Structuring of early design decisions in large infrastructure tenders - how to find the optimal design solution?

Jeroen van der Meer, Andreas Hartmann, A.Q.C. van der Horst, Geert P.M.R. Dewulf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Decision making in the tender phase of large infrastructural projects is a complex task for contractors as they have to make design decisions with long term effects and based on complex client requirements. Further complexity is added by the constrained environment of a tender and the uncertainty of winning the tender. As the context and the project are unique, there are no standard models for organizing the decision making during a tender. The introduction of Systems Engineering (SE) in the construction industry has led to a more structured way of working, but the application of the methods in the tender phase does not provide a suitable structure for organizing the decision making. As a result contractors struggle with designing an optimal design solution that will convince the client but will also reduce the risks associated with the construction and maintenance of the solution. In this paper we explore the implementation difficulties of SE in a large infrastructural tender. We report our initial findings of this in-depth single case study comprising document studies and open interviews with the tender team. We found that the allocation of design responsibilities between subsystems hampers cooperation for the integration of design and that the used SE approach lacks guidance for organizing a collaborative design process. We make propositions for further research and recommendations based on these initial findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the engineering project organization (EPOC 2013)
Subtitle of host publication9-11 July 2013, Winter Park, Colorado
EditorsPatricia Carrillo, Paul Chinowsky
Place of PublicationWinterpark, CO
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2013
EventEngineering Project Organization Conference 2013 - Winter Park, United States
Duration: 9 Jul 201311 Jul 2013

Publication series

NameWorking Paper Proceedings


ConferenceEngineering Project Organization Conference 2013
Abbreviated titleEPOC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWinter Park
Internet address


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