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Performance indicators key to Best Practice

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS to measure key elements of project delivery will be the backbone of the Government's Construction Best Practice Programme.

The industry will have to wait until early next year before the precise indicators - expected to give a consistent measure of performance and improvement across the industry - are finalised. However, the Government gave some clues as to the type of indicators it was looking for by releasing the initial findings of a client survey. These suggest that:

Only 39% of projects are delivered on or ahead of time.

The average time overrun was 14.8%.

Overall project satisfaction was 7.7 out of 10.

Average satisfaction levels with both contractors and consultants were 7.1 out of 10, with 88% saying they would use the same firm again.

Launching the programme, construction minister Nick Raynsford said it had a key role in delivering the improvements called for by Sir John Egan's Rethinking construction report.

'Long term improvements in profitability can result from changes to the way that construction companies and projects are managed,' said Raynsford. 'Best practice is about providing value to customers, about competitiveness and profitability, and ultimately about business survival.'

The programme will see performance measured in key areas on the 100- plus demonstration projects put forward so far in the wake of July's Egan report. Results will be collated in a central database and resource centre run by the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions. Some 6M has been committed to the scheme until 2001.

Programme director Zara Lamont urged all clients, consultants and contractors that had not already done so to come forward with projects to show best practice in the industry.

The best practice results, plus feedback from other industries, is likely to be made available through the Knowledge Centre called for by Egan.

Christiani & Nielsen chairman Alan Crane, who heads the Egan implementation group Movement for Innovation, said that predictability in cost, time, defects, accidents and design changes, were the key measures the industry had to search for. But he added that increasing profitability was also vitally important if anyone other than the already converted were to be encouraged to join and use the programme.

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