As a major part of a number of our negotiated framework extensions for AMP6, we are tasked by our clients to embrace the concept of collaborative working.
The ethos behind the initiative is to provide better and more efficient project deliveries, beneficial to all parties. The ultimate aim is to create a closer working relationship with not only the client, but also between different framework contractors working for the same client.
To operate a framework successfully, mutual trust and co-operation has always been essential. True collaborative working now requires the working relationship to be more transparent than ever before.
Monitoring the value that collaborative working is delivering, we have been set by our clients various efficiency targets between 10% to 20% savings by 2020 based on AMP5 tendered rates. Eighteen months into AMP6 we would consider that we are approximately 50% of the way towards these goals.
This portion has been surprisingly easy to achieve through various planned initiatives such as:
The real challenge now is to get from 50% to 100% and beyond the clients expectations of efficiency from collaborative working.
Communication for better collaborative working is critically essential. Some clients hold detailed progress meetings or forums between all framework contractors, others do not. For some clients that do hold communication exercises, information sharing between contractors is still extremely limited. Unless all parties are willing to share their best practices then the true value of collaborative working will never be realised.
Similarly, some clients encourage co-operation between high level framework partners and the lower tier framework contractors. However contract restrictions are imposed on getting 3 separate ‘subcontract quotes’ from both framework and non-framework companies. In reality these restrictions limit the possibility of discussing best value, as work is often awarded based on cheapest price.
Collaborative working is not just about efficiency, health and safety also plays an integral part of the concept. Some clients engage all framework partners in H&S forums to discuss best practice, highlighting common issues for lessons learnt to all. Whilst other clients provide no interface between interested parties, making collaborative working challenging.
As a point, we are not aware if the UK water companies are working collaboratively. Collaborative initiatives between water companies encourages the sharing of best practices and the lessons learnt, which in time will contribute to a better industry standard of working.
In summary, Stonbury has seen a huge benefit already from collaborative working, but realise that the journey has only just started. The true value of collaboration is, however, still a long but exciting road ahead.
Stonbury collaborating with material manufacturers