Upgrade the Saudi Arabian Procurement System Delivery Method

Authors: Ahmed Alofi (M.S.), Yasir Alhammadi (M.S.), Dean Kashiwagi (PhD), Jacob Kashiwagi (PhD) and Kenneth Sullivan (PhD)


Saudi Arabia has had many issues in delivering mega construction projects, such as delays, high costs, and low customer satisfaction. Some studies show that around 70% of public projects in Saudi Arabia are delayed. One factor that might be causing these performance issues is the traditional low bid contracting system in Saudi Arabia, or the Saudi procurement system. In Saudi Arabia, owners select contractors based only upon the lowest price. This paper researched ways to modify the current Saudi procurement system and show quick and simple modifications that can be done to improve the low performance. This research proposes that by adding the clarification phase from the Performance Information Procurement System (PIPS) to the Saudi traditional procurement process could greatly improve construction performance. The clarification phase requires the selected contractor to submit a project scope, detailed and milestone schedule, potential risks that they do not control, and performance measurement before a contract is awarded. The PIPS system is one of the most successful systems around the world, which shows success rate of 98% in six different countries with risk and cost reduction up to 30%. The clarification phase has been identified as the most important step in the PIPS to ensuring a successful project. This paper conducted a survey among construction professionals in Saudi Arabia, including 157 engineers, 33 consultants 9 owners, 5 vendors, 13 academics, and 28 architects, in order to develop the public procurement system in Saudi Arabia. The participants work in government sectors with an interest in the Saudi Arabian procurement system. The survey confirmed that professionals in the Saudi construction industry believe that the procurement system should be changed and that the inclusion of the clarification phase to the procurement system is a way to improve the procurement system.

Keywords: Design-bid-build, delays, Saudi Arabia, Best Value, contractors’ solation.