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Constructing Excellence Annual Convention and National Awards 2014

November 26th, 2014 | Author: CE Admin

Annual Convention

On Friday 14th November, ahead of the Constructing Excellence National Awards 2014, G4C curated this year’s Constructing Excellence Annual Convention focussing on the image of the industry and the digitisation of construction. The Annual Convention brings together all parts of the movement, including national, club, regional and G4C members.

As well as representatives of Constructing Excellence the convention also heard from other groups trying to improve the image of construction such as the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the National Association of Women in Construction. There was lively debate through social media including a live Twitter wall encouraging and producing interaction between the speakers and within the audience using the hashtag #imageofconstruction.

This was rounded up by a lively Q&A session emphasising the need for a change in the perception of the image of construction. The slides from the day as well as a survey on the key themes of the day can be found here. A link to the Bid Cost Survey which was mentioned on the day and is supported by Constructing Excellence can also be found here.

National Awards

The best of the construction industry was celebrated later on at the eighth Constructing Excellence National Awards attended by over 450 construction professionals. The awards reward those organisations, and individuals, setting the highest standard of best practice and collaboration in the construction industry.

The winners from the eight regional Constructing Excellence Awards were put forward for the 12 national categories, with nominees coming from all over the UK.

Don Ward, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence, said: “Market prospects are improving. Most sectors and regions are on the up, and it is to be hoped that excellence will return to the fore in projects. It is therefore great to recognise those individuals and organisations who are leading this trend.”

Winners on the night included big construction projects such as the Library of Birmingham, organisations such as East Riding of Yorkshire Council and smaller, locally based companies and projects such as Bournville Property Care Services from the West Midlands and Catalyst Research Laboratory and Office Facility from Billingham.

Since the inaugural awards back in 2007, the night has grown into one of the leading events in the UK built environment calendar.

A full list of winners can be found on this excellent account of the evening from Constructing Excellence in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For information on the 2015 regional awards, entry opening dates and categories, visit:

CE Members’ Forum 08 October 2014

October 30th, 2014 | Author: CE Admin

The engines that power our work to develop and promote excellence in the built environment supply chain are our members’ theme groups. At any time we have 7-8 theme groups, typically meeting every 2-3 months to keep up-to-date with relevant developments, decide how Constructing Excellence needs to make a difference, and then deliver or oversee work to ensure that difference is made. As Adrian Worker, chair of the Nuclear theme group said at their last meeting, “you would pay several hundred pounds for a conference in our sector and it wouldn’t come close to the value of the meeting we have just had”.

Their work was showcased and reviewed at the members’ forum on 8th October. We are grateful to Adrian, Paul Toyne of Balfour Beatty (Sustainability theme group) , John O’Brien of LCMB (Asset Management theme group), Kevin Thomas of Visionality (Collaborative Working Champions), John Lorimer (BIM theme group) and Madoc Batcup of Synaps LLP (Funding & Finance theme group) for their leadership on these vital topics. The forum concluded that we need to do a lot more to raise the profile and impact of their work within our membership and externally, and we will be working hard to secure greater engagement in 2015.

Another outcome of the members’ forum was the formation of a new theme group on Procurement. Look out for more details in the next edition of MemberLink.

As well as showcasing the theme groups and how they support our 2025 vision of excellence, the next forum will included a feature presentation about the Supply Chain Management Group (Hackney Homes/Homes for Haringey project), a Cabinet Office trial project that is using two-stage open book procurement. This project forms part of the Constructing Excellence Innovation in Practice Demonstration programme, and we have been working with the Cabinet Office to monitor and report on a number of projects that are trialling 3 new procurement models (Cost Led Procurement; Integrated Project Insurance; Two Stage Open Book). The new procurement routes perform a vital role in delivering the Government Construction Strategy’s sustainable 15-20% reduction in costs.

The Supply Chain Management Group project has achieved significant cost savings (which equate to an average of 31%), and other key benefits, including time and cost control, end user satisfaction, reduced defects, reduced waste to landfill and carbon emissions and improved employment and skills outputs.

You can download the accompanying presentations here.

Please make sure you book on to the Annual Convention here, and look out for dates of next year’s member forum’s in MemberLink.

Health In Construction

September 22nd, 2014 | Author: CCG

Why should clients take an interest in worker’s health within the construction industry and what can they do to support a sustainable outcome?

