Taking the long-term view and collaborative working
There are examples that give credence to the soundbite around a focus on price driving a race to the bottom, acknowledges Stephen Blakey. However, progressive clients are deploying initiatives that are making ground in establishing a value proposition despite current economic conditions, which are a headwind that make it a harder proposition to sell. Taking the long-term view (e.g. Whole Life Cost) over short-termism (e.g. Capital Cost), is increasingly difficult due to constraints over funding and the inflationary impact on cost of capital.
Picking up a point made in the CRUX Insight report, Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS, Founder & Chairman of DiverseCity Surveyors and Digital Director at the BIM Academy, stresses that cultural working practices are also a major factor in terms of how the sector and market are behaving. “The ability to deliver projects in a fair and reasonable manner for a fair price becomes even more challenging set against the current economic climate and supply chain issues”, he says. “To build fairness, we need to think about what behaviours project owners are manifesting through their supply chains and design teams”, he emphasises.
Progressive clients are moving away from transaction-based models to more collaborative enterprise-based models, notes Stephen Blakey. These clients are owner operators who need to make significant investment, either for the renewal of their assets or to enhance that asset to increase its overall capability. “Part of the sustainable proposition for working collaboratively is a commitment that it is good for your suppliers to make a profit as long as that profit is reasonable and commensurate with the risks they have undertaken and the achievements they are making,” comments Stephen Blakey.
The bottom line and the need to satisfy shareholders, along with tighter delivery times, do not always make collaboration easy. “What is needed is a change in mindset by both parties to make a collaborative work environment truly function and deliver the project effectively,” says Julia Humpidge.
A digital strategy
“The consequence of not having a good digital strategy equates to the core of the CRUX Insight report, which is the value of the high water number of claims,” says Bola Abisogun. “The role of technology is not about removing the person, it is more about upskilling and enabling the person to participate in the project for the benefit of the client and society,” he emphases.
At the procurement stage, the client and advisory team, need to, in granular detail, check the credentials of the contractor(s) to determine if they can deliver the desired outcome for the project, says Bola Abisogun. Clients should start with the end in mind as they begin to walk into a project, and to do that work you need to establish a common data environment.
Solving skill shortages – attracting new entrants
Concerning challenges associated with skills shortages, Stephen Blakey reiterates the view expressed in the CRUX Insight Report that construction should be repositioned as part of the environmental solution, and not as part of the environmental sustainability problem. “Construction can change the world for the better”, he says, and believes that this is a powerful message for engaging with environmentally conscious young people. Companies should be less constrained by academic entry points. Doing so will remove barriers to talent acquisition and change preconceptions among poorly represented communities that a career in construction is something that is open to them, he explains.