Delivering Value for Money in Major Infrastructure Projects – Building Client Capabilities in the Public Sector

Department: Real Estate and Construction
Active Dates: January 2014 - December 2016

Principal Investigator: Roine LEIRINGER (PI); Steve ROWLINSON (Co-I)
Funding body: GRF


This research project examines the role of the public sector bodies that are charged with the acquisition of infrastructure assets. In particular, it investigates what the most appropriate role for public sector organisations as clients for infrastructure asset acquisition projects is; and seeks to establish what ‘mix’ of capabilities they require to ensure the effective definition and delivery of their projects. The research need is qualified on the basis of three observations. First, cost and time overruns have become close to inherent features on large infrastructure projects. Second, public sector clients are increasingly being asked to do more for less, i.e. produce more public value with fewer resources. Third, the pressures on resources in combination with changes in the organisation of the public sector at large have led to the outsourcing of client capabilities, in order to achieve slimmer client organisations. The research takes as its point of departure that public sector clients need the capability to manage the projects that they promote. The findings promise to support clients in establishing organisational structures and procedures based on a suitable mix of capabilities necessary to realise their objectives. They also contribute to the academic literatures on organisational capabilities, procurement and project management.


  1. Find the most appropriate role for public sector clients in large infrastructure asset acquisition projects.
  2. Establish what ‘mix’ that project-related capabilities public sector clients require to ensure the effective and efficient definition and delivery of different types of major projects.
  3. Develop a set of managerial principles that can help public sector clients decide on the most appropriate level and mix of capabilities for managing the projects they sponsor.


  • Winch, G.M. and Leiringer, R. (2016). Owner project capabilities for infrastructure development: A review and development of the “strong owner” concept. International Journal of Project Management, 34(2), 271-281.
  • Adukpo, S. and Leiringer, R. (2016) Developing ‘Owner Project Capabilities’ for Public Sector Clients Delivering Infrastructure Projects: A Dynamic Capabilities Approach. Accepted for CIB World Building Congress 2016, Tampere, Finland. June 2016.
Enlarge Photo: Delivering Value for Money in Major Infrastructure Projects – Building Client Capabilities in the Public Sector 1