CE Members’ Forum on Procurement 11th February 2015

Constructing Excellence

The theme of the first Constructing Excellence Members’ Forum of the year was “Procurement” to tie in with the launch of our new Procurement Theme Group. Don Ward kicked off proceedings with a refreshed version of his standard introduction to Constructing Excellence which is now available to view on YouTube:

The Procurement Theme Group

The next presentation was from Charles Mills of London Underground who is chairing the new Procurement Theme Group. His presentation outlined the early thinking of the group, which had met twice previously. The terms of reference for the group are as follows:


  • A community of interest to share ideas and learning within the group
  • An influencer via thought leadership
  • A source of guidance and advice to other Constructing Excellence members


  • How do we procure for value not tender price?
  • Working with the EU regulations
  • Case studies
  • Innovative approaches
  • Good practice
  • Intelligent client
  • Procurement further down the supply chain
  • Procuring for social value

So far the group has looked at case studies from London Underground and engaged with IUK and the Cabinet Office to see where we can add value. The group seeks more engagement with contractors and the regions, and is also setting up a sub group on procuring for social value through our Yorkshire region. The group with also look to produce publications and blogs such as this on BS8534. Both groups are open to all members of Constructing Excellence so please get in touch if you would like to join or to discuss membership.

Hammersmith Flyover (Phase 2) – Innovation in Practice (IIP) Demonstration Project

Costain then provided an excellent case study on the Hammersmith Flyover (Phase 2) which is a Constructing Excellence Innovation in Practice Demonstration Project. As well as being an enormous technical accomplishment the case study kept to the theme of the day by demonstrating the value of early contractor involvement. A full case study of the project is due soon, but the presentation is available here.

Anchor Property Transformation Project – Cabinet Office Cost Led Procurement trial project

Constructing Excellence

Former Chairman of Constructing Excellence Vaughan Burnand followed up with a warts and all presentation on implementing Cost Led Procurement as part of the Cabinet Office Trial Projects. While the approach yielded significant savings, the churn of people made it hard to build on this. Vaughan’s presentation is available here.

Round table session

The attendees were split up into four groups to discuss questions put to them by the Procurement Theme Group.
Constructing Excellence

The feedback from each group can be found below:

1. How can we help clients put demand to the industry in a better way?

  •  As an industry we don’t help by talking about cost rather than value
  • Constructing Excellence needs to communicate stories of where is works to clients
  • We need to help clients articulate what they actually want instead of focussing on time and money

2. Who are the existing exemplars – including down the supply chain – within CE and in the wider industry?

  •  We need to look outside the industry, for example to gaming, manufacturing and IT
  • Examples of best practice cited included the common purpose on Terminal 5 and the Olympics, as well as Hampshire CC introducing 7 day payment terms
  • Constructing Excellence members need to give their case studies to us

3. Challenge to CE members on how to structure procurements to pay for value (and not pay for lack of value)

  • clarity of brief and relationship with the client are important
  • the client knows what they value – CE members need to help them articulate this during the procurement process

4. Thought leadership plus simple take-aways – eg 5 challenges to take back

  • CE needs to create vision for whole life value
  • collect evidence of value procured by each member
  • lessons from other sectors – aerospace
  • get lessons from down the supply chain up the supply chain
  • work out how to procure to drive innovation

2015 KPI Survey

To finish the day Tom Crane of Glenigan gave an overview of the relaunched KPI report which came our after a two year hiatus in November, as well as making a plea for everyone in the industry to prioritise filling in the surveys for 2015 to get the best data set possible. Tom’s presentation is available here.

Tim Embley of Costain and Natalya Sergeeva of UCL also made a pitch for members to get involved with their in a four year programme to advance the industries understanding around the benefits of inter-business innovation relationships. They have blogged about that here.

We’d like to thank Trowers & Hamlins for kindly hosting the day, and we look forward to seeing you at the next Members’ Forum on 10th June. If your organisation is not yet a national member of Constructing Excellence, find out more about joining in the membership section.