Comparative performance of healthcare and transport PFI projects: Empirical study on the influence of key factors

Christian Henjewele, Ming Sun, Peter Fewings

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Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has been used on many projects in the UK in the delivery of public services. Cost, time and risk performance in public projects was anticipated to be improved by the superior skills of the private sector. So far, there are limited empirical studies on the life cycle performance of PFI projects, especially performance comparison between different sectors. This study investigated and compared variations in costs, time, and client requirements tracking it through the strategic business case stage to the operational phase in healthcare and transport sectors. It explored the influence of sector-specific factors, project size and maturity of the PFI on these variations. It used documentary analysis of full business cases of five PFI projects and a questionnaire survey of 44 PFI projects in the UK. The findings reveal that there are still considerable cost and time overruns and requirement changes in PFI projects in both sectors over the development of the project and its early use. The health sector was better than the transport sector for time overruns but was worse on costs. Smaller-value projects outperformed larger projects on cost variations but underperformed on time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-87
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number1
Early online date16 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Private finance initiatives
  • Variations
  • Value for money
  • PFI maturity


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