) criteria selection and (3) tender evaluation protocols. The market analysis stage includes vital information to assist public clients and decision-makers in their pretender procedures, including; plan approach to the market, specifying the project requirements and project management planning. The second stage consists of the identification of the most suitable attributes to be evaluated in the tender. A list of criteria with 20 categories and 178 criteria was established in this stage to assist decision-makers in finding the best set of attributes based on the project specifications. The final stage of the framework is the evaluation process, which consists of a hybrid approach using AHP and TOPSIS methods. On the whole, the study provided rich and in-depth information on current tender evaluation protocols in New Zealand and emphasised on the benefits of using modern decision-making tools. It is anticipated that this research will improve the current public tendering procedures in New Zealand public construction sector. Finally, the study reported here adds significantly to the understanding of contemporary perceptions on contractor selection processes in the New Zealand construction industry.