News tagged Sub-contract
  • Sub-contract opportunities unveiled for Scotland’s River Clyde project

    Graham has disclosed sub-contract opportunities for local suppliers to help deliver and transform the bridge over Scotland’s River Clyde. The post Sub-contract opportunities unveiled for Scotland’s River Clyde project appeared first on Planning, BIM & Construction Today.

  • Procurement policy changes

    What do private sector suppliers (constructors, designers, and other consultants) want from government procurement policies and processes? Could changes in those policies and processes improve the way we deliver projects? The Productivity Commission in its draft Report on Infrastructure Costs had a crack at some suggested changes, arguing that: “There is significant scope to improve public sector procurement practices and lower bid costs for tenderers, with potentially large benefits for project costs and timing.” Here are two changes in procurement approach suggested by the Commission. Reducing bidding costs by investing more in initial design, contributing to the bid costs of tenderers, and requiring only cost‑relevant plans from all bidders, with the remaining ones required of the preferred tenderer. Eliciting best value‑for‑money bids by improving the quality of information on possible costs by developing  initial designs using BIM, and, working with  industry to coordinate the establishment of common technical standards to ensure that the greatest benefits from the adoption of BIM are realised. Both make sense, and could and should be applied to commercial building projects as well as infrastructure. There are other improvements that would make a difference. Here are 2 suggestions from ACIF’s policy on regulation. Ensure procurement policy encourages collaborative working. Success in the future will involve greater attention being paid to collaborative working at all levels within a construction project. Procurement and tendering policies should support and encourage greater involvement of key stakeholders at the early stages of project development and should address the capacity of the industry to meet project objectives by allocating risk appropriately. Government is a large customer. Demand innovation.  Government must encourage innovation by demanding innovative practices and sustainability on its projects. Done properly, demand side innovation will not inhibit competition or transparency. It can lift standards that flow across the public sector and to the private sector. These innovations include requiring the use of integrated project teams and the use of BIM.  Encouraging public sector agencies to embrace change is a challenging task. It is not to be embarked on lightly, and patience is required. And yes, that is a partial lift from the Book of Common Prayer. The reasons are many and well known but it is worth reflecting on how the growing tide of support for BIM and its key driver, project team integration, is likely to generate sufficient momentum, and soon, to sweep away the perceived obstacles. Clients approaching adoption of BIM, and the option of encouraging greater project team integration, with caution. There is some reluctance to adopt BIM as a tool to design and construct assets, and to manage them after they are commissioned. In the public sector, each jurisdiction and the agencies within them are moving at their own pace. Some agencies are more advanced than others – those that regularly commission projects to deliver new or refurbished assets, and have significant asset portfolios to manage, are more advanced in their thinking and development of internal policies and processes. Agencies at the forefront include those for defence, health and education. Key issues for public sector agencies include: Assessing whether the costs of requiring the delivery and use of BIM models are outweighed by the asset’s whole-of-life benefits. Identifying minimum threshold values of projects on which to require the use of BIM for designing, constructing or managing assets. Assessing whether local suppliers (designers and constructors and asset managers) have the skills and resources to build and use BIM models. Ensuring that smaller firms – whether designers or other consultants, or constructors – that are slower than others in using BIM are not disadvantaged. Determining whether existing legislation, policies, or procedures are flexible enough to allow the early appointment of constructors to project teams to be part of the design process. Determining the extent to which internal BIM or other project management capability is required when requiring the delivery and use of BIM models by suppliers. Other related issues arise in considering the scope that government agencies and private sector clients have to encourage those bidding for design or construction work to use teams that integrate designers, trade contractors and head contractors. The conventional approach to project delivery involves design work being undertaken by designers sufficient to enable the client to seek proposals and prices to construct an asset. This excludes constructors (including trade contractors who provide a head contractor with sub-contract proposals) from initial design. A different approach is needed if we are to optimise the power of BIM to facilitate more effective collaboration focused on meeting client objectives is optimised. This alternative involves constructors (including relevant trade contractors) in the initial design as part of an integrated design team, regardless of the project delivery strategy selected. This approach may involve challenging existing policies and procedures, which aim to ensure that the selection of suppliers is transparent and delivers value for money, and implementing alternatives in their place. Clients, whether public or private, are addressing these issues in different ways and proceeding at their own pace. Nonetheless, the McGraw Hill  reports on use of BIM – globally and in Australia – point to the increasing adoption of BIM due to efficiencies and cost benefits. It is likely that, once the initial investment in systems and skills is made, BIM models and their use will be offered as a competitive advantage by early adopters, and eventually as a matter of course by all firms who wish to continue as suppliers. It is reasonable to assume that the rate of adoption of BIM will increase as the number of clients requiring it grows. The challenges presently being considered by clients may indeed have a default response – industry will simply make BIM, and greater use of more effective project integration, part of its business-as-usual kitbag of tools. These challenges, and others, are being explored in a Framework for Adoption of Project Team Integration and Building Information Modelling that is being developed by ACIF and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council. >>The Framework will be launched on 2 December, and be available for download from the ACIF and APCC web sites.

