A Master of Science thesis in Civil Engineering by Maryam Wasef Al Nabulsi entitled, “Developing a Model for Selecting Smart Contractors”, submitted in May 2021. Thesis advisor is Dr. Sameh El-Sayegh. Soft copy is available (Thesis, Completion Certificate, Approval Signatures, and AUS Archives Consent Form).
The recent advances in the construction industry, in terms of the use of automation and technology, necessitate the need for smart contractors who are capable of delivering construction projects successfully. Selection of incompetent contractors may jeopardize achieving project’s objectives. Current contractor selection methods focus on selecting the lowest bidder. However, the lowest bidder may not be equipped with the right tools and smart practices, which increases the risks of project failure. This thesis aims to develop a new bidding model for contractor’s selection that integrates the use of the smart practices and the original bid price. Sixteen smart construction practices were identified through review of related literature. These were categorized into four groups. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to construction professionals to assess the importance of these practices. Sixty responses were received. The weights of these practices were assessed using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The most essential selection group is the “Smart Construction Process” group with a global weight of 0.366, followed by the “Smart Organization” group (0.321), the “Smart Construction Support” group (0.204) and lastly, the “Smart Office Support” group (0.139). The top five smart practices are: smart construction methods (0.140), smart vision (0.126), smart strategy (0.112), smart construction material (0.079) and smart communication (0.077). The average value of the smart construction practices relative to the total construction costs of the project was found to be 30%. This shows the high value that experts place on smart practices. A new A+SC model is proposed, where A represents the bid price and SC represents the monetary value of smart practices. The value of smart practices is considered as a negative value to act as an incentive for contractors. The owner selects the bidder with the lowest Total Combined Bid (TCB). The proposed model motivates contractors to implement smart construction practices to reduce their TCB and increase their chances of winning bids. The development of such model will immensely help the decision makers in selecting the most qualified and smart bidders. A hypothetical case study was performed to validate the proposed model and demonstrate its use.