Moderating claims and disputes through collaborative procurement

Taha Elhag*, Smitha Eapen, Tabarak Ballal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
202 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Following the global financial crisis in 2008, the construction sector in UAE has been facing emergent criticisms for growing adversarial culture and rising prevalent claims and disputes between stakeholders. The complex, large size and fast track nature of construction projects in UAE, make project management very challenging under the commonly used traditional procurement routes. This paper aims to examine whether implementing collaborative procurement approaches can facilitate resolving the escalating number of claims and disputes in the UAE construction industry. Design/methodology/approach: Considering the nature of the study, a quantitative method was selected to realize the research objectives. The questionnaire was uploaded using an online survey facility and distributed through e-mails and professional networks. The questionnaire was piloted with experts to assess whether the questions are unambiguous, easy to respond and intelligible. The feedback received was mostly positive with few comments and recommendations. The pilot responses were incorporated and the questionnaire was modified before the final sending out. The questionnaire survey consisted of six main sections to fulfill the research objectives. Findings: Around three-quarters of the experts believe that the relationship is adversarial, with a lack of trust, win-lose attitude, with dismissive and opportunistic behavior. The survey reveals that the top causes of claims and disputes comprise the following: variations because clients initiated change requests; contractors selection on low bid only rather than including quality and performance considerations; and unfair risk allocation where majority of risks are transferred to contractors. The findings also identify eight collaborative practices, which have crucial positive impacts such as early identification of problems, better communication and enhanced trust and teamwork. Originality/value: This research contributes to the enhancement of the management of claims and disputes for construction projects, which encompasses the following: the key characteristics of collaborative arrangements to improve the adversarial construction culture comprise: mutual respect, openness, fairness and non-opportunistic behaviors; the foremost roles of collaborative procurement in reducing claims and disputes embrace: early identification and resolution of problems, enhanced trust and teamwork spirit, improved relationships and better quality communication; the major practical barriers of implementing collaborative approaches incorporate: lack of awareness of their benefits, primitive legal framework of partnering arrangements and lack of transparency in procurement processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number1
Early online date14 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2020


  • Claims
  • Collaborative procurement
  • Cultural change
  • Disputes
  • Traditional systems
  • UAE construction industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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