The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper.
The White Paper highlights the need for whole life value (rather than initial capital costs) to be at the core of construction procurement. The White Paper adds: “The sector will aim to develop a procurement standard and work with the Infrastructure and Projects Authority to develop cost and performance benchmarks for assets and contractors and monitor outcomes including increased housing capacity, productivity and pre-manufactured value among other initiatives”.
SEC Group chairman Trevor Hursthouse said that a procurement standard should be developed from the lessons now being drawn from the projects that have been piloting the government’s new procurement models including integrated project insurance (IPI). He adds: “A new procurement standard must embrace collaborative working including early supply chain involvement. The principles, processes and procurement models required to deliver ‘best value’ have been clearly identified through many past industry reports and Government construction strategies.
“There continues to be widespread failure to adopt what’s known to be best practice. Mandating the use of a procurement standard on public sector projects is required if we are to see it applied more widely.”
Trevor Hursthouse also warned that any new initiatives affecting construction are likely to come to nothing unless there was significant improvement in the industry’s cashflow position. Outdated practices and the uncertainties relating to payment security and cash retentions must be addressed at the same time.