Developing the Partnership

Officers lay the foundations for partnering between the client (for example the Local Education Authority) and the contractor(s), as well as other stakeholders.

Success in construction depends on teamwork; but when people are brought together in a framework, collaboration does not happen automatically. Despite everyone’s good intentions expressed in the appointment stage, lack of organisation, misunderstanding, poor communication and lack of participation by individuals can undermine success.

Many successful partnerships kick off with a series of workshops, sometimes led by an independent professional facilitator.

Case Study

Here is a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ account of partnering workshops at Oakfields Primary School, Essex. The team concluded unanimously that the workshops helped them to:

  • ensure consensus and focus on solutions
  • anticipate and report on problems before they affected the project
  • keep team performance under constant review
  • establish learning points during the programme.

Although this is a project team example, the same principles apply to a framework team. And the payback is even bigger when you consider the small cost of the workshops in the context of a framework, not just one project.

The case study includes a step-by-step chronicle of the workshops and a summary of workshop techniques, assessment tools and charter.

Assuming you have more than one agreement under the framework, you should be exploring how to get all the contractors ‘thinking’ together with you, even if they do not actually ‘work’ together that much on specific projects.

Case Study

Here is an example of North Tyneside Council’s trailblazing partnership with three contractors for a four-year, £80m framework for upgrading schools. They set up a framework management committee to involve all three contractors in decision making, which even extended to the allocation of projects, joint procurement and learning from one another.

If you lay the foundations for collaboration now, you can look forward to the framework delivering projects that:

  • demonstrate continuous improvement
  • yield a high degree of satisfaction
  • are handed over to users on time
  • don’t produce many surprises along the way
  • are not hindered by disputes and claims.


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