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Construction Playbook for the private sector

Following publication of the updated Construction Playbook for central government procurement in October, the Construction Productivity Taskforce has now published a Construction Playbook for the private sector.

The Construction Productivity Taskforce is a collaborative undertaking by some of the UK’s leading developers, contractors, consultants and suppliers to improve productivity in the construction industry, which continues to fall behind other industries.

The Construction Playbook offers a suite of guiding principles distilled from best practice and collective experience from leading companies across the sector. The principles are intended to produce high quality, sustainable buildings more productively while avoiding waste, rework and potentially costly disputes.

The Construction Playbook proposes 10 drivers for success that should underpin any project:

  • form effective partnerships,
  • adopt portfolio and longer-term contracting,
  • adopt an outcome-based approach,
  • embed digital information flows and technologies,
  • involve the supply chain early,
  • benchmark objectives,
  • allocate risk fairly and appropriately,
  • pay fairly,
  • assess the economic and financial standing of suppliers, and
  • promote innovation and continuous improvement.

These drivers run as themes across nine chapters, which follow the project sequence from concept and planning to procurement and delivery, and set out advice and practical considerations for each stage of the project. Each chapter provides case studies and practical takeaways and toolkits:

Building the concept/preparation and planning


1. Setting up the project and defining success

"Establishing from the outset a well-structured, defined set of project principles and objectives which encourage trust-based relationships and a cohesive culture, provide firm foundations for project success"

2. Understanding and apportioning risk

"The inappropriate apportioning of risk can be a major cause of project failure. This can be avoided by early engagement, by transferring risk at the right time and by not saddling suppliers with onerous liabilities"

3.  Benefiting from modern methods of construction

"Greater use of off-site manufacturing, including designing components for manufacture and assembly, can help deliver better quality, lower embodied carbon, speed construction times and reduce safety risks; but it must be

planned at the outset of a project"



4. Defining a procurement strategy to create value

"A procurement strategy to align objectives, establish trust and attract the best suppliers"

5. Bid evaluation and awarding contracts

"This chapter explains how to adopt value-based procurement and ensure technical and financial capacity of suppliers is matched with the complexity of the job; it notes how supplier failure will ultimately lead to reduced capacity in the market, less value, and less innovation"

Managing construction


6. Site accommodation for a modern workforce

"In the office or on site, a high standard of working environment is essential for achieving a healthy and injury-free workforce, as well as helping to attract

new and diverse talent into the sector; this chapter looks in more detail at how projects can create the best working conditions"

7. Creating a platform for change

"Changes are inevitable in construction projects; but with the right environment, impact on programme timings and costs can be minimised"

8. Measuring success and checking in

"Continuous measurement and capturing of success and failure, together with feedback captured at both project and wider level, will help safeguard the delivery; increasing productivity should also start with measuring productivity"

Managing post-construction


9. Transition to handover and effective aftercare

"Improving the operational efficiency and energy intensity of the building is a must; it requires the input of the operation team, a robust handover, a post-completion and aftercare strategy and sufficient training and simple-to-follow instructions for occupiers at handover"

While none of the themes represent a radical departure from previous recommendations by various industry bodies, the Construction Playbook does provide a useful summary of best practice. The case studies provide useful practical examples showing how the guidance has been successfully implemented in real world.

Private developers would certainly well-advised to read the Construction Playbook to confirm that they are already following best practice, or at least to understand where and why their current practice departs from the recommendations – not all of the recommendations will necessarily be appropriate for every developer or project.

As noted in the Construction Playbook, the guidance is timely as the Building Safety Act will require all parts of our industry to think differently and raise their game.

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