What are the coming trends for the construction industry? Is it possible to prepare for the unpredictability of 2021? What should we pay attention to when we’re planning a new project? The Construction Playbook recently released by the UK's government helps us find some answers. Check out our sum up article and find out what awaits the industry in 2021!
2020 has finally come to an end. Most of us will remember that year as demanding and unpredictable. However, in this article, we do not want to focus on listing all the challenging things that happened. Instead, we want to present the lessons that previous year taught us!
At first, it may seem weird to bring up planning, after all, the coronavirus has turned things upside down, and during 2020, we had to say goodbye to most of our ideas and arrangements so carefully planned for that year. That's true. Nowadays everything changes really fast, and the importance of adapting to changes and innovations is more important than ever. However, a good plan with a good schedule, considered risks and plan B is still at a premium. The most tricky part is to prepare it right. Recently released The Construction Playbook may be helpful with this.
The Construction Playbook is an online, free document created by the UK government for all construction industry employees. The document is divided into five chapters highlighting the most important aspects for any construction company.
Preparation and planning
We should change the way we think about projects and focus more on planning. Before starting the project, we should consider all the components (methods, assets, schedule, workforce). Appropriate, clear, and efficient specifications are critical in the timely and cost-effective delivery of projects.
Building on the presumption in favour of offsite construction, we are committed to creating a dynamic market for innovative technologies in the UK."
New technologies are here to stay. Embracing innovations is not an option - it is a priority in the construction industry’s growth. Modern methods of construction and digital solutions present on the market have an enormous potential to support the industry! It is crucial to consider modern technologies as early as possible and include them in project planning.
Ensuring that risks are owned or jointly owned by the party or parties best able to manage and bear them is key to delivering value for money and successful outcomes with the private sector."
Identifying risks and managing them is a crucial part of any project. Proactive identification of hazards helps with improved delivery in the long run. Building the payment and cost mechanisms is beneficial in the next phases to ensure profitability.
The selection process of third-parties in our project is another important stage. The fundamental purpose of it is to safeguard the delivery. There are also main public procurement principles that are recommended to apply in the private sector: equal treatment, non-discrimination, proportionality and transparency!
Suppliers should invest in automated, digital payment and contracting systems and processes. Digitisation will improve transparency, information exchange, payment performance and contract management across the supply chain."
Evaluation and Award
Evaluation – and evaluation criteria – should focus on value over cost."
Value-based procurement should be adapted at an early stage and continued throughout the whole process. While we build the requirements, is it worth to take a moment to analyze whether they are fair, understandable for all engaged in the project. The evaluation process should be thoroughly prepared, the award decision is as important as the execution of the whole process that led to a final decision. Tendering solutions are helpful but it should be treated as a tool useful to execute a well-planned process.
Acting together with suppliers drives mutual understanding, improves delivery and helps to solve problems more effectively."
The last chapter focuses on managing and monitoring the execution. There, we will find tips on how to properly deal with modification in plans or gather lessons learnt for future programs.
Health, safety and wellbeing
Construction still remains a hazardous industry, accounting for almost 30% of all fatal injuries in the workplace. Improving the risk management and executing all necessary H&S training is a way to reduce this percentage.
In December 2020 the Secretary of State announced a new £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund to reduce Waking Watch's reliance in buildings over 18 meters with unsafe cladding systems!
Build back greener
In 2019 the government legislated to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve sustainable outcomes. The Playbook suggests setting out the strategies containing ecology aspects and taking actions like minimizing the use of resources and energy, reducing waste, increasing biodiversity or using sustainable technologies. What the authors highlight is that, building greener can also be a chance to get out of the COVID crisis. Some countries have already implemented their green building programs!
Promote social value
The construction industry greatly impacted the UK's economy with contributions of £117 billion and over two million jobs created in 2018. The government's goal is to help the industry to recover after COVID-19 fully. Thanks to that, it will be possible to create new job positions and economic growth. There is a chance for that as in the document we can find information that up to £37 billion of contracts across economic and social infrastructure will be brought to market over the next year.
Except for future trends and useful guidelines, there are some important questions that we should consider during the planning stage. Here we will mention just a few, that we believe are worth to consider:
Before starting a project, we should analyze already completed ones. What worked well? What failed during the execution? Such lessons learnt help us with the best strategy for future investments. However, to do it right at first, we need to take care of document management. All information about past projects should be stored in one place with easy access to it.
Modern methods of construction
MMC is a vide term that includes offsite manufacturing and onsite techniques. Before starting a project, think if there are possible new construction methods that can boost your productivity and profits. If yes, maybe your company is ready to use one of them?
Before starting the tendering process, we should ask ourselves a question: Is this project set up for success? As suppliers need sufficient time and visibility to prepare tender documentation, it is crucial to create price solutions or respond with high-quality responses to tender documentation. Inadequate timescales or lack of transparency eventually will lead to poor-quality tender, and risk of failure.
The procurement process is a crucial part of a project for every company even when it comes to safety on construction (which is not an obvious connection). Key considerations are 1. What is the contract award method (e.g. Negotiation, competitions)? 2. Who is responsible for the design? 3. Who would take responsibility for coordination and integration?
Should Cost Model
As the next step in the planning process, we can create the Should Cost Model. SCM gives us an answer to the fundamental question: What is the exact budget and the cost of this project? Although it may seem hard to estimate all future expenses, planning a budget gives control at every part of the execution stage. Of course, we have to remember to also register all costs during the realization.
According to the Playbook, risk allocation is one of the most frequent issues raised by the National Audit Office in their government contracts' audits. Why? Because we do not like to think about the obstacles and problems before they occur, even though we should. What is important is that we do not have to rethink our project from the very start. The first step that already changes a lot is asking yourself a question: Who is responsible for the project's risk if they occur?
The projects with completed planning processes have a higher chance of meeting their goals (82%) than those with poor project organization (66%). The aim is always to use the best approaches currently available to deliver projects. So before you jump into New Year and new projects, take a while to look at your already existing ones and think about them. Are they prepared for the unpredictability of 2021 and the upcoming future of construction?
Read the full Construction Playbook here.
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