It is not uncommon in the UK and international construction markets that contractual negotiations, particularly over terms and conditions, commence on an adversarial footing. Parties often concern themselves with their respective obligations and identifying the liabilities that each bears (or doesn’t bear). Indeed, the majority of the industry's standard form contracts are structured on such a basis. This attitude often continues long after the agreement is signed and can have a negative effect on the project in terms of the participants' relationships, well-being and, ultimately, the successful attainment of the project's objectives.
A means of moving away from this potentially destructive approach is to foster a more collaborative experience through alliancing. In his seminal report Rethinking construction (1998), Sir John Egan observed that the most successful enterprises do not fragment their operations. In alliances, contracting parties are encouraged to work towards a set of agreed goals through a series of processes and avoid oppositional behaviours and practices.
This section examines the concepts behind alliancing, its key features and how to use it successfully. It also considers quasi-alliance and hybrid alternatives which may have similar or overlapping aims. It concludes with a short summary of the themes discussed.