Relationship Contracting: The South Australian Experience - A Case Study

Jian Zou
George Zillante


The construction industry has long been accusedof poor performance. The confrontational attitudeof its members and the resultant adversarial atmosphere has been identified as a major factor responsible for this poor performance. A cultural change is required to remove these barriers and to promote optimum project outcomes. Relationship contracting is promoted as a way to support the shift from the adversarial culture to the co-operative and collaborative culture within the industry and the project team.The Adelaide Convention Centre Extensions project was the first in South Australia to be procure und r the principles of relationship contract1ng. Usmg the case study approach, this paper reviews the form of relationship contracting used in this milestone project. The paper documents the lessons learned from this project and makes recommendations that can lead to improvements for future projects.

Full Text:



'$3.3bn boon for the state'2005, The Advertiser, p. 28.

Australian Constructors Association. 1999, Relationship contracting : optimising project outcomes, The Association, Sydney, N.S.W.

Australia National Audit Office 2001, Contract Management: Better Practice Guide, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Carr, J & Exton, D 2004, 'Lyell McEwin Health Service Redevelopment Stage A: Case study', paper presented at the Clients Driving Innovation International Conference 2004, 25- 27 October 2004, Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Christensen, D. and Walker, D. H. T. 2004. 'Understanding the Role of ''Vision in Project Success', Project Management Journal. vol. 35, no.3, pp.39-52."

Davis, P.R.(2004) 'Relationship Development in Construction Partner Selection', COBRA 2004, The international construction research conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 7-8 September 2004, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Davis, P.R. (2006) 'Relationship Development in Project Alliances', Presentation in the Austral an Institute of Project Management (AIPM) Semmar, 5 May 2006, Perth, Australia.

Department for Administrative and Information Services (DAIS) 2001, Adelaide Convention Centre Extensions project Completion Report, unpublished, Adelaide, South Australia.

Egan, J 1998, Rethinking construction : the report of the Construction Task Force to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, on the scope for improving the quality and efficiency of UK construction, Dept. of the Environment Transport and the Regions, London.

Latham, M 1994, Constructing the Team, HMSO, London.

Lynn, G. S. 1999. 'An Exploratory Study of Project Vision: Its Components and Impact on Innovation Success', International Journal of Innovation Management. vol.3, no.1, pp. 91-110.

Lynn, G. S. and Akgun, A. E. 2001. 'Project Visioning: Its components and impact on new product success', The Journal of Product Innovation Management. vol.18, no.6, pp.374-387.

Quick, R 2002, 'Introduction to Alliancing and Relationship Contracting', paper presented at the QLS/BAQ Symposium 2002 - Session K, Construction Law, Queensland, Australia, 02March 2002.

Ross, J 2001, Introduction to Project Alliancing (on Engineering and Construction Projects), viewed 12 Oct 2005, null


Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry 2002, Overview of the Nature and Operation of the Building and Construction Industry, .

Rawlinson, S & Cheung, FYK 2004, 'A Review of the Concepts and Definitions of the Various Forms of Relational Contracting', paper presented at the International Symposium of the CIB W92 on Procurement Systems: Project Procurement for Infrastructure Constuction", 7-10 January, 2004, Chennai, India."

The Public Works Committee 1999a, Adelaide Convention Centre Extension: Final Report, Adelaide, South Australia.

The Public Works Committee 1999b, Agency Submission to The Public Works Committee of The Parliament of South Australia for the proposed Extensions to Adelaide Convention Centre, updated July 1999, viewed October 2005, .

The Public Works Committee 2000, Official Hansard Report on the Adelaide Convention Centre Extensions project, 17 May 2000, Old Parliament House, Adelaide, South Australia.

Walker, DHT, Hampson, K & Peters, R 2002, 'Project alliancing vs project partnering: a case study of the Australian National Museum Project', Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 83- 91.

Walker, D. H. T. and Hampson, K. D. 2003. Procurement Strategies: A Relationship Based Approach.Oxford Blackwell.