Firstly, let us look at some startling facts:

  • - The construction industry accounts for less than 10% of the UK’s working population, but 56% of all male occupational cancer registrations are construction related
  • - 98% of work related deaths in 2011/12 were caused by ill health contracted whilst working in the construction sector, approximately 100 times more than get killed through accidents
  • - Only 46% of men working in the construction sector are still able to do the job at the age of 60

Although the industry and many of the supporting bodies couple health and safety together to manage and control both, health has traditionally taken the back seat due the cause and effect in many cases taking decades to present symptoms and unlike safety, the burden of managing health falls predominantly to the employer.

Health is the most challenging topic and where most confusion reigns. Many engaged within the industry do not understand what is required of them as an employer and couple this with insufficient occupational health resource that is familiar with construction; it is then easy to see why we struggle with a workforce that is transient in the extreme.

There is also confusion within the industry between occupational health management, occupational hygiene and well-being. All have a role to play and they are all complimentary in engaging employers, employees and the population at large. Each can be summarised as follows:

Occupational Health Management

Occupational health deals with work related health issues; assessing and advising on the effect work could have on an employee’s health, and what effect an employees’ health may have on work. It is a two way process. The HSE states that good occupational health services are central to the effective management of workplace health.

Importantly it fulfils the statutory requirements under current health and safety legislation. Encouraging and supporting all employees to look after and manage their own health in support of their employer and particularly outside of work – the wider “Well-being” agenda.

Eliminating or managing all processes and materials/substances harmful to health by adopting a risk based approach. Providing management, supervisors and workers with the requisite skills, tools and procedures to manage the health risks identified.

Ensuring the right health assessments are carried out at the right intervals and any recommendations are acted upon. Employing professional OH expertise with the right qualifications, skills and construction experience to work with employers to safeguard the health of employees. Maintaining appropriate health records for all employees and equipping them to have informed conversations with future employers about safeguarding their health.

Occupational Hygiene

Occupational hygienists get involved at the interface of people and their workplaces. They use science and engineering to prevent ill health caused by the work environment - specialising in the assessment and control of risks to health from workplace exposure to hazards.

Hygienists help employers and employees to understand these risks and to minimize or eliminate them. Occupational hygienists can come from many backgrounds - chemists, engineers, biologists, physicists, doctors, nurses and others who have chosen to apply their skills to improving working practices and conditions. At their core is occupational hygiene - where science and engineering meet the human element of work.

Occupational hygienists work across all sectors, in a variety of roles – as regulators, researchers, educators, managers and practitioners working within both public and private sectors, for consultants or as direct employees in all industries.


Public Health Responsibility Deal aims to work with industry to improve the nation’s health. There are five strands: food, alcohol, behavioural change, physical activity and health at work. There are a series of Pledges which employers are encouraged to select that best fit their business and are then required to record progress against.

Responsibility Deal H10

is construction specific: As organisations working in the construction/civil engineering industries, we pledge to manage the causes of occupational disease and take action to improve the health and well-being of people working across offices and sites large and small. We recognise that prevention and early intervention is the key to success and will take on-going action on at least one of the following:

  • - Annual reporting of the health and well-being of employees
  • - The provision of clinical occupational health services (OHS) that work in accordance with the relevant standards e.g. SEQOHS
  • - Arrangements to develop a programme to actively promote health and well-being and the effective management of health.

Where relevant, we also pledge to encourage our subcontractors and supply chains to endorse at least one of the actions above to implement good health and well-being activities.

There have been a number of really successful major projects where clients have taken a lead in bringing a sharper focus to health; Heathrow Terminal 5, the Olympic Park and more recently Crossrail being good examples. Through these major undertakings clients have shown determined leadership to make a real difference to the awareness and management of occupational health risks. Crossrail was the first to realise that simply continuing to provide facilities on site, although greatly appreciated by the workforce, did not lead to a sustainable outcome. They thoroughly analysed what went before and came to the conclusion that real change would only come about if all employers within the industry took direct control of the provision for their employees and this is where they have focussed their effort. They mandated all contractors throughout their supply chains to register with Constructing Better Health (CBH) and then report on key performance indicators to demonstrate all employees are being properly assessed and supported.

