Collaborate not clobberate …

Clobberation … what’s this then?

I thought I was being clever by making up the word clobberation to mean opposite to collaboration; but apparently not … just google it!  It’s been in my head for some time that, whilst the emphasis in construction is to promote collaborative working arrangements, in reality the majority of work is carried out in the traditional transactional way … where it’s more clobberation rather than collaboration!Collaboration

At a recent BECi* event Tim Fitch emphasised the benefits of collaboration in his talk on the “Adventures of Collaboration from Sub-Contracting to Mega Projects“.  Tim’s key point is that collaboration is a better way of managing risk and creating value in order to deliver outcomes to the satisfaction of clients.

Why doesn’t everyone do it then?

Tim’s view is that collaboration can be for everyone and every size of project, but it requires leadership, firstly on the client side and then on supply side.  In other words, for collaboration to work effectively, it must be an integral behaviour of those in charge.  Moreover, trust needs to be built on both sides and this is often demonstrated by parties giving something up, normally some aspect of control.  Collaboration is not an easy option, but the rewards are available in better client satisfaction, profits and repeat work for starters.

Tim gave illustrations of how collaboration has and has not worked. In all cases, it is important to establish collaboration as a core part of procurement and ensure the right behaviours are incorporated into the project from the outset; in other words avoid establishing a transactional approach that inhibits effective collaboration. The British Standard, BS11000, provides a framework for establishing Collaborative Business Relationships – for more information, visit Tim’s website or visit the Linkedin Group.

Tim concluded with a view on the future for collaboration in construction, citing the biggest barrier to wider adoption as the cyclical nature of construction demand.  However, Tim was confident that with the right leadership and by developing the right relationships, collaboration, not clobberation, is the way to achieve successful outcomes.

Click here for the event Storify.

*BECi (Built Environment Collaboration and Integration) is the part of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster.  If you are interested in talking as part of the next series of BECi talks, please leave a comment below.

Government Construction Strategy

What’s happened to the Government Construction Strategy?060111_1314_GovernmentC1.png

Firstly, I have to say I like the Government Construction Strategy (The Strategy). It was concise in articulating

  • the need for change,
  • proposing what needs to be done and
  • formulating an implementation plan.

In doing so, The Strategy was practicing what it preached by demonstrating clear leadership, one of its important tenets. Separate task groups implemented the plan and after 12 months, there was an update report. At the same time, Building held the first of what has become an annual Construction Summit, with the principal aim of coordinating the key messages and progress of the Strategy.

As I’ve blogged on the Strategy (previous posts link) and I wanted to review progress; not least because as we enter 2015, I was reminded that the principal objective of The Strategy was to reduce costs by up to 20% by the end of this Parliament (i.e. May 2015).

So what’s happened with the implementation of the Strategy?

In short, a lot has happened. Each task group has delivered outputs, with reports available on the Government website. The BIM Task Group has been the most visible with their own micro-site and twitter feed and has been instrumental in setting standards and coordinating the development of industry capability. Progress with procurement has seen the production of guidance on new procurement models and numerous trial projects take place. Moreover, work of the procurement task group has merged with Infrastructure UK who have *quietly* produced some outstanding documents on improving delivery in relation to the Project Initiation Routemap. And there is plenty more positive progress on, amongst other things, soft landings, developing client capability.

However, it’s unclear to me how the Government has done in relation to its original target for cost (and carbon) reduction. The 12 month update indicates savings, but there is, to my knowledge, no subsequent publication that clearly articulates progress. Don’t we need to understand how the Government has actually performed against the key objectives?

I have previously challenged whether The Strategy would result in any lasting change? On this note, in the interview with Stef Stefanou (£ Building) he lamented that despite being an industrial reformer, he no longer believes the industry will ever change. It’s my concern, that whilst there are persuasive arguments for change, we are a long way from reaching the tipping point of a more productive way of delivery.

The Strategy is a good document, a lot of good work that has taken place, however the question has be “how much influence has it really had?”

Preview of Government Construction Summit 2013

Construction Summit 13
The Government Construction Summit on Tuesday 2nd July 2013 is the second annual event focused on providing information that is shaping Government policies for construction; in other words the progress being made on the implementation of the Government Construction Strategy.
My views on last year’s Summit concluded that it didn’t quite hit the mark for me, mainly because the key issues of implementation needed to involve many of the people not in attendance for various reasons.  This year the price of attending has dropped and the format has changed.There is less emphasis on formal presentations and more time devoted to debate and time to explore the Knowledge Hubs. There are four knowledge hubs

  1. Digital Technologies – BIM and GSL
  2. Green Construction
  3. Procurement and new models of delivery
  4. Investment and Funding

You can find me in the Procurement and new models of delivery hub talking about Two Stage Open Book based on my role as Academic Partner on the SCMG (Supply Chain Management Group) Trial Project.

And it was announced late last week that Peter Hansford the Government’s Chief Construction Advisor will be launching the Industrial Strategy for Construction at the Summit.  As I understand it, whereas the Government Construction Strategy (written by Peter’s predecessor Paul Morrell) focused on Government, Peter’s strategy will focus on the broader strategy for construction and in particular set the vision for Construction 2025.