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Sustainability performance measurement framework for PFI projects in the UK

Purpose – The relationship between sustainable development and private finance initiative (PFI) procurement systems is clarified, and the current debate on the effectiveness of PFI in the UK and the benefits of PFI to deliver sustainable construction is reviewed. The study develops a sustainability assessment framework encompassing environmental, economic, social and technical aspects through the life cycle of the procurement process. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – A comprehensive literature review develops a conceptual sustainability performance indicators framework. A national questionnaire survey measures existing PFI projects' sustainability performance level. Findings – The study provides empirical insights about key performance indicators of sustainable PFI project development and a benchmarking for existing PFI project performance measurement. It suggests that successful sustainable PFI projects should integrate technical aspects into the traditional three dimensions sustainability model and achieve a balance between social and economic performance. Research limitations/implications – Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack in-depth analysis of individual projects. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the framework further. Practical implications – The sustainability indicator framework proposed in this paper is readily applicable in PFI projects, as well as other types of PPP projects. Originality/value – This paper fulfils an identified need to study how the sustainability performance levels achieved could be effectively measured within PFI/PPP projects; while contributing to the debate on benchmarking and measuring sustainability performance in construction.


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