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Construction, Refurbishment

Why Collaboration is the future for Construction Contracts?

Why Collaboration is the future for Construction Contracts?

The prospect of approaching any construction project is a daunting one, even when you have experience of delivering such contracts before. The selection of team and the approach to procurement is pivotal to the process being a success.  Aztec have experience of undertaking the most technical and complex of schemes and are here to guide you through the potential pitfalls of contracting. When undertaking either refurbishment or new build contracts, this type of work has many moving parts and needs the skills of various disciplines, with different backgrounds and different areas of expertise and cannot be done alone. Aztec need the full backing and support of the client, on every aspect of the process from deadlines to delivery around their live business needs. This why collaboration is so important, setting clear, common project goals within the bounds of cost, quality and time.

The objectives of the project from conception need to be clear. A well-designed brief cannot be stressed enough of its importance, as this is a point of reference that needs to be referred to at specific points in the process. While the specification needs to be written in such a way that the client understands what the contractor is setting out to do and define what they expect to receive upon completion

This is where Aztec can help, we sit down, take the time to absorb what you are setting out to achieve and provide advice on how to get there. You no longer get there with traditional tendering combined with traditional procurement-fact! The opportunity for commercial gain is too prevalent, communication often breaks down and disputes are far too common. It is also an industry which has historically been adversarial in its operation, with a focus on blame allocation in the face of delays or cost overruns, and on risk transfer and claims

Negatives of Traditional Procurement

With traditional procurement, the architect can produce detailed designs, the principal quantity surveyor can produce a full bill of quants and the building surveyors can produce a detailed schedule of works. The CDM coordinator will oversee the design and the structural engineers will provide their calculations to ensure the science of build is accurate. This is fee, upon fee, upon fee when Aztec can look after the entire process, turn key and act on the client’s behalf to making important decisions that could be detrimental to the build. One point of contact – stress free process.

It comes down to people, when you engage with a contractor. You develop a repour, both parties develop an appreciation for their part within the process and provide the necessary support as required to navigate the contract.

Early Engagement – Why Chose Design and Build?

We believe that working together from the inception, there are serious gains over the classic design-bid-build method. Time and cost are the most glaring apparent, the points detailed below will hopefully help illustrate these facts.

  • Single source of accountability – The design/build approach provides a single source point of communication, within Aztec it will be the QS/PM who will have priced the project, working with you on budget and manage all the contractors onsite. In the classic design-bid-build method the owner must: Select an architect/designer, finalise the design, bid the project, select a contractor, and then act as an intermediary.  The design-build method fosters teamwork and lends itself to cooperation.  The relationship built during the design phase helps to ensure that the stage is set for a successful construction project.
  • Budget management – We appreciate that cost is king, we outline the operational costs, then if the budget allows, the finer finishing details that can be installed in phase one or retro-fitted at a later stage. Discussing budget during the design phase (not waiting until the bids come in) helps to keep the projects within a realistic budget. Communicating the cost implications of design decisions ensures that the owner plays a key role in arriving at the final project price.  Once the scope of work has been finalised, the project costs are clearly defined and controlled by Aztec.
  • Enhanced communication – Specific design and construction details are being developed throughout the entire process and the focus stays on owner “value”. The communication benefits of working with a design professional and a construction expert at the same time ensures that potential problems are discovered before the project starts.
  • Faster project completion – Design build projects can be completed in a shorter amount of time because: Bid time is reduced, scheduling for the project can begin before design is finalised, potential construction problems are uncovered early, and enhanced communication keeps everything moving.
  • Quality Control – The design build method helps to remove ambiguity that may arise in material and construction specifications. Since the designer, engineer and builder are from the same firm, the focus remains on protecting the client’s interest.

Collaboration – the benefiting of partnering in construction

Collaboration is essential to the success of construction projects; our previous client’s now realise that communication and the sharing of information is one of the key elements of a successful contractual relationship. To get there, it doesn’t work if the contractor has been building up his quotation off a sheet without spending the time to get to know the reasons of how the client has came to the decisions that he has made on what is needed for the build and if they are right for the particular project.

Collaboration is a strategic process and has proven to be the foundation of many success projects that Aztec have delivered over the past three decades. It allows for parts of construction such as clash detection to be discussed openly around the table, before the problems appear on site and encourages different members of the supply chain to work together, most importantly at the right stage. The project is planned, the team is defined, the perimeters are clear for all involved.

Without this approach, the opportunity for sustainable goals to be developed and implemented are stifled and the opportunity for innovation to take place is seriously restricted.

The Future of Partnering

Cost certainty and trust is something that we encourage in every project. It creates a culture that drives innovation and provides improved solutions to the unexpected challenges that inevitably arise during every scheme. It has been clear for many years to Aztec that collaboration, has a significant impact on the success of a project.  Collaboration is crucial in enabling us to deliver value for money and the best outcomes for all our clients’ both in the public sector and the private. As it stands, we are missing opportunities to innovate and deliver improvements, due to the adversarial nature of the sector and rigid specifications. Overly detailed specifications and the rejection of innovative ideas proposed during the design and tender process should be challenged – Aztec do this each and every stage on our client’s behalf. Aztec believes that for collaboration to become truly embedded across the sector as a norm, there has to be a genuine cultural shift. This is why, Aztec are so passionate about undertaking projects in the correct manner. Not only does it benefit our clients in the form of quality and cost savings, but the environment benefits also, along with industry through innovation and productivity. Presenting a greener future, higher specification buildings that ‘work’ with modern infrastructure, compatible with the contemporary needs of industry.

For more information on how to deliver commercially successful projects. Please contact Paul at paul.ashmore@aztec-limited.co.uk .

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