Along with the Chief Executive, I represented the Institute at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment launch of the 'A Better Deal for Public Building' report yesterday (10 September).
The report endorses the Government’s aim of achieving 20 per cent cost savings for public construction projects over the course of the current Parliament, as outlined in its Construction Strategy unveiled last year.
Key recommendations include:
- Setting up a Best Practice Procurement Advisory Group to assist inexperienced public sector clients (including Government departments, agencies, non-departmental public bodies and local government) to define their objectives clearly and adopt appropriate procurement arrangements for the size and type of project. The Government should do this via its Chief Construction Adviser. Infrequent clients would also benefit from appointing a professional adviser to develop the brief.
- Procuring projects on the basis of integrated teams (designers, contractors and, if appropriate, asset managers). The selection of an integrated team must not be made on the basis of lowest price. Instead, as with the construction of the venues for London 2012, the decision should be made on the basis of a balanced scorecard. This means, marking the bid against a prescribed range of specified criteria, one of which should be long-term sustainability.
- Ensuring large-scale public projects (£100m-plus in value) have mandatory construction commitments, based on the 2012 Construction Commitments. Participants in the project should be required to report progress in meeting these commitments over the duration of the project.
- Government should encourage voluntary adoption of such construction commitments across a wide range of public and private sector projects with a programme of promotional activity, including awards, to highlight and celebrate success. Key indicators could include: client leadership, sustainability, team integration, design quality, health and safety, and commitment to people, which includes a commitment to employing local people and excellent facilities.
- Requiring the Government’s Chief Construction Adviser to prepare an annual report on the performance of public sector clients (including Government departments, agencies, non-departmental public body and local authorities) in construction procurement. This should highlight positive achievements in successful projects, as well as failure to deliver value.