The CCG do not mandate membership of CBH to members, but we do cite registration of clients’ supply chain to CBH as best practice within the Client Commitments. Client should be able to take for granted that all employers will look after the health of their workers. In reality this is not the case. The supply chains within UK construction are both deep and wide and the further you get from the principal suppliers, the more we see the treatment of occupational health falling away. It is very much down to the onus being on the employer to take responsibility unlike safety where there is a real incentive for the principal contractor to ensure they keep the right side of the law. The CBH model is proportional in that every employer takes responsibility for their own people and reports upwards. CBH acknowledges that it is not for the principal contractor or the client to manage the health of others’ employees but they can both do a great deal to demonstrate commitment and leadership to improve the situation.

Leading us back to the question; “why should clients take an interest in worker’s health within the construction industry and what can they do to support a sustainable outcome?”

Not with-standing the moral and corporate social responsibilities clearly evident, there is a substantial cost to ill health and industry costs ultimately get paid by clients. We are the one party during procurement and then into construction that can make demands on the whole supply chain to take appropriate action. Strong determined clients demonstrating sound leadership to improve the efficiency of the industry are respected.

What you do is simple; show you are interested in and will support the health agenda, specify what you want to see and insist the whole supply chain manages themselves and reports upwards to demonstrate it is being done. CBH have the tools and support services available and that is why it is cited as best practice and why we participate on the board of CBH.

Follow this link for more information.

Perfect storm or burning platform? Better together - excellence in 2014 and beyond

November 24th, 2013 | Author: Don Ward

Last week was the annual gathering of the 50+ national, regional, local and younger generation organisations that make up the UK Constructing Excellence movement. Peter Hansford, the government’s chief construction advisor, presented the joint government-industry Construction 2025 vision, but it emerged in the convention hall that for CE and the leading edge of the industry, this is not ambitious enough, we need those levels of performance sooner.

The sector is being driven to do more for less, and to think globally and long-term, not just locally and short-term, about the solutions it offers. We face major challenges in delivery, for example in housebuilding, schools, low carbon refurbishment, water and rail programmes. The industry needs to make a step change in such delivery. The economy has created a ‘burning platform’ and a fundamental challenge to the way we do business and the future prosperity of our industry, and leading players need to respond radically. We need to move beyond incremental efficiency improvement and so-called best practice to achieve genuinely exceptional performance so that it figures among the world’s leaders. These leaders will:

• have increasingly global, long-term business models,
• be data and knowledge-rich,
• be able to fund, deliver, operate and manage at higher levels of risk,
• be coordinated – not fragmented – and collaborative in their approach to innovation, and
• as a result, be rewarded for the value they create.

The business relationship between client and contractor will be revolutionised. Businesses will only survive if they can deliver client outcomes and create improved performance that allow the UK industry to thrive at home and to compete at a global level. Key to this is to see the sector as the built environment supply chain, from operation and management of built facilities to commissioning, assembling, manufacturing and design. ‘Right to left thinking’, or the ‘increasing circles’ as the CE fraternity has grown to label them.

Industry business model needs to change from a vertical contracting model, with profit derived mainly through revenue, to an integrated model where organisations get rewarded for the value they create. Industry needs to stimulate innovation and overcome the structural, transactional, contractual and competitive barriers which currently fragments its efforts.

In short, the industry needs to be remodelled to create the clear, predictable and sustainable long-term value that will be increasingly demanded by investors, customers and end-users.

My next blog will cover some of the practical things that the Constructing Excellence convention challenged leading companies to address.

(This article first appeared on

Government trials, not tribulations

November 1st, 2013 | Author: Don Ward

In its 2011 Government Construction Strategy setting out how the public sector clients need to improve, the Cabinet Office proposed three new procurement models to be trialled in support of the target to achieve savings of 15-20% by 2014/15. The procurement models were Integrated Project Insurance (IPI), Cost Led Procurement, and Two Stage Open Book. All three models are based on delivery by integrated project teams working collaboratively, and it is expected that, alongside reduced costs, the models will contribute to improved programme certainty, reduced risk, greater innovation, and improved relationships across the supply chain.

Over the last year most central government departments have put forward projects to trial these new models, including Environment Agency, Ministry of Justice (demonstrating integration with BIM), Ministry of Defence, Homes and Communities Agency, and a number of local authorities. IPI is a radical new approach with potential for a step change, and is getting its first ‘commercial outing’ in this programme, for which the project team are to be commended. The other two are well proven in parts of the public as well as private sector, and we can point to many early adopters in the last ten years or so, including in the Constructing Excellence demonstration programmes. So it is that the latter two have published their first case studies under the Cabinet Office led programme. Early findings already indicate that smarter procurement focused on earlier supply chain involvement is delivering the targeted sustainable cost reductions.

