Comparison of Quebec’s Project Delivery Methods: Relational Contract Law and Differences in Contractual Language

Article de Gabriel Jobidon, Pierre Lemieux et Robert Beauregard

The province of Quebec, Canada, seeks to implement relational alternate project delivery methods to achieve sustainability and energy efficiency in public construction. However, the relational differences between the formal written parts of different delivery methods have yet to be analyzed and understood, as is the case with the relational aspects of contracts and the achievement of sustainable and energy-efficient infrastructure. Using a hermeneutic interpretation of Macneil’s relational contract norms and grounded theory, 26 contracts involving Quebec’s largest public client of vertical infrastructure and representing three different types of project delivery methods (design–bid–build (DBB), design–Build (DB), and construction manager–general contractor/integrated project delivery (CMGC/IPD)) were analyzed using NVivo. It was found that CMGC/IPD is the most relational project delivery method available to Quebec’s public clients, namely because of the public client’s active involvement in the realization process, the increasing complexity of roles, the multitude of common management structures, and the internalization of sustainability measures and conflict resolution. Furthermore, Quebec’s CMGC/IPD was found to be an IPD-ish delivery method, lacking the early involvement of the construction manager and the risk/reward sharing mechanisms necessary to achieve pure IPD status. The findings and theoretical considerations discussed here will help policymakers, contract drafters, and public clients interested in implementing relational contracting practices in public construction projects.