Dynamic framework transfer model for public–private partnerships: Lessons from a China water sector case study

Fengyu Bao, Chuan Chen, Albert P.C. Chan, Igor Martek, Asheem Shrestha

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Public–private partnerships (PPPs) have emerged in developing countries, such as China, as a ubiquitous means by which government procures needed infrastructure. In this regard, they have been much studied. However, due to their long concession period, running into decades, few have run their full course into the transfer phase (TP) in which the PPP concession reverts from the private entity back to the public. In China, this is about to change as many PPPs approach their TP. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to comprehensively investigate the TP of PPPs in China. Design/methodology/approach: A three-part methodology was undertaken to achieve the research purpose. Extensive literature review was first conducted to analyze the status quo of the transfer management regime in China, followed by the identification of critical challenges and the exploration of solutions via studying the TP of the Chengdu No. 6 Water Plant B Project – the first PPP in China’s water sector to reach the TP. Research procedures and outcomes were hierarchically visualized by using Integration DEFinition language 0 (IDEF0) method. Findings: The current transfer management regime of PPPs in China’s water sector is deficient in many aspects. Based on the insight into the practice, a generic transfer process model with hierarchical structure process and sub-processes serving as a dynamic framework transfer model with self-evolving nature is developed to facilitate the successful transfer of the PPP utility. Originality/value: To the authors’ best knowledge, this is the first attempt to systematically probe the TP of PPPs. Hopefully, the findings of this paper are to instruct government and PPP practitioners alike on mechanisms for smoothing the TP of further PPP projects ending their concession period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1218-1239
Number of pages22
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2019


  • Case study
  • China
  • Dynamic framework transfer
  • IDEF0
  • Novel model
  • Process
  • Process model
  • Project management
  • Public–private partnership
  • Transfer phase
  • Water sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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