Posts Tagged 'gf partnership'

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

We’ve done it all before…

I read with interest the article in ‘building’on Friday by Paul Morrell titled making a Virtue of Necessity and what struck me from his message most of all was that we’ve done all what he’s looking for before!

The essence of the message I get from him and the cabinet office document ‘Government Construction Strategy’ is for change through liked minded individuals, companies groups and organisations. Yes we need an educated client with consistent application and yes we need an integrated proposition from the industry too.

And here’s my experience  – it’s all been done before in the private sector!

Who and how?

With Bovis Construction (as then) and M & S.

When?

Way back on 13th December 1945 at Stepney Green is when it all began……we never learn do we?

 How did it work?

Simple really……….

The client had a need to build new stores to expand after the war and it integrated Bovis along with the professional team to do just this.

The client had an expansion programme that Bovis worked with, so it new in advance what was being built and where so resources could be planned and managed

A select supply chain was established so buying power could be used, preferred rates/prices and/or schedules of rates were set up across the country.

You knew if you were working on a store in Epsom that a ‘Truro’ pelmet detail meant that it was the same detail that had been used at the Truro store.

The contracts were simple, Bovis was paid a fee for its management skills and expertise, the supply chain prices were transparent through to the client too.

At the outset of the project an estimate of prime cost was established with Bovis and the consultant qs and you worked together as a team to make it work – on the same side with the same objectives.

The contract to the subcontractors were 2 sides of paper – the thing that nobody liked on it was the infamous pay when paid clause – but that’s now outlawed isn’t it?

And it worked because everyone trusted each other throughout the entire process

So here you are Mr Morrell here’s the blue print for your strategy –it’s a document called The building process – a case study from Marks and Spencer Limited published in 1970 you’ll have to get hold of it from the national archives mind.

Here’s three quotes for you from ‘building’ magazine in July 1970 on the document too…..

  1. It is the forward looking methods employed, the enlightened manner in which primary and secondary objectives are defined, the effective co-ordination of multi-disciplinary skills and attitudes and the mutual trust and respect created by the relationship enshrined in the Marks and Spencer/Bovis method of procedure that some future improvements in the general management of building should be sought…..
  2. The case study highlights the fact that Marks & Spencer over the years consistently have simplified procedures by reducing the amount of paperwork employed and in consequence the company has placed increasing reliance upon direct personal contact and individual responsibility. The combined effect of these twin objectives has been to create a real feeling of belonging to the Marks & Spencer organisation whether the individuals concerned are directly or indirectly employed.
  3. The long and close relationship between the staffs of Marks & Spencer, their professional design teams, of Bovis and of various specialist sub-contractors must have contributed in large measure to the success story recounted in the bulletin and in particular to the recent development and application of computer techniques to location billing, material scheduling, manpower planning, expenditure control and the monitoring of progress.

I found my copy of a commemorative brochure produced by Bovis in 1970 to celebrate the long working relationship, and for these quotes. It is also the source of the pictures and quotes….couldn’t find anything on line at building!

So…….it’s been done before……… and it worked!

P. S. The document produced by Bovis is a fascinating read and if they let me I’ll try and make it available on line, its quite a story!

Time to Tender?

Why is it that the time taken to put a bid together these days seems to go on at such a frenetic pace? Is it me getting older or is something else going on?

I’ve bemoaned the design teams before about the apparent lack of sending out co-ordinated information on cd’s/dvd’s and remote ftp servers and saying here it is go and get what you need we’ve given you everything you want.

These days though with the click of a few buttons we are being sent more and more information to wade through and less and less time to understand it. And it comes in such confusing layouts/styles/folders that sometimes you just don’t know where to begin.

I had a contractor call over to see me last week with another project to look at, and it made me stop and think about how we deal with things.

The scenario goes…. (insert the names of relevant folders or projects to suit your own story as you wish)

He hands me the cd of information, up pops the folder on screen and then the fun begins…..

What are we looking for?

Well some sort of guidance as to what we’ve got for a start would be good.

Where is that.

I don’t know have a look in that folder there marked folder 1

no, nothing in there…..says contract to follow

ok, look at that one there marked folder 2

Look it’s got dwg and pdf versions of the drawings!

Ah, good a nice list, what are the drawing titles?

I don’t know there aren’t any it’s just a list of numbers

Where’s the drawing register

There isn’t one, well at least not in this folder

And so it goes on…

Now I know the government is talking about making a 20% saving in its Government Construction strategy document that it has just published, but I seriously reckon that if we got our act together and introduced a standard way of issuing electronic information we could save many man hours of each of us trying to fathom out what on earth it was we were looking at that would go towards this target.

Perhaps that could be included somewhere in the very first item of the Action Plan on co-ordination and leadership?

Thanks to Zolna Murray for the inspiration for this blog for her discussion on LinkedIn ‘How to booby trap a contractor’ and the blog she posted on the 27th May with her list of her top 5 booby traps

Partnering, is it working?

