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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A risk identification framework and tool for large infrastructure public private partnership delivery Nelms, Cheryl


Large public sector infrastructure projects are often characterized by a broad scope and capital dollar size, dynamic stakeholder and governance network, high project risk profile, long planning and procurement timelines, and high visibility to the public and political partisans. The number and breadth of risks during the planning and procurement phases that can delay project go-ahead or cause its ultimate cancelation are significant and thus require the utmost attention for successful delivery. The goal of this research was to improve risk management as it is applied in the delivery of large civil infrastructure with particular emphasis on the planning and procurement phases of public private partnerships and risks mainly internal to the client, in this case, the public sector organizations (e.g. end user and delivery organizations) involved. The research focused on developing a risk management framework, support tools and an improved research prototype that introduces the concept of characterizing different aspects of a project to improve the identification of risks and their related drivers, and elicitation of expert opinion of risk properties. Understanding the unique characteristics of public sector large infrastructure project delivery was central in achieving this research goal and aspects were described in each of the chapters through case studies, observations and both formal and informal interviews with senior practitioners. The objectives of the thesis are summarized under three broad research themes: (1) Risk management practices and challenges in large infrastructure public projects; (2) Approaches to support elicitation of risk information to improve risk management processes; and, (3) Developing and gauging the effectiveness of a prototype integrated risk management tool. Thesis contributions are related to: (a) processes and risks encountered in the delivery of a public sector large infrastructure project in the planning and procurement phases; (b) strengths and weaknesses of the practitioner processes applied to carry out risk management in large infrastructure projects; (c) the multi-dimensionality of stakeholders involved in public sector project delivery; and (d) concepts and constructs developed to improve risk identification and the elicitation of expert opinion tasks applied in a prototype computer system.

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