The fallout from the Carillion crisis has shaken the construction sector, exposing significant flaws in the way the industry operates. On the plus side this fallout has acted as a wake-up call for many, forcing us to examine current working practices and investigate alternatives.
What has become increasingly clear is that achieving significant, long-term change requires collaboration across the industry to put an end to inefficient and often risky planning and tendering processes.
Carillion’s collapse was in no small part due to flawed tendering methods. There has also been criticism levied at the UK Government for the pressure it put on private contractors to take significant financial risk in order to win Government contracts. This risk has been further highlighted by Carillion competitor, Keir, implementing its ‘Future Proofing Keir’ strategy, as well as a programme of planned debt reduction and expansion of its order book in order to avoid going the same way as its erstwhile competitor.
The construction industry as a whole needs to improve efficiency in order to meet the country’s construction needs; reducing wastage, and improving on quality and project timescales. In order to do so, we believe that this starts with effective collaboration at the very earliest stage the building design process.
There are many ways in which contractors, quantity surveyors, and architects can work together from the outset to ensure maximum efficiency. Using the latest technology to produce accurate bills of quantities, and making best use of BIM in order to keep track of issues and avoid costly mistakes by virtually considering scenarios at every phase of a build are a must.
With some larger construction companies like Mace taking the lead on delivering projects with a renewed focus on speed, cost efficiency, and local sourcing it is clear that the industry is moving in the right direction.
The Government has firmly got behind BIM with the introduction of its BIM Level 2 mandate in April 2016. Whilst progress towards the UK becoming a global leader in BIM could be improved, the continued uptake of BIM across the industry can only be a positive step.
It is evident that the industry has been given a wake-up call, and it is up to all industry players, as well as the UK Government, to take a considered look at tendering processes, moving away from a ‘low price at any cost’ mind set, to one where quality and efficiency are given top priority.