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The impact of the recent economic recession on the  operation of the NEC contract in Northern Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-08, 14:44 authored by Tara Brooks, JOHN SPILLANEJOHN SPILLANE, Paul Tansey, Caroline Hendron

In May 2006, the New Engineering Contract (NEC) contract was introduced as the preferred contract for Northern Ireland public sector works. This was subsequently followed by the 2007 economic crash and ensuing recession, which continues to affect the Northern Ireland Construction Industry, to a greater extent than the remainder of the United Kingdom. However, use of the NEC contract has increased during this period, particularly in the public sector. There has been debate in the literature regarding the impact of the NEC contract on adversarial behaviour, but little consideration of the impact of external economic factors on the use of the NEC contract. Using a sequential mixed method approach, the study aims to fill this gap in knowledge through examination of the impact the economic downturn has had on the operation of the NEC contract in Northern Ireland. Qualitative and quantitative findings show that the demands placed by the NEC contract, and the effects of the economic recession, have exerted opposing forces on contract implementation, thus hindering its execution. The findings can lead to a deeper understanding, in the context of both industry and academia, of situations where a lack of resources may negatively impact the operation of the NEC contract.



Construction Management and Economics, 34 (6), pp 393-417


Taylor and Francis


This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in the Construction Management and Economics, 2016 copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:

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