Government Construction Strategy

Government Construction Strategy

If the cover of the Government Construction Strategy is anything to go by, you might be expecting a bland rehash of what ‘we’ve all heard before‘.

Or maybe it’s an demonstration that the authors from the Efficiency and Reform Group of the Cabinet Office and the Construction Sector Unit of BIS are practicing what they are preaching … why add cost when you don’t need to?

Aside from the ‘we’ve heard it all before’ argument, I think I can probably anticipate many of the objections against change

  • What’s the baseline against which the 20% cost reduction will be measured
  • It’s all well and good the Government dictats, but the implementers
    • will still be measured on cost reduction, not added value
    • won’t partner the supply chain
  • We’re on all the frameworks, we’ve done what we were asked to do, but we still don’t / won’t get any work
  • BIM will cost too much and we don’t have the time to train our staff

I’m sure you can add others, but I want us to be open-minded about change for a minute.
Look at my interpretation of what the strategy is trying to achieve:

  1. Make the Public Sector a better client
  2. Ensure the Government gets more bung for its buck
  3. Use the influence of the Government’s expenditure to improve the construction industry
  4. Implement the low carbon construction policy

Surely these aims are we can all agree upon?

The Strategy Action Plan

Noble Francis tweeted that the ‘devil is in the detail’ and as always he’s right. And this is where we haven’t seen it all before. The Strategy document is 43 pages long and half of it is the Appendix setting out the action plan. There are 13 Themes and with numerous objectives and specific actions and timescales.

The themes indicate the authors understand the nature of the problem, have listened to what ‘we’ve all heard before’ and set out to do something about it. The 13 themes are:

  1. Co-ordination and leadership
  2. Forward Programme and data
  3. Governance and client skills
  4. Challenge
  5. Value for money, standards and benchmarking
  6. Efficiency and elimination of waste
  7. Building Information Modelling (“BIM”)
  8. Alignment of design/construction with operation and asset management
  9. Supplier Relationship Management
  10. Competitiveness and reducing duplication (whole public sector)
  11. New Procurement Models
  12. Client Relationship Management
  13. Implementation of existing and emerging Government policy in relation to sustainability and carbon

Examining the action plan it’s clear that the new Government Construction Board has plenty of work to do. And my request is that we at least see if they achieve their first milestones before it gets undermined by negativity.

Will anything change?

At the Be2Camp meet up in May, Don Ward talked about collaboration (Never Waste a Good Crisis) and the question was asked ‘will anything change?’

This strategy is setting out an action plan to improve how the Public Sector wants to operate with the construction industry. This should be applauded as an important step in the right direction for change. Will it change?

Not overnight, but if this is what the demand side want, the supply side generally deliver. I’m optimistic and remain positive that this is a move in the right direction. What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Government Construction Strategy

  1. Pingback: Is the Government Construction Strategy fundamentally flawed – I hope not but… | Brickonomics

    • Brian,
      Your blog is challenging and gritty, I like it.
      I’d like to comment on 3 things:
      1) Our being ripped off?
      In my opiniom, we don’t really know! ergo your point about TRANSPARENCY. The industry has become proficient at managing price rather than cost and this is a whole other blog.
      2) Language
      Fair point; can’t imagine many have read the previous documents either
      3) strategy of/for the industry
      I believe this is directed at the public sector client and the challenge here is their capability to implement (see comments on my blog),
      But as I say if this is what the client wants, then the supply side will generally deliver.
      Good stuff

  2. I posted some questions about the publication on a few Linkedin groups. All responses were from the private supply side and a general theme running through was the need for more skill and talent within the client side teams. If the quality of leadership was there then their ability to deliver would be greatly helped.

    So this poses the question – what is the value of a new strategy if the people tasked with delivering it aren’t up to the job? Sounds a bit harsh on public sector client teams … can’t all be bad? But if there is lack quality in there (or a perceived lack) should they be retrained and supported to develop the required skills? Or should candidates with private sector nous be recruited to fill the gaps?

    • Interesting points Robert and I think we’ve all experienced inept public sector procurement.
      Do the action point objectives 1iii and 3ii start the address the issue of client side skills? (will leave aside the issue of whether anything will chnage as a result!).
      There are examples of good practice within the public sector, but my main fear is that the councils will still be judged on the wrong measures and cost reduction will be more prevalent than value enhancement. So the procurement team will be cut to reduce costs, rather seen as a way of improving value over the project / longer term.

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