Unlocking better value by applying Construction Playbook policies
From building collaboration to connecting with the community’s story; securing true value and combining accountability with trust – these are some of the messages that came out of the Better Value instalment of #ABetterWay webinars.
The Better Way series has been designed to deepen the conversation on the practical application of the key policies within the Construction Playbook.
The Better Value webinar – which took place on Thursday, 3 June – focused on how clients can secure better value from consultants and contractors, as well as debating the subject of value beyond costs.
Thank you to our speakers:
- Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council
- Martin Faulkner, commercial manager at Urban Growth Company
- Tara-Leigh McVey, infrastructure director at Perfect Circle
- Andrew Bannister, assistant director of development at SCAPE
Here, we share the key takeaways from the event, and you can catch up with the Unlocking Better Value webinar below.
Darren said: “It’s not about bricks and mortar, it’s about hearts and minds. A lot of the time, local authorities can have multiple developers working on projects within a borough. If they’re all building in isolation, they’re not building in collaboration.
“Procurement is very black and white, but the vision has to start with the people in the street. If we really want to develop communities, we have to look at their aspirations. If you get it right and connect the community story with the bricks and mortar and the hearts and minds, you can build truly sustainably.”
Tara concluded: “Our industry works where you have people come in and sell the dream. But the investment needs to be in the delivery team that’s on the ground and working with the community to make sure there’s no gap between the promise and what’s being built for five years, and then there for 100 years.”
Andrew said: “For the first time, the Construction Playbook has provided tangible guidance, namely setting out that value is no longer about a race to the lowest price – if you want to spend public money, it has to be done properly.
“Value is hard to define. I don’t think it’s a thing; it’s better to be thought of as a story. If you take a school for example, the story of that building has only just begun once construction has completed.
“It evolves as the staff move in and the learners start attending, and then it matures and becomes the heart of a community. At the end of its life, it’s looking at how you can dismantle it and reuse its elements. That’s true value.”
Martin said: “The Playbook encourages collaboration between the private and public sectors and it’s about getting things right from the start. Setting out what everyone is looking to achieve from the beginning and developing that into a successful project for all parties.
“It’s about all parties working together with a mutual set of aims and objectives. Are we moving towards alliancing where risks are shared equally, and all parties come together under one contract and they’re all in it together?”
Tara added: “Different people in different organisations have different appetites. We need to think about how we bring those together so alliancing and those longer-term partnerships can be in play. The Construction Playbook brings a lot of that together, but there has to be the willingness from the partners to use it and apply it. People need to feel like they can come in and be honest and not feel at risk. They should be empowered to make decisions and not just take the notes. There’s also the responsibility on the public and private sectors to be sending the right people to the meetings.”
Darren concluded: “Combining the values of the public sector with the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, while not forgetting the aspirations of the voluntary sector and the community will deliver great projects and allow the infrastructure to happen.”
Darren said: “Trust is so important. We need the community to trust the local authority to deliver their vision, the private sector to trust the local authority in knowing what their community wants, and the local authority to trust the private sector in delivering that vision.
“If we do that – and combine it with accountability – we’ll have good quality builds that create communities and help with the infrastructure this country desperately needs.”
Martin said: “The Construction Playbook sits there but it’s just a document. It’s important that people embrace it and that will require a change in mindset. People have always done things a particular way, and changing and getting their heads around the fact that things will change can be difficult.”
Darren added: “The Construction Playbook is a technical change document, but if you can’t make the emotional change, people won’t follow it through. You have to start thinking about how the community is at the heart of any changes. We have to listen to the communities of today to build the communities of tomorrow.”
Tara concluded: “With every project, imagine it’s your own money and your own community. If you keep that in your mind, you won’t make bad decisions or steer too far off the course.”
#ABetterWay | Unlocking Better Value
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