By 2015/16 BIM level 2 will be mandatory, and these models will be expected to be embedded as business as usual in procurement and delivery processes of government construction projects. Therefore all contractors wanting to win work with the public sector from 2015/16 onwards should be ready to operate the processes and behaviours required.

For more information, including downloading the individual case studies, see the Government website or e-mail

(This article first appeared on

Reach out to your local university

September 19th, 2013 | Author: Don Ward

Much has been written about the government’s new sector strategy Construction 2025 published in July. The summary document is a good clear read and well worth a few minutes to review. To be honest, we’ve seen much of it before, and that’s good, we’ve known how the sector needs to improve for years and we need some continuity in driving forward towards that vision.

Perhaps the main break-through is that this is one of a series of sector strategies from HMG, others include nuclear, automotive (of course), aerospace, professional and business services, agriculture, offshore wind. For the first time this is explicit recognition that construction is up there as a key strategic sector for growth, both in its own right and as an enabler of success in those other sectors, most of whom are important customers of built environment in its different forms.

Another factor which the other strategies have in common is that they came with announcements about big government investment in joint government-industry research programmes. Ours was notably silent on this, and therein lies a fundamental weakness. The other sectors feature stand-out big players, e.g. Rolls Royce, who have their own big R&D programmes and which the government can leverage with matching funding. Where are the equivalent programmes in our sector? Not within the sector, but at places like BRE and in our universities.

As Constructing Excellence members found at a recent meeting with 20 universities, universities in our sector are facing research funding cuts due to the end of big funded programmes, reduced student numbers due to fees, and competition from these other well-funded sectors. Built environment departments need our help, both to make the case for government research programmes, and to build stronger links between the sector’s leading edge players in the contracting and consulting communities.

So, who is your local university, and have you made contact? Can you reach out, learn what their issues are, learn about their latest research and harvest some ideas for your business, or support them in their teaching or research programmes by providing in-kind support. Everyone should connect to their local university, they are a gold-mine if you can work together.

(This article first appeared on

How did the Government Construction Summit move us forwards?

July 5th, 2013 | Author: Don Ward

Post by Don Ward, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence. The Government Construction Summit took place on 2nd July 2013. A shorter version of this article appeared in Building magazine.

Lord Deighton is always refreshing, and opened the summit by promising “it is not about new initiatives but getting stuff done”. Ironically he was followed onto stage by Michael Fallon to launch the Industrial Strategy for construction. OK, the strategy is more of a vision than an initiative, targeting 33-50% improvements by 2025 in costs (thankfully both capex and whole life are mentioned this time), time, emissions and exports performance, and is silent on how to achieve these, so a lot of faith is put in the new Construction Leadership Council to deliver on the how. This Council has lots of progress to build on and plenty of ideas to draw on from organisations like Constructing Excellence, BRE, Buildoffsite and in academia. Let’s hope it wants them.

As one questioner noted, we have had ambitious target before, to which Fallon replied that compared with Egan (and Latham) the new strategy has commitment from Ministers and industry leaders. I don’t recall a lack of commitment when hundreds of industry leaders attended the launch of Rethinking Construction in 1998, or when Nick Raynsford was Construction Minister, or from thousands upon thousands of people who have engaged in the Constructing Excellence movement ever since. This “radical transformation” to 2025 is not radical any more, it has been socialised for at least 20 years and we are well on the way, but if Ministers are signalling that their interest in our sector will last beyond the run-up to the next Election then that is welcome. We are “a fantastic industry”, as Deighton said, but an industry inherently slow to change because our projects and hence learning cycles are longer than other sectors, so you have to judge progress in years not months, and that doesn’t often suit Political attention spans.

