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Price too often takes priority over expertise

In September's Talking Point Niall Corney drew attention to the need to involve specialist suppliers in the design process at an early stage in a project's development. He pointed out the design and cost advantages to be gained by using the innovations being evolved by suppliers in the geosynthetics sector.

Such advantages are not limited to material suppliers: specialist contractors are constantly seeking improvement through innovation. Advances in technology, coupled with in-depth understanding of their products, have enabled specialists to invest in improvements to design processes, plant efciency, quality control and installation methods. It is this foresight that separates the geotechnical specialist from the contractor.

Unfortunately, many buyers and speciers in the construction and building sector are unable or unwilling to make this distinction; too often the bottom line price is the sole basis upon which decisions are made.

From Pennine's experience in the ground improvement market, when we have been given the opportunity for early involvement in a project, there is incentive to work as part of the project team applying value engineering to reduce the cost and risk involved.

This can only be achieved from the investment in innovation outlined above.

Similarly, clients and main contractors can only fully share these benets when they realise that specialist geotechnical products and services form an integral part of the project and are not 'just another commodity'.

Stan Mimms, marketing manager, Pennine Vibropiling

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