Follow-up study from a seven year performance contract ending in 2010

Robert Karlsson
Carl-Gösta Enocksson

The Swedish Transport Administration aims at improving procurement of road construction and maintenance to create incentives for contractors to develop their skills and efficiency. Introduction of performance requirements is believed to encourage new technical solutions that are more adapted to object specific situations. In order to develop procurement procedures for performance contracts, the Swedish Transport Administration has initiated a number of pilot projects. Pilot project Road N610 included design, construction, maintenance and operation of a new road. It was initiated in 1999 by developing procurement documents and finally opened for traffic in 2003. The bids were evaluated following laws of public procurement based on technical solution, price, organization, quality assurance and references. The winning bid scored about average in these categories. In 2010, the contract ended and the responsibility was handed over from the contractor to the road administration. The requirements were related to both pavement layers (wear resistance, durability, stability) and road surface (friction, rutting, evenness, cross fall, cracking and ravelling). To ensure the long term performance, a requirement was also employed on the road’s structural strength based on a falling weigh deflectometer index. A bonus-malus system was tied to the requirements. The pilot project has been monitored closely and reports have been issued from the development of procurement documents and from the procurement and construction phases. This paper report experience gained with emphasis on the technical outcome. Observations from the construction stage and data from verification of performance confirm that the contractor has taken necessary measures to meet requirements and consequently adapted the pavement design and construction during the whole contract period to minimize costs and risks. A number of issues are identified with respect to future improvements in procurement procedures. A major client risk in performance contracts is related to ensuring long term performance at acceptable costs for maintenance and to identify responsibilities for inferior performance.

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