Investigating the Performance of Relational Contracts using Social Network Analysis


Construction projects are generally characterized by their evolving complexity where any given project would include-among other reasons-multiparty relationships and numerous transactions. Managing these relationships is often complicated further by the traditional contractual approaches, which diverge the focus of involved parties away from the project main goals and promote individualism among the associated parties. Hence, relational contracts were introduced in an attempt to align the goal of the different parties to enhance the multi-party interactions, communication, and collaboration. This study presents a simulated model-based comparative analysis between two of the main relational contracts standard forms in the U.S. and the U.K.; namely, (1) the Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) Project Partnering Contract PPC2000, and (2) the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Document C191–2009, Standard Form Multi-Party Agreement for Integrated Project Delivery. The performance of the various processes defined in these two forms was graphically and computationally analyzed using social network analysis (SNA). Employing SNA is an innovative approach to model and analyze the expected interactions among the involved parties under each contractual setting. In this study, UCINET 6 for Windows was used to analyze the network data for the change orders process according to the provisions of each contract form. Metrics such as adjacency, degree centrality, and closeness centrality were insightful in providing a deeper understanding of the expected level of collaboration and involvement among the involved parties at each step of the change order process. Meanwhile the processes in both forms promote direct communication among most of the key parties, the results of graphical and computational analysis favored PPC2000 form over C191 form in terms of the clarity of change orders procedures and in terms of the general results of connectivity and centrality. The results also demonstrated that PPC2000 placed significant emphasis on the client and its representative, while C191 placed more emphasis on the architect. This study builds a substantiated foundation for developing a more effective relational contract that capitalizes on the pros of the available contracts while mitigating their deficiencies. This should promote a more efficient and effective contracting environment.

Meeting Name

ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering 2017 (2017: Jun. 25-27, Seattle, WA)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Comparative studies; Graphic methods; Computing in civil engineering; Architects; Network analysis; Social network; Change orders; Contracts

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

27 Jun 2017

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