Saudi Arabia has been having many issues with large construction projects such as delays, low performance and high cost. Some studies show that around 70% of the public projects in Saudi Arabia are delayed. These issues have resulted from many factors. One of the factors believed to be delaying projects is the Saudi procurement system. The Saudi procurement system only selects contracts based on the lowest bid price offered. However, the Saudi procurement system has been found to not only produce delayed low quality projects, but also has resulted in higher costs.
This paper shows how to modify the Saudi procurement system by implementing a clarification phase, which is the most important phase in the Performance Information Procurement System (PIPS). The clarification phase requires the bid’s winning contractor to submit a project scope, a project schedule, to identify risks that not their responsibility, performance measurements and a milestone schedule. The PIPS system has been one of the most successful systems around the world and has shown a 98% success rate in six different countries with risks and cost reductions up to 30%.
This research conducted a survey of 157 engineers, 33 consultants, 9 owners, 5 vendors, 13 academics, and 28 architects to develop the public procurement system in Saudi Arabia. The participants work in government sectors with an interest in the Saudi Arabian procurement system. 80.61 % of participants believe that the traditional Saudi procurement system consistently selects poor performing contractors. Moreover, 95.97% of participants think that the selection of contractors based only on the lowest price criterion affects projects negatively. Also, 96.20% of participants in the survey feel that there needs to be a change in the traditional Saudi Arabian procurement system. 88.7% of participants agree to require the contractor to identify risks, and 96.03 % of participants agree that the contractors must have a plan. Moreover, 95.45% of participants agree to require a contractor review the scope of a project and verify that it is correct. Finally, 82.18% of participants agree to require a contractor to resolve all owner concerns before signing a contract to improve construction projects performance. The paper shows the need to change the Saudi procurement system and a solution to this growing problem.