The Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) Project 13 proposal for a new delivery model promises to transform how clients collaborate with Tier 1 contractors.
Mario mostoles cropped
For me it is a positive move, in order to access innovation and improve construction productivity safely. Having worked across schemes from PPP/PFI, design and build, and early contractor involvement (ECI) all have varying levels of design maturity. Those schemes which are too prescriptive often inhibit the opportunity to introduce contractor-led innovation.
However, real value can be achieved by allowing contractors to deliver a solution that retains design vision, works within planning constraints, reduces risk, improves safety and is efficient to construct. Further value also arises from introducing whole life cost benefits to ongoing maintenance and operation.
The role of consultants (and supporting contractors) advising clients at feasibility stage is to provide a sufficiently robust framework to navigate the development consent order/hybrid bill process while retaining sufficient flexibility in order to enable future innovation. Therefore the procurement packaging strategy is also key – allowing synergies and avoiding the division of packages which increase contractor interface risk. While larger packages appear to attract a higher risk profile, the market (contractors/supply chain) would naturally regulate and adapt to accommodate such opportunity.
ECI is a positive step towards allowing contractors to collaborate with clients by providing invaluable global experience, lessons learned and best practice. Yet it only permits innovation around the delivery process. This can be challenging, as experience teaches us that benefits are to be had when contractor input is sought much earlier on. The industry needs the flexibility to question and challenge the original proposal – this is where, in my experience, the savings and significant improvements in productivity are to be had.
It would be interesting to see a system with greater emphasis on a collaborative approach, through a one team culture, underpinned by a contractual model which reflects the programmes’ vision delivering multiple benefits.
Project 13 also has a focus on integration, ensuring the right collaborative behaviours. An approach already deployed globally in Ferrovial. Central to the business is the understanding that collaboration with designers delivers the most optimum solution for the client. We have an experienced central engineering services department, with experts in construction design along with locally-based technical directors. As well as working with external consultants, they produce designs to produce alternative innovative solutions, which I believe to be one of our most important differentiators.
The ICG’s proposed new delivery model could be an extremely positive way forward. Innovative contractors would be able to deliver more efficiently, have better productivity and produce a step change in performance.
● Mario Mostoles is managing director for Ferrovial Agroman UK and Ireland
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