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Tom Woodhead – March Overview

I am pleased to be able to welcome you to the Constructing Excellence March Overview.

Building on some of the closing remarks from Keith’s comments last month I’d like to talk a bit about collaboration. It’s a word that to me, is bandied about far too often in our industry and progress towards being truly collaborative is slow. But it’s at the core of what Constructing Excellence is about and something we practice as well as preach.

With the impacts of managing Covid-19, productivity has taken a hit and disputes are arising around who picks up that bill. Clients, in some cases, are also having to evaluate their budgets in order to manage their own Covid-19 response to deliver products and services safely. This recipe could lead to a conclusion that we are on course to more competitive tendering and ‘races to the bottom’. But why, when this is the perfect time for collaboration to come to the fore? We need to demonstrate the benefits.

Many of you will be familiar with MacLeamy’s curve, conceived and popularised by Patrick Macleamy. The model looks at effort, time linked to the ability to influence change, and cost implications. It suggests that an early focus on effort, and the more parties that can be brought into the early stages of a project, the greater the chance of successfully engineering out problems with the design and deliverables before they become extremely costly issues.

It is the principle BIM works to, and the many frameworks go a long way to supporting, but competitive tendering does not. The false savings of traditional competitive tendering mean that a cheap project on paper regularly results in large numbers of variations and often disputes, costing all parties considerable time and money. Within Constructing Excellence Midlands it is something our Construction Clients’ Group (CCG) put a focus on and within the Client Guide, ‘Collaborative Procurement and Integration’ is a key topic.

But I mentioned we also practice it, so what did I mean? Well, we’ve recently partnered with Constructing Excellence South West and MyProPass to be able to offer CPD accreditation at our future events which critically, during these challenging times, will include virtual conferences and webinars. Our members will be able to search for relevant events, sign up, record their attendance and receive digital accreditation for their records. This is a great step forward for us as an organisation and a fantastic benefit for our members and demonstrates collaboration in action.

So in closing, my call to action would be this, if you’re not familiar with the concepts of early engagement and collaboration already, take some time to understand them and understand the whole life project savings that can be achieved. If you are familiar with them, then educate others and promote the principals that collaborative working can have over and above the false economy of savings derived from competitive tendering.

Oh, and keep an eye out for further developments from CE Midlands working in partnership to promote collaboration in construction coming soon.

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