Other highlights of the Summit for me included:

- Our early outputs from the government’s trial projects programme already indicate that smarter procurement focusing on earlier supply chain involvement is delivering 10-20% improvements in value for money.
- The latest report on government cost benchmarks – a classic example that if you measure it then you can start to manage it, the bigger departments are getting a better handle on what built environment should cost, and sharing ideas for managing project performance better.
- BIM, of course – the best example since the safety summit of 2001 of how a concerted government intervention can speed up change in the sector.
- The strategy refers to improving the bridge between industry and research, and as our own conference with 25 universities last week showed, this feeling is absolutely shared by academics and the industry research organisations.
- Hansford referred to occupational health as needing the same focus that safety has had, our Clients Group deserves credit for raising this.

Above all, the summit confirmed a buy-in to collaborative working and integration. Hansford pointed to a major need for the skills of transformational change within the sector, and to quote Deighton, “it’s now all about delivery”.

The Constructing Excellence Social Media Task Group

January 30th, 2013 | Author: CE Admin

Guest post by Paul Wilkinson of

The inaugural meeting of Constructing Excellence’s social media task group was held in London on 11 October, with participation by CE members from across the UK, from public and private sector, from clients through to materials suppliers (helping underline the breadth of the CE movement). A date for a second meeting is in the process of being confirmed.

At the first meeting, I used a presentation (link) giving an overview of social media trends and a guide to the main tools. With Twitter, Facebook and blogs now widely used across television and other media, including our specialist publications in the built environment, I explained how we now have more tools in our communications toolbox. The CE social media task group aims to collate knowledge and experience in using the various tools and techniques to:

  • share knowledge and provide guidance across CE about best practice in using social tools and technologies
  • widen involvement in CE activities and events (from local clubs to national networks such as G4C)
  • improve access to and dissemination of content from CE activities and events (the CE website is to be upgraded to provide more opportunity for two-way discussion too), and
  • help members across the movement connect with counterparts who share similar interests (eg: on other issues such as sustainability, BIM, nuclear, infrastructure, etc)

If you would like to come to the next SM task group meeting (or if you cannot attend but would like to be kept informed), please email, and we would welcome ideas for subjects that people might like to discuss at the meeting. Wikipedia (and other wikis) is one possible topic, and, if time, technology and know-how allow, we may even try to take the session online.

So consider this a farewell message… by Jon de Souza

July 24th, 2012 | Author: CE Admin

So consider this a farewell message. Having been at Constructing Excellence for nearly nine years I’ve seen tremendous change in our sector. The industry, and how clients approach it, has changed for the better in pockets. Certainly now, central Government is a much better procurer than at any other time that I can remember. Local Government performance is, well, let’s say patchy.

Leaving CE gives me an opportunity to raise some of the things that I believe are still an issue. So, typical disclaimer, these are my views not those of the organisation but here are ten things I would like to see change.


Make your minds up on domestic retrofit

We’ve got a national target to reduce carbon by 80% by 2050. Domestic buildings are responsible for around 25% of carbon emissions. Of the buildings that will exist in 2050 at least 70% exist now. That includes rows and rows of old, typically energy inefficient homes. Some sort of programme to improve the energy efficiency of homes is absolutely necessary. So far, so obvious.

Government has talked a good game – Feed in Tariffs, Eco, Green Deal. But the actions of Government have, so far, entirely undermined the market. We’ve been involved in delivering a retrofit business support programme in London and it’s clear that the SME sector has no confidence that any of the retrofit market (which has been estimated as having a potential value of £14bn) will trickle its way down to them. Green Deal is a fabulous idea but it’s structured in such a way that will only undermine consumer confidence. What kind of independent assessment will take place when the independent assessor is appointed by a party with a financial interest in the results? And what were they thinking when the interest rate for the Green Deal loan was set at around 7%? When consumers can get a far better loan interest rate after five minutes on something like then you know things are screwy.

If the intention is to cut domestic carbon emissions then back it up with policy that works; the sort of thing that our friends at UK-GBC campaigned for in their Pay As You Save work in the first place.

Stop reinventing support structures

A plea to Government – where industry is doing something and doing it well, don’t then set up something new on the same theme. Work with, influence the debate and direction of travel but don’t try to own. All that then happens is that, when Government steps away, as it inevitably does, all that is left is a vacuum.

Does, for example, Government need to fund a measurement group for the Green Construction Board when the UK-GBC has had a successful measurement group? Is a Government funded group considering export opportunities for UK companies and international best practice really necessary when CE International already exists with just that purpose?

Where industry is funding something, get involved in that – it’s far more likely to provide a sustainable legacy.

Localism? Really?

