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IRF: What was the key rationale behind your research?
Rowan: The objective of the paper was to highlight the lessons learnt from one of the first performance-based road contracts implemented in Africa, along with some of the key success factors for other road agencies to consider.
IRF: What are the main findings of your research and what can the industry learn from them?
Rowan: It is essential to have a well-developed implementation program that mitigates the identified risks and is then carefully followed.
The development of a robust and detailed contract document will significantly reduce the likelihood of problems or disputes arising during the contract period.
There are clear contractual linkages and enforcement mechanisms for the softer issues including health and safety, social, and environmental compliance obligations included within the contract.
The need for on-going routine maintenance requirements from day one of the contract must not be forgotten about.
Despite the numerous challenges faced over the first three years of the contract, the involvement of individuals who are experienced and willing to resolve issues in a collaborative way has enabled the successful completion of the rehabilitation phase. This is now providing significant benefits to the road users in Liberia.
IRF: As a researcher, what is the chief value of presenting your work at an IRF conference?
Rowan: The IRF Congress provides an excellent opportunity to present information and outcomes to a diverse international audience. I have found the level of audience participation in the question and answer sessions to be very good, as there is often a high degree of interest in the topics being presented. This aspect is most rewarding from a presenter’s perspective.