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Last edited 20 Jan 2023
Traditional procurement method
 What is the traditional procurement route?
The traditional procurement route involves separating design from construction. The client first appoints consultants to design the project in detail (and often to ensure cost control and inspect the construction works as they proceed), and a contractor is then appointed for the construction of the project on a single-stage competitive basis.The contractor’s responsibilities include workmanship, materials and work undertaken by suppliers and subcontractors. They are not responsible for the design (other than temporary works), although some traditional contracts may allow the contractor to design specific parts of the works.
Traditional procurement is typically undertaken under a lump sum contract. A single ‘lump sum’ price for all the works is agreed before the works begin, then stage payments are made as the works proceed. This is appropriate where the project is well defined when tenders are sought, and significant changes to requirements are unlikely. This allows the contractor to accurately price the works they are being asked to carry out.
 How popular is the traditional procurement route?
- Traditional procurement 46%
- Design and build 41%
- Partnering / alliancing 3%
- Construction management 3%
- Contractor approved without any tender process 2%
- Measured term 1%
- PFI / PPP 1%
- Cost plus 1%
- Management contracting 1%
 When is the traditional procurement route appropriate?
The traditional procurement route is generally suitable where the client wishes to retain control over decisions relating to the design and quality of the project. However, a full package of detailed information is required before a contractor can be appointed, and this can make it slower and more expensive than some other forms of procurement. It also means that the contractor is not involved in the design decisions, and so it can result in issues with buildability.
 What are the key characteristics of the traditional procurement route?
- Consultants retaining control over design and quality. This may result in a higher standard of project than some other procurement routes.
- Consultants are responsible for valuations and agreeing payments.
- The contractor generally has no design duties, but where this is necessary for some aspect of a project, the contract should include clear wording to this effect.
- There must be adequate time before tenders are invited to allow for the production of a complete set of drawings and other documents. This means the traditional procurement route may be slower than some other routes.
- Contractors may submit claims if they do not receive the timely instructions and information, or if changes are made.
- The traditional method – or adaptations of it – can be used with approximate quantities, provisional sums or cost reimbursements where the nature or quantity of work cannot be accurately defined.
For other methods see: Procurement routes.
- Appointing consultants.
- Bill of quantities.
- Construction contract.
- Contract conditions.
- Notifications during construction works
- Procurement route.
- Temporary works.
- Tender documentation.
- Traditional contract for construction
- Traditional contract: outline work plan.
- Traditional contract - pros and cons.
- Two-stage tender.
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