On good (collaborative) behaviour

Once again, it’s not just about technology, it’s people and processes – behaviours – that support successful collaboration.

constructing excellenceI have been involved with, and enthusiastic about, Constructing Excellence almost since its foundation and have been a CE collaborative working champion for about 10 years. CE is, I think, the only pan-industry membership body in the UK built environment sector, drawing its members from industry client organisations, contractors, consultants and manufacturers and suppliers, which underlines its core purpose: promoting integrated collaborative working across every part of the supply chain.

At the London offices of multi-disciplinary consultant Pick Everard yesterday, the CE CWCs held their quarterly meeting, and the agenda stimulated a lot of conversation about collaborative behaviours. I talked to the group about the Behaviours4Collaboration group (see my December 2014 post), updating my presentation a bit to include an example page from the prototype profession map (tabled at a stakeholders meeting at Bath University in January), and noting that the recently published Digital Built Britain document (post) also highlights the need for behaviour changes to achieve Level 3 BIM.

There was also discussion of an update to the Strategic Forum for Construction’s Integration Toolkit, first released in 2003, but now being refreshed as a by-product of a Technology Strategy Board-funded project focused on integrated project insurance.* Kevin Thomas then described how the first IPI project had been successfully tendered, relating to a college project in Solihull in the West Midlands.

The CWCs then heard from two guests: David Hawkins of the Institute for Collaborative Working, talking about BS11000, and Dale Evans of the Infrastructure Clients Group and Anglian Water talking about alliancing. Neither of these speakers had been present during the earlier discussion of Behaviours4Collaboration, but both reiterated key points about collaboration needing to be reflected in people’s behaviours on projects.


David stressed that many organisations often just pay lip service to ideas such as partnering or integration, and make little or no effort to change their cultures accordingly. Achieving BS11000 certification, he said, will require businesses to show that they have the right behaviours enshrined in their processes (he particularly highlighted HR) and to demonstrate how those processes contribute to the relevant business relationships.


AlliancingDale presented a really interesting case study about Anglian Water’s @OneAlliance relationship (he also referenced an ICG project initiation routemap, and tabled a copy of a guide, Alliancing Best Practice in Infrastructure Delivery), whereby a consortium of contractors and consultants manage an asset management progamme (AMP5 is just drawing to a close) delivering 800 projects worth some £2.4bn. Set some stringent ‘stretch targets’, @OneAlliance team members have to work effectively as a single business in partnership with the client and are incentivised by a gain/pain-sharing pool to deliver innovations. A tough target of reducing embodied carbon by 50%, for example, had been particularly powerful in stimulating innovation, Dale said, with the team adopting off-site construction approaches and other efficiency improvements, reducing the benchmark cost of some £10m projects to £7m in the process. Behavioural change was a strong characteristic of the Anglian alliance process, he said, and the Alliancing guide underlines the importance of behaviours:

To ensure success an emphasis has to be placed on the behavioural aspects of both the organisations and individuals involved.

[* Disclosure: pwcom.co.uk has been providing consultancy services to help develop the new integrated collaborative working toolkit.]


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