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Conference paper

Construction sector policy makers have the opportunity to create improvements and develop economic, social and environmental sustainability through supply chain economics. The idea of the supply chain concept to improve firm behaviour and industry performance is not new. However there has been limited application and little or no measurement to monitor successful implementation. Often purchasing policies have been developed with sound strategic procurement principles but even these have had limited penetration in to the processes and practices of infrastructure agencies.

The research reported in this paper documents an action research study currently being undertaken in the Australian construction sector which aims to explore supply chain economic policy implementation for sectoral change by two government agencies.

The theory which informs this study is the emerging area of construction supply chain economics. There are five stages to the project including; demand analysis, chain analysis, government agency organizational audit, supplier strategy and strategic alignment. The overall objective is towards the development of a Supplier Group Strategy Map for two public sector agencies.

Two construction subsectors are examined in detail; construction and demolition waste and precast concrete. Both of these subsectors are critical to the economic and environmental sustainability performance of the construction sector and the community as a whole in the particular jurisdictions. The local and state government agencies who are at the core of the case studies rely individually on the performance of these sectors.

The study is set within the context of a sound state purchasing policy that has however, had limited application by the two agencies. Partial results of the study are presented and early findings indicate that the standard risk versus expenditure procurement model does not capture the complexities of project, owner and government risk considerations. A new model is proposed in this paper, which incorporates the added dimension of time.

The research results have numerous stakeholders; they will hold particular value for those interested in regional construction sector economics, government agencies who develop and implement policy and who have a large construction purchasing imprint and the players involved in the two subsectors. Even though this is a study in Australia it has widespread applicability as previous research indicates that procurement reform is of international significance and policy implementation is problematic.

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