Ah, localism. The unwanted stepchild of Government policy. Maybe this is my failing but I really can’t tell you what localism means for construction. Is it what was suggested during the election – that local people can take control of public services and therefore responsibility for construction procurement? (Because what we really need are more clients that don’t understand how to buy built assets). I don’t think that’s what Government means by localism as none of its strategic actions in the Government Construction Strategy suggest that’s the case. If anything procurement is being more centralised.

Is localism just a drive to ensure local SMEs are used in supply chains and local people are given employment opportunities so that spending can be recycled in the local economy? I don’t think that’s what Government means by localism as it’s simply not new policy - public sector clients have been able to set such requirements for as long as I can remember.

Is localism the freedom for local authorities to procure in the way they want? I don’t think that’s what Government means by localism as that freedom generally already exists.

If none of these things are localism, then what is localism? Please, somebody, enlighten me.

And localism brings us on to…

Why accept poor use of public money?

The Government Construction Strategy is great. CE could have written it, so embedded is the integration and collaborative working agenda. The Strategy demonstrates that central Government clients understand how to drive value through construction procurement and are committed to doing so over the life of this Parliament.

And that’s great. But central Government only accounts for around 40% of total public sector construction spend. Government has always shied away from requiring local authorities and other clients that receive public money to behave in a particular way. But if there is such a great recognition that one way of approaching the market delivers value and another way madness lies, then surely conditions can be attached to public money to ensure that good practice approaches to procurement are used.

There have been many attempts to gently encourage local authorities and social landlords and these have had some success but ultimately have not had sufficient traction to change behaviours. Local authority procurement is mixed. Some local authority clients are brilliant – Birmingham and Manchester City Councils for example. But lots use rubbish traditional tendering. If gentle persuasion isn’t going to work then just find a way to force the right behaviours. Otherwise built assets will continue to be bought like paperclips.

Stop thinking that investment in long-term infrastructure will create jobs now

The UKCG did a great job in the LEK report at demonstrating the value of construction, especially in how it drives employment. And as an industry we’ve done very well at showing how important long-term investment in UK infrastructure is. But, Government seems to confuse two things. Investment in infrastructure is vital for continued UK competitiveness but it won’t necessarily drive short-term employment. For this you need to invest in social infrastructure projects, i.e. schools, hospitals. Both things are important. Right now we haven’t quite got the balance right. 


Enough with the frameworks already

No, really, please. Frameworks are great. I love frameworks. When they’re properly structured to give SMEs a chance and properly performance managed to drive improvement and, basically, not just a lazy way of avoiding going to OJEU for four years. But clients, you don’t all need a framework.

Right now it seems that it’s de rigeur for clients, especially those in local government and social housing, to set up a framework and go to great lengths to ensure that everyone can use it. Clients then have a dizzying array of frameworks through which they can procure.

What does this cause? Massive wasted effort from client teams, a huge amount of wasted bidding effort from suppliers and then subsequent disappointment when the expected quantity of work isn’t put through a framework as there are so many competing for clients’ favour.

Someone needs to map the existing frameworks, see where they overlap and come up with a plan for future consolidation. CE would be up for doing that if someone wants to talk to us about it.

The quality score fallacy

How many times have I heard this:
“We let it purely on lowest price as we knew that the quality scores for the bidders would be about the same.”

My response – “You’re asking the wrong questions.”

Seriously, we keep hearing that this industry is different. Some sort of particularist approach is required to get best value. If that really is the case then structure quality-based assessments so they give weight to those things that are important to you as a client. And work out what those things are early and tell everyone so, if they apply to you, you don’t make a mess of European procurement rules.

It’s ok to be dumb

We hear a lot nowadays about ‘the intelligent client’. And that’s great. As many clients as possible should be intelligent. But let’s face it, that’s just not plausible for the vast majority of organisations that buy construction.

So, if you don’t have the capacity/capability to have an intelligent client function as part of your organisations what should you do? Well, the worst thing you can do is to behave like you know what you’re doing.

For a start, don’t produce a detailed input based specification – all you’ll do is lock out potential innovation. No – in this case an outcome-based specification will be better. Let the supply side respond and see what they come up with.

And, get external advice. Of course, that includes consultants. But, actually, regular clients are more than happy to help those that only procure occasionally. Get in touch with the Construction Clients’ Group. Some excellent construction procurers are there to help you.


