The Prevailing Procurement System as a Source of Waste in Construction: A Case Study

Saad Sarhan1, Christine Pasquire2, Alan Mossman3 & Alan Hayes4

1Lecturer / Programme Leader in Construction Management, Lincoln School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Lincoln, LN6 7TS, Tel: +44 (0)1522 83 5395, [email protected]
2Professor of Lean Project Management, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, NG1 4BU, Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2095, [email protected]
3Director, The Change Business Ltd, 19 Piccadilly, Stroud, GL5 1HB, UK; +44 7968 485 627, [email protected]
4Director, Really Good Ideas Ltd, The Old Counting House, 82E High Street, Wallingford OX10 0BS, United Kingdom, [email protected]


Prevailing project procurement processes and strategies are thought to be the root cause for many of the reported criticisms of the construction industry, such as lack of trust and collaboration and short term adversarial and transactional relationships. However, very few studies have sought to examine the relationship between the organisational, commercial and institutional environments influencing construction procurement and the generation of process waste in construction projects. This study addresses this gap in knowledge by providing findings from a case study of a major UK infrastructure project. The study identifies a number of prevailing, yet counterproductive, procurement and contractual governance practices that lead to a ‘network of causal wastes’. The study provides a conceptual model which exposes the complex, dynamic, interconnectedness and reciprocal nature of waste at the procurement and supply-chain level. The authors believe that this is the first study to expose the nature of waste at this level of analysis. It uses an integrated grounded theory case-study methodology that is demonstrably effective and can be useful for supporting studies seeking to investigate the concept of waste within the construction procurement context. The study concludes by suggesting that future studies focus on pre-procurement processes.


Procurement; Waste; Institutions; Contractual Governance; Grounded Theory



Sarhan, S. , Pasquire, C. , Mossman, A. & Hayes, A. 2019, 'The Prevailing Procurement System as a Source of Waste in Construction: A Case Study' In:, Proc. 27th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC). Dublin, Ireland, 3-5 Jul 2019. pp 133-144

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