Qualitative study of design-build contracts (study 1) and integrated contracts (study 2)

Funding: The Swedish Transport Administration, Formas and ProcSIBE

Project duration:

Study 1, 2016-2019 (PhD project)

Study 2, 2016-2018

Project description:


Letting contractors be responsible for both design and construction stages through Design-Build (DB) contracts, based on functional requirements, has been the main component of the Swedish Transport Administrations new procurement strategies. The aim is to procure 50 percent of all projects as DB contracts to achieve greater long-term productivity by promoting short-term efficiency and long-term innovation through increased responsibility and commitment from the suppliers. A large amount of DB contracts, and also a few integrated contracts (involving design, construction, and maintenance), have already been procured within this changed management process. Therefore, it is important to study and evaluate a number of these contracts to identify used procurement strategies and the consequences these have entailed.


The objective of the research study is to investigate how the new procurement strategies are implemented, how they work in practice but also how they influence project results. The objective is achieved by evaluating the experience of, but also the consequences from, the procurement strategies in a number of completed DB contracts and integrated contracts. This study is divided into two sub-studies where Study 1 will evaluate a number of DB contracts whereas Study 2 will conduct a follow up of completed integrated contracts in Sweden. A comparative study with integrated contracts performed in Netherlands will also be conducted within Study 2.


The aim of the study is to increase knowledge about how procurement strategies should be designed for different types of contracts to promote various aspects of project results, such as short-term efficiency and long-term innovation. Results from the conducted research also intended to be used to update and further develop guidelines and procurement strategies at the Swedish Transport Administration.

Research methods

The studies are primarily based on qualitative methods involving document studies and interviews with respondents representing the client, the design consultant, the main contractor, and key subcontractors. Furthermore, both studies include international benchmarking since it is critical to collaborate with, and adopt best practices from, public infrastructure clients in other countries such as the Netherlands, the UK and Norway, who all have initiated transitions towards increased focus on innovation and sustainable development.

Participants and contacts:

Project manager: Per Erik Eriksson, Lulea University of Technology

Other participants: Johan Larsson, Lulea University of Technology (responsible for study 1)

Sofia Lingegård, Royal Institute of Technology (responsible for study 2)

Anna-Therése Järvenpää, PhD student for study 1

Leentje Volker, Delfts University of Technology (Netherlands)






Participating universities