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Benchmarking can end 'cost thuggery' procurement, IPA boss says

Tideway tbm at bottom of shaft

A government infrastructure boss has called for an end to “cost thuggery” used to “beat down” contractor pricing.

Speaking at New Civil Engineer’s Tunnelling Festival, Infrastructure and Projects Authority director of infrastructure delivery Stephen Dance said instead benchmarking should be used to measure the performance on site to “genuinely increase” productivity for future projects.

Dance said that benchmarking had been “neglected and used in a slightly immature way” comparing “inappropriate” and completely different projects. 

The infrastructure tsar called for more data from projects to be made available saying the industry had “never quite cracked” how to get the “real” data behind projects and programmes, and how to assemble, measure, collate and apply the data.

He said the impact of technology within the construction sector should now help to gather more data and that it was a “massive opportunity” for the industry.

“The impact of the technology that’s now coming into play, the digital modelling of all types of building, combined with the ways of capturing data, it is a massive opportunity for us all to come together around the challenges which have been set,” he said.

Dance was speaking ahead of the launch of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority case study on Benchmarking tunnelling costs and production rates in the UK.

“I think we should all rally around that subject and say let’s use the data and benchmark in a much more effective way than we’ve done before.”

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