Multi-tier subcontracting practices in Hong Kong building services industry

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Multi-tier subcontracting practices in Hong Kong building services industry

 

Author: Ngai, Chun Kit
Title: Multi-tier subcontracting practices in Hong Kong building services industry
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2012
Subject: Subcontracting -- China -- Hong Kong.
Construction industry -- China -- Hong Kong -- Subcontracting.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building Services Engineering
Pages: 93 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2551446
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6859
Abstract: Multi-tier subcontracting system is widely adopted within the construction industry of Hong Kong. Its use is advantageous in certain aspects, such as better efficiency of subcontract work execution through specialization. Previous research that explored reasons for project quality problems found multi-tier subcontracting one of the causes for poor project performance, which include, besides poor work quality, poor communication and coordination, project delays, increased costs, etc. Poor subcontractor performance, in turn, was due to poor subcontractor management. However, only very limited research works have been done on detailed analysis of the operation of local subcontracting practice and the role of subcontractors at every tier within the multi-tier subcontracting system. An investigation has been conducted to fill this knowledge gap, which included questionnaire and interview surveys for collecting the needed information for a review of the operation of the subcontracting practices of local subcontractors at different levels in the multi-tiered system, as well as the causes of adverse consequences of multi-tier subcontracting. The study focused on subcontracting of building services installation works in local construction projects. The considerations and preferences of subcontractors at different levels in deciding whether and how to further subcontract their works, and the changes in the roles of subcontractors with the level they are at, were examined. The study unveiled three common practices of local subcontractors in splitting up work for further subcontracting, namely "area/zone-wise", "system-wise" and "skill-wise". It was found that the role of each level of subcontractor had no duplication. A picture of the strategy of tender price estimation and the associated cost distribution among subcontractors at different levels in a single project was gathered on the basis of the information collected. The findings of this study shed light on how multi-tier subcontracting can be beneficially utilized, with efficient subcontractor coordination and management within the multi-tier subcontracting system being the crucial factors. All parties of a construction project, including the developer, Main Contractor, and subcontractors, may benefit from multi-tier subcontracting.

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