Early contractor involvement (ECI): ways to do it in public projects
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose Early contractor involvement (ECI) faces many barriers because it differs from traditional business practices. Public owners, especially, face a major challenge because they must comply with international and national legislation. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that illustrates the various approaches that public project owners can take to implement ECI. Design/methodology/approach In addition to a literature review, three groups of case studies were carried out. The case studies were based on 54 semi-structured in-depth interviews with key personnel from 21 Norwegian public projects and document study. Findings In all, 25 approaches to ECI were identified during the research. Twelve of these were used in the cases studied. Social implications There are several approaches to ECI that are suitable for public owners. However, the contractor’s contribution depends on which approach is implemented and how it is implemented. Originality/value As original contribution, this study presents a novel framework that defines options for implementing ECI in public projects. Furthermore, this paper provides insights on how ECI can be implemented in public projects based on Norwegian experiences. Although the empirical data of the study is limited to Norwegian public projects, this study contributes to knowledge about how to implement ECI internationally.