Use of output specifications in PFI housing projects - how they differ from prescriptive specifications

Tsun Ip Lam, Ping Chuen Chan, A. Akintoye, A.A. Javed

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


In many parts of the world, low cost housing used to be built and maintained by the governments, based on designs and detail specifications prepared by the public sector with construction carried out by contractors. Results vary due to differences in design standards, workmanship and property management, depending also on the neighbourhood’s care of the estates and their pattern of usage. In the UK, where Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has been used for infrastructure projects, there have been successful cases of city estate being transformed by PFI. These PFI housing schemes involve new-build, refurbishment as well as facility management. Unlike traditional construction, which is based on prescriptive specifications, PFI housing is based on output specifications. A study has been undertaken to compare the two specification approaches as they are applied to housing estate. Results are enlightening and serve as good reference to cities such as Hong Kong SAR and Singapore, where public housing provisions have been a major concern of their citizens as the building stock gets older.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Project Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Housing
  • Private finance initiative
  • Output specifications
  • Comparison


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