No, really, integrate you bastards

I love that Paul Morrell did a presentation called ‘Integrate You Bastards’. Nothing more awesome than that in the last few years. But, basically, the industry still gives lip service to the whole idea. Payment terms are still rubbish and contractors regularly procure down the supply chain by lowest cost rather than by value.

Worst still is the tendency for exploitation by integration. Contractors still get ‘partners’ in at an early stage to input into discussions on design and buildability, take their ideas before letting the whole package on a lowest price basis. Until we get to a stage where those that innovate are fairly recompensed for their ideas, either through guarantees of work or payments as consultants, the whole idea of real integration is hollow.

Polyphonic Spree

CE is an industry body. There are about 300 industry bodies in all. Of those, many claim to ‘represent the industry’. They don’t. And what happens is that they all compete for attention and importance to the extent that actually they are all undermined.

As an industry we agree about 80% of things that affect us. But generally when we get together we concentrate on the 20%. And all Government sees is an industry divided.

So, let’s not try to speak one voice, let’s try to be a choir. As an industry that is responsible for around 8% of GDP we deserve more attention from Government, but we won’t achieve this is if we can’t at least to sing in harmony.

Constructing Excellence

You know what, Constructing Excellence is one of the best things to ever happen to our industry. I’m sure that, if it weren’t for CE’s work, central Government wouldn’t have moved towards integrated working to such a great extent.

CE relies on industry support. I can conceive of no good reason why an organisation would not want to be part of the Constructing Excellence movement. So, come on everyone, especially those of you that have profited from positioning yourselves as an organisation that believes in integration, come and get involved.

Constructing Excellence position on Site Waste Management Plans

March 21st, 2012 | Author: CE Admin

It is with disappointment that we greet the news that Site Waste Management Plan legislation is due to be scrapped as part of Government’s Red Tape Challenge.

According to figures from the Constructing Excellence KPIs, construction waste has been cut by a third since the legislation came into place in 2008. Although a number of companies had understood the business benefits of better managing waste prior to the legislation, this good practice, as industry performance figures demonstrated, was by no means widespread. The 2008 act essentially forced companies to consider how waste would be disposed of. Put simply the legislation was required as there was a market failure. Since then WRAP has launched its excellent Halving Waste to Landfill campaign which has seen leading-edge companies commit to making substantial improvements in their waste performance.

I understand the Defra argument in scrapping the legislation. Their view is that better site waste management is about better business and it’s not Government’s role to get businesses to make better decisions. If site waste only had an economic impact then I would have sympathy with this view but clearly that isn’t the case. Our construction market has in many cases lagged behind some of our European peers in how it considers aspects of environmental sustainability, including waste. The legislation provided an impetus for companies to better manage waste thereby having both economic and environmental benefits. While Government won’t legislate for the former it can and should for the latter.

The other argument is that the legislation has done its job - Site Waste Management Plans are now a normal part of project delivery having had them mandated for four years. The expectation is that Plans will continue to be created even when there is not legislation that requires them. I’m not sure this is the case. Many companies in our sector understand the link between environmental and economic performance – they get that managing waste properly is a benefit not a cost. But in these difficult economic times there will be swathes of the industry that see this Government roll back as an opportunity to go backwards themselves. Clearly, the positioning here is important as well. What kind of message does it send industry if the ‘greenest Government ever’ decides that Site Waste Management Plans are no longer necessary?

The Site Waste Management Plan legislation wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. And there were substantial issues around enforcement. But in our opinion that meant that the legislation needed to be improved and maybe the scope of the Plans to be widened to consider resource efficiency rather than just waste.

We at Constructing Excellence think this is a retrograde step and that the Government has sacrificed legislation where there is still risk of market failure to drive deregulation. The scrapping of the legislation is too much too soon. We will commit to working with industry to ensure that site waste good practice continues to be highlighted. As such we commit to:
• Continuing to collect data on site waste as part of the KPI data collection process. We can then demonstrate any changes in industry performance as a result of the scrapping of the legislation (just as we were able to show improvements following its introduction)
• Urge the few Constructing Excellence members that are yet to do so to sign up to WRAP’s Halving Waste to Landfill campaign
• Refresh the links to site waste best practice on the Constructing Excellence website
• Work with other bodies including BRE, WRAP and UK-GBC to understand how the industry thinks this should be taken forward