Building Down Green Deal Barriers

Themes covered in the Cumbria Green Deal workshop yesterday, both within round table groups and in general discussions were strikingly familiar, being the age old improvement issues that the construction and built environment sector has been trying to address for the last few decades.

It is encouraging that Green Deal is raising these themes with a new audience, and reinforces the point that Green Deal is another important improvement step on route to construction excellence. However, it is also a reminder that Green Deal may be doomed to failure it its just another sticking plaster applied over our industry core problems

So, forgetting for a moment the mechanics of Green Deal, what are the underlying themes …

Collaborative Working – the need to work together, across supply chains and in consortia is emerging as a pre-requisite for Green Deal.  The six principles of Collaboartive Working, (Compete on Value, Relationships, Integrated Working, Collaborative Cost Management, Continuous Improvement and People Development), first developed under the Building Down Barriers are very appropriate to Green Deal today.

Added Value and Lean Construction – the need to reduce costs whilst improving value. The need to be lean across the Green Deal process. The first Lean Management principle of identifying and stripping waste out is key to effective Green Deal delivery

Open and Transparent Costing – essential to get back to real costs, adopting new and radical approaches to pricing and dealing with risks, and the need to eradicate competition by profit / lowest cost.

Communications – across Green Deal players, with customers and consumers to the way in which we market and promote ourselves.

With the main root of construction problems being related to communication issues, effective approaches to Green Deal communication is vital

Sustainability and CSR – from technical sustainability of how to improve performance of hard to treat properties, to green skill development, to procuring local and appropriate resourcing all get a good outing in Green Deal discussions

Value Management – the need to evaluate between differing Green Deal Plan options, products and quotes across a differing range of criteria (cost, life cycle, replacement, appearance, performance etc) will benefit from robust value management approaches.

Quality Management – our industry SME resistance to adopting processes and certification that applied correctly will improve quality and consistency, reduce errors, reworking and costs, but importantly offer confidence to clients now shifts from ISO 9001 to PAS 2030.

Automation – will automating processes without loosing face to face relationships usher in a world of iPads, social media and improved streamlining of routine / back of house processes?

What will Green Deal do for your organisation?

Related:

On this blog:  Where Greendeal will succeed …

See Su Butcher’s Just Practising blog and comments to What will the Green Deal do for us?

Building Down Barriers Supply Chain Handbook 

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on integrated, clustered project management …

There have been a good number of conversations on twitter recently in discussing collaborative procurement and collaborative contract management. It is amazing that such a dialogue can take place in just 140 characters at a time, reinforcing the potential of twitter and why there should be more adoption within the built environment for knowledge and improvement share.

 Su Butcher over at Just Practicing blogged on the design and build conversation, and to pick up on that (and to complete a few promises for more information to those in the twitter conversations) here is my contribution, that links together D+B, PQQ,s Clustering and Integrated Project Management

 

opps v costs

 

Early engagement in a project is essential for all parties and stakeholders, to ensure best possible outcomes for meeting client / end users needs, value, quality, time, sustainability, and community impact.  The classic chart opposite that shows opportunities for change (read improvement, or adding value) mapped against cost of doing the same demonstrates the potential of early involvement.

Typically – (I would say historically but I know it is current, and even the term historically adds some kind of respectability to poor practice) the contracting team is not appointed until the brief and design are ready for build. Even worst the project build team is not assembled until after the main contractor and then progressively throughout the construction programme. 

Design Build moves the engagement of the project design and build main players to earlier in the process, often following brief or concept design. This is good yet still leaves these parties out of the brief and out of any value management exercise, where undoubtedly they can add real value. 

Bringing the project design and build teams in on day or week zero can be achieved through mature frameworks and or relationships, along with mature cost and contract arrangements. End users and FM should likewise be part of the early engagement, or ideally there first , engaging the others as the project process drivers.

 

clusters

This leads to an Integrated Project Team, which looks, feels and acts very differently from a traditional project organisational structure. Issues such as co location in one office, shared and seconded staff across the project all add to an effective delivery of value.  But as has been commented in the twitter conversations this approach is rarely practiced to its full potential, and arguably not since Building Down Barriers.

(But see the Highways Agency ECI, Early Contractor Involvement approach)

In addition, whilst the contractor may be engaged at an earlier stage, to add value they really need to engage with their supply chains, ideally adopting clusters around elements of construction. This allows specialist and build-ability knowledge into design, but necessitating. again mature, supplier relationships or ready-to-go (RTG) clusters.

Appointment of the players in this collaborative and integrated model requires careful selection, and arguably cost should not feature at all. Ideally trusted players from previous contracts, ie supply chains or clusters would be assembled, as happens elsewhere in other sectors.  

Such integrated approaches are essential in achieving improvement to predictability of time and cost, adding value and meeting the project objectives.

Pre-Qualification Questions, PQQ’s, interviews, visits, collaborative workshops etc as part of the selection should focus on procuring the designers, contracting,  facilities management teams etc based on such issues as proven approaches to achieving requirements and reducing budget costs through tackling waste in the process. There is estimated to be 30% waste of time, material, effort, documentation management  etc in the overall project process – and so really tackling this can produce far greater savings than through selection on price to get lowest or best value prices.  (But the thread of Higher Costs from Lower Prices is another blog subject!, as is the poorly understood difference between cost and price) 

I guess I should point out that a far amount of my support time to clients, contracts and contractors is spent on facilitating this type of integrated working, or some of the individual components thereof.  

And the interest in this approach?  Well that would appear to be on the increase (at least on paper unfortunately), as, in current economic circumstances, contractors seek approaches that would offer improved value and reduce costs for their clients in an attempt to differentiate them from competition and win work.  

The culture of mistrust and baggage of the industry though really prevents real progress. But, as we cannot fix the problems of today’s industry with the thinking that created the problems – new thinking is required, new thinking in terms of early engagement, integrated, clustered project management.

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Twitter Conversationists in their own words (twitter profiles) included:

The_Architect : Manchester, UK. Chartered Architect, Music lover. Frank Lloyd Wright expert and a Romantic soul.

LizMale: Buckinghamshire. PR consultant specialising in UK construction and sustainability in the built environment

EEPaul: SE England, London SE3, Woking London-based blogger on IT, SaaS, construction, PR, marketing and Web 2.0 stuff (also a Crewe Alex FC fan, Wikipedian, cyclist)

Fairsnape: Forest of Bowland Lancs UK. Supporting, shaping and commenting on trends, web stuff, improvements and futures in the built environment

Melstarrs: London or Leeds, UK Green Building Design Engineer and Accreditation Professional (CIBSE, BREEAM & LEED)

ConstructingExc: London. Constructing Excellence is the single organisation charged with driving the change agenda in construction, housing and regeneration.

SuButcher: Essex, UK Practice Manager for No-nonsense Architects Barefoot & Gilles. Tweets on the UK Construction and Property Industry, blog at http://www.justpractising.com

Geoffwilkinson: UK Building Regulations Expert, Fire Engineer, Arsenal Fan, Partial to the odd Real Ale

PaulDohertyAIA: Shanghai. New York Architect, Living and Working in Shanghai, China

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