Let me tell you what I think of partnering, or collaboration as some may put it on projects.

And then you tell me if you agree with my views.

Working together in sweet harmony just isn’t working in the construction industry in my humble opinion, no matter hard all of us may try. It’s always been the lowest price that wins no matter what.

Why?

Well I believe every stakeholder, no matter who they are, has a commercial interest somewhere along the line in the outcome of any given project.

Don’t they?……….Think about it.

Forget about shared goals and fluffy stuff like that, at the moment its hard nosed business attitudes that prevail. Isn’t it?

And depending upon which end of the collaboration chain you’re on will depend upon how you view it to be working.

Wikipedia defines collaboration as: ‘working together to achieve a goal….’

Constructing excellence has a definition of partnering as: “Partnering is a management approach used by two or more organisations to achieve specific business objectives by maximising the effectiveness of each participant’s resources. It requires that the parties work together in an open and trusting relationship based on mutual objectives, an agreed method of problem resolution and an active search for continuous measurable improvements.”

So, the next project you are asked to work in collaboration with a client, design team, contractor, subcontractor, supplier are you all going to have the same goal? Well that depends on the goal doesn’t it I hear you say. Getting the building handed over on time, to the right quality and to budget are the normal acceptable goals aren’t they.

But making a decent return out of it too? Working on a cost-reimbursable, target cost, open book with a percentage addition for on-cost and profit?

Is that part of it? Yes, it should be.

So my point is, it’s a commercial world, everyone is looking after their own business interests at the end of it all. So to see true collaboration some big barriers have got to be broken down, and a truly trusting partnership formed between all parties.

Will that ever happen?

 No, not at the moment……but wait until BIM really comes into its own, then you will see the cultural change that this will demand, that in my opinion will change the way we work in this industry in a very significant way.

Honest tendering

I’ve had a rest this week from my normal blogging and provided a guest blog for John Langford a good friend of mine.

it’s about, as the title says above………. Honest tendering.

It can be found at http://www.cmmuk.com/honest-tendering-derek-mynott

Think before you tweet…..

I had a look back yesterday at the blogs I had been posting since I started blogging to see what was the most popular.
 
Currently by number of visits the top five posts are:

Cut throat Tender Pricing
APC Tips and Techniques
What makes a good CV? 15 tips from the GFP Team
Measurement is for Dummies
Time for a Construction revolution

The reason I did that was I was looking back to see if a theme was developing on what people most like to read about.

However given all the current talk about super injunctions I thought I’d do a post that I’ve had in my head for a while.

Honestly.

I really did have it in my mind to do a posting about a recent case involving twitter and a local councillor in South Wales. Seems a bit corny to do it now, but hey ho. I’m not going to talk about the super injunction stuff, but about the twitter case.

The case in question was about defamation and involved councillor Colin Elsbury at the local elections earlier this year, and mistaken identity.

There are loads of places to read about the facts of the case, and I suppose if you are going to read about it anywhere The MailOnline would be a good place to go!

I had also seen an article in March written by CMS Cameron McKenna too titled ‘Can you damage a reputation in 140 characters?’ This interestingly was also looking at the ‘no win, no-fee’ conditional fee agreement in the case too.

The principle message behind this is simple, as stated by the judge in the case at the time.

 ‘Anything posted on twitter is in the public domain and subject to libel laws’.

The fine ultimately worked out to be just more than £2,400-a-word!

Which brings me full circle to the blogs I’ve done!  I don’t think I’ve posted anything to upset anyone, but if I have, do please accept my apologies……

So finally, be warned, and think before you tweet……….

Measurement, is it necessary anymore?

I’ve followed a discussion on LinkedIn recently where a student posted a comment seeking help on advice for the measurement of centre lines for some taking off he was doing. It caused quite an interesting conversation to develop that, instead of giving the guy the actual answer he was looking for, a whole debate ensued about the merits or otherwise of measurement.

One part of the debate centred on a clients view that he did not see it necessary to pay for a BOQ to be produced anymore, accepting that someone had to do it, but not his Consultant QS. His view being it gave him little or no value, so why pay for it.

It ended up in a traditional ‘old school’ view that BOQ’s are very necessary against a more modern and pragmatic approach, to what is really important in the process of construction quantification.

So should we be bothering to measure out all sorts of quantities in great detail anymore?

Or should we be taking a different approach?

This kind of continues on from my blog of last week about BIM and bills of quantities being on the way out.

I don’t think we’ll ever get away from the need from having to have projects quantified, as at some point someone has got to put either a cost plan or a budget together and eventually someone will end up constructing the project and will need to understand the basic component parts of it.

After all somewhere along the line the costs have got to be controlled, and with the correct quantification of the project you stand a very good chance of at least achieving that!

It’s just to what level of detail will you be going?

And who will it be produced by?

Man or machine?

Let me know what you think in my poll.


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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