On 16 March G4C held our semi-annual national meeting. We arranged an audience with Richard Postance; an Oxford Engineer with 20 years’ experience of shaping and delivering projects in the Energy, Technology & Infrastructure Assets sectors, who is currently involved in writing a paper on industry performance. We resolved to spend this session solving the issues with the construction industry: we’re not a group to shy away from a challenge!
Below is a brief outline of how we think we can put the world to rights. Our discussion was wide, varied and detailed, so much so that it is impossible to do justice to each subject in one blog post and therefore each subject will be explored in further detail in the next few posts.
We have several challenges currently in industry, some of the main ones can be summarised as:
- Poor image – we are not attracting enough talent
- Transactional procurement – we drive such a hard bargain that our supply chain has fragmented and can no longer afford to innovate
- Misaligned incentives – contrary motivation causes conflict and wastefulblame laying and avoidance behaviours
- An over-emphasis on commercial – cost is an easier and less risky way to justify your procurement decision than value, but overemphasis on cost results in a ‘race to the bottom’
We believe the solutions lay in the following areas:
- Hub (rather than hierarchy) delivery models – we could fundamentally change the delivery model to evolve in the same way that our society’s communication has evolved.
- Open communication – a generation of ‘over sharers’ will expect an open, communicative and transparent working environment
- Manufacturing – Will offsite be the ‘Uber’ to our traditional construction ‘black cab’?
- Enabling our Supply Chain – paying fairly for the value an experienced Supply Chain can create
- Alignment and collaboration – collaboration by aligning all objectives with project success and involving delivery contractors in design, and designers in delivery
If we can get all of the above right, our industry will have earned the positive image we want to promote. Essentially construction is essential to our way of life, it is our environment and therefore an easy sell if we can get the basics right.
Our view of an attractive and effective construction industry consists of long term contractual frameworks with large, experienced and diverse design & build and / or manufacture teams. Working together to achieve the client outcomes and budgets by which their commercial incentives are awarded.
We will be fleshing out our ideas, set out above, on how to achieve this vision in subsequent posts, so stay tuned.