University of Hertfordshire’s SPECS Building Exemplary Collaboration

Constructing Excellence

The University of Hertfordshire’s (UH) new school of Physics Engineering and Computer Science (SPECS) Building – exemplifying collaboration at the heart.
A ‘one team’ approach has been implemented on this project. The UH SPECS building showcases that adopting a collaborative and integrated team approach during pre-construction is essential to navigating the complex requirements of a project. This was also achieved during a highly challenging economic period where hyperinflation and unprecedented material price rises required a truly customer focused and innovative approach.

The UH have taken an active role in developing their campuses since 1999. Their ‘2030 Estates Vision’ demonstrates this with their pioneering 2011 De Havilland campus development. And most recently with Ian Grimes, Director of Estates, driving this vision with the recent procurement of the new SPECS building which forms the jewel in the crown of its next phase of major estate development.

The procurement process for the SPECS building and their strategy to procure the rest of the campus is one of true collaboration. They have actively worked to bring on a design and build team that understand and share a collaborative ethos by setting clear attributes and traits within the procurement competitions. A focus, as like all public procurement, on Value for Money has ensured the quality of the end product is maintained. This has been achieved by early supply chain collaboration to bring buildability advise, an open-book approach to continually align the design to budget, as well as utilising BIM 360 and its efficiencies for estates management.


Three Winning Facts:
  1. An outstanding client – Setting aspirations of collaboration from the outset
    UH are a client that understand construction and how to get the most out of the procurement process by driving collaboration between consultants and contractors. Their active participation into supply chain engagement was refreshing. Not just welcoming our supply chain input, but actively wanted to be involved during the two-stage process by running a mini competition for example on the MEPH to appoint a specialist as part of the contracting team.
  2. A cohesive team – the right people, behaviour, and culture to drive the client’s vision
    A 360 degree culture across the teams aligning to a central philosophy with local accountability to drive innovation has delivered a great project outcome. Collaboration has remained at heart of the entire project team culture – with a mature approach not afraid to have difficult conversations and challenging each other in a respectful and supportive way to resolve issues person-to-person in a no-blame way that strengthens working relationships and protects the project.
  3. Tangible outcomes – solution driven approach and navigation through an unprecedented time to create a successful outcome for all
    This project has been an example of a truly focused client, and innovative approach supported through collaboration. The right leadership working toward a common goal with the same culture has made this project a success.