Megaprojects in Construction

Assignment One:




Economics and



Megaprojects in Construction


This Assignment is principally about the Procurement of large scale

infrastructure projects but also the economic issues surrounding this.

Much of the early research on this area was carried out by Bent Flyvbjerg

who coined the term, Megaprojects, to describe a particular category of



The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) describes

megaprojects as being characterised by “extreme complexity (both in

technical and human terms) and by a long record of poor delivery“.


Megaprojects in Construction


Flyvbjerg suggests the following hierarchy of projects:


Megaprojects are those whose cost currently is measured in billions of



Major Projects (cost expressed in hundreds of millions of US$).


Projects (cost in tens of millions and millions of US$).


Obviously with the impact of inflation, projects completed ten or twenty

years ago, with a lower historic cost, could also qualify as Megaprojects.

Examples of relevant Megaprojects are given below.


Examples of Megaprojects


Public Buildings including Parliamentary Complexes


Power Generation Projects including Hydro and Nuclear Energy


Dams and Wastewater Projects


Urban Transportation including Tram and Metro Projects


Airports and Seaports


Highway Projects and Bridges


Railways and Tunnelling Projects


Sports Stadia and Sporting Projects such as the Olympic Games


Oil and Natural Gas Extraction


Mixed Use Waterfront Developments


Assignment Brief


Write a description and analysis of a specific construction project. This can be one from

literature or one from the personal experience. The project can either be one that was

completed or can be one that was investigated and subsequently shelved or scrapped.

Examples of projects selected in the past include the Scottish Parliament building, the

‘redevelopment’ of Wembley stadium, and Hampden Park. The Report should focus on

the following where they are relevant:


The incidence of cost and time escalation.


The procurement issues for the project.


The degree that the project will be affected by the local economy.


The extent to which the project will impact on the local economy and supply chains.


The degree to which technological innovation has impacted on the project.


The report should contain location maps, diagrams, and if possible, pictures of the



Assignment One: Sample Student Marking Schedule with Weightings
























Time/Cost Escalation










Procurement Issues










Impact on the Local Economy










Effect on the Economy and Supply Chains










Technological Impact










Overall coherence of report










Slide Presentation
















Choice of Project or Projects


This Assignment requires an Analysis of a proposed or ongoing or

completed project such that all the points listed on the mark schedule are

covered. If a single project covers all points, then the analysis can be

restricted to that. If not other project(s) should be covered.


Ideally, the projects(s) selected should fall into the category of

Megaprojects. If not it should certainly involve Major Projects.


The project(s) selected may include ones that you have worked on or ones

derived from the literature including magazine articles, journal publications

or books.


Features of Large Scale Projects


Apart from their size and complexity, mega infrastructure projects have

another unfortunate feature. Research suggests that 90% of the mega

infrastructure projects are significantly delayed, over budget, or fall short of

their promised benefits.


This is true for mega infrastructure projects from all sectors and across the

globe. Rich countries do not seem to perform any better than poorer

countries, and mega infrastructure projects in one sector are equally not

managed better than in other sectors. Also, over the past few decades,

mega infrastructure project performance in terms of on-time, on-budget,

and on-quality delivery has not become significantly better.


Importance of Procurement


The shortcomings in mega infrastructure projects emanate from various

factors. Actors in a mega infrastructure project must thus, innovate to solve

construction problems and achieve the basic goals set by the client.


At the heart of a successful implementation of mega infrastructure projects

lies the implementation of complex procurement arrangements.

Procurement is one of the critical technical issues in mega infrastructure

project management with regard to successful project development and

operation in both the short and the long term.


Procurement for Large Scale Projects


Thus, the procurement arrangements for the acquisition of mega

infrastructure projects naturally ought to be efficient and effective.

However, studies and practice report that procurement arrangements in

mega infrastructure projects acquisition have in most cases neither been

effective nor efficient. They have largely been very limited and fragmented.


Governments and practitioners across the globe acknowledge that there

should be reforms to governance and institutional procurement

arrangements to promote better decision-making in areas such as project

selection, funding, financing and the delivery of services etc., for new and

existing mega infrastructure projects.


Procurement for Large Scale Projects


Apart from the points specifically listed in the Assignment Brief and

Marking Schedule above, you might wish to cover some of the following

issues which have been relevant in recent projects of this type:




Carbon Financing


Covid-19 pandemic


Political issues




Chinese Financing


Case Study of the Øresund Bridge


Case Study of the Øresund Bridge


This combined bridge and tunnel links Copenhagen with the Swedish mainland at

Malmö. Construction was completed in 2000 at a cost of around €4 billion and

had a significant impact of living and working patterns in both Denmark and

Sweden with Danes moving to live in Sweden to escape the Copenhagen house

price explosion and also Swedes commuting to work in Copenhagen when there

was a labour shortage in Denmark.


This crossing is largely above sea level up to an artificial island at Peberholm but

the Drøgan tunnel goes under the sea to Copenhagen to facilitate sea traffic. It

has 16 km of double track railway and a four-lane motorway.


Case Study of

the Øresund






of the First



The Analysis should be submitted in the form of

an academic essay with references. It should be

in the region of 2,500 – 3,000 words excluding

diagrams, location maps, pictures, etc.


This is an individual report. It will count as 40% of

the marks for the Module.


Please do not select any of the projects covered

in the Case Studies provided in the Course



Beware of lifting information straight