Raising risk awareness in multi-criteria design decisions for integrated design and construction tenders

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Awareness of design risks is essential for preparing integrated design and construction tenders as decisions in this phase can have serious consequences once the project is awarded. The practice of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) promises to support contractors in dealing with risks in the decision-making process. However, due to limited time and resources in a tender, risks involved in design alternatives are often overlooked and the selection of alternatives is mainly based on the decision-makers’ knowledge and experience. This raises the question how decision makers can become aware of the risks in the tender phase of projects. Following a design science research approach three interventions to raise risk awareness are identified and validated in the context of an infrastructure tender in the Netherlands. These interventions are (1) a general list of defined criteria to identify those criteria that correspond with the characteristics of the tender; (2) mapping identified project risks on criteria and assign a bandwidth score; (3) evaluation of the quality of the decision process by scoring elements of decision quality. Based on these interventions three design rules are proposed to increase the transparency of decision problems and the understanding of choices and, by doing so, create awareness for risks involved in design alternatives.