  • Productivity gets a boost with new Policies

    Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) is focussed on boosting productivity for construction in Australia, as a driver of more work and better quality outputs and workplaces for everyone. New Boosting Construction Productivity Policy Paper outlines the biggest issues and the solutions that the industry wants to see implemented to overcome them. Download the new Boosting Construction Productivity Policy Paper and Fact Sheets here The construction industry is a major contributor both directly and indirectly to the Australian economy. It is an industry that employs around 1 million Australians, and had turnover of $212 billion in 2015-16 equating to 12.7% of GDP. In addition, it creates the buildings, cities and infrastructure that makes Australia more productive, liveable and sustainable, adding substantially to our national wealth and well-being. However, the construction industry in Australia has not substantially improved its productivity in decades, and can waste up to 30% of its efforts. This is not a uniquely Australian issue. Rather, it is a product of the structure of the construction industry, the increasing complexity of its services, and the creation and operation of “silos” within that structure. If that wasted effort were to be reduced by only one third, it would lift Australian residential and non – residential construction output by more than $10 billion annually. If the changes required to achieve that reduction were to “ripple” through the industry, it is conceivable that within a few years the improved output would be substantially higher.  The Solutions This challenge has been the subject for numerous studies, reports, reviews and inquiries over at least three decades, most recently the Productivity Commission inquiry into Public Infrastructure Costs (2014). These landmark studies point to a diverse range of common denominators in reducing wasted effort. In particular, three key themes are evident; depth of procurement and project management skills, better supply chain integration and the use of technology to improve project outcomes. Yet despite these themes, and many particular recommendations, reappearing in study after study, there has been slow,  if any, adoption of better practice. This is despite evidence from other jurisdictions (e.g. the UK) or industries (e.g. resources sector), that adopting these recommendations result in massive productivity uplifts, less waste, lower costs and happier industry participants. ACIF and its members believe that there is no need for more inquiries or reports. The imperative is to act on a handful of potential drivers of improvement that are developed collaboratively by governments, clients and service providers. The Role of Government The importance of governments is twofold.  As policy makers, governments have ultimate influence over the legislative and regulatory arrangements governing the industry.  Even more important, however, is government in its role as client.  As major and ongoing clients of the construction industry, and the ways in which governments and industry interact have a profound impact on both the health of the industry and the success of governments in delivering their capital programs. Industry is already doing a great deal of heavy lifting from the bottom up, but it is limited in achieving the pace of change required to remain competitive with major trading partners without top down political and government leadership. Leadership from government in both these roles is critical if we are to substantially increase Australia’s construction productivity. Recommendation 1: Establish an Independent Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence With large amounts of public funds being spent on infrastructure, it is incumbent on governments to ensure they get maximum value for money through the procurement process. To buy wisely you need wise buyers: there are substantial opportunities for governments and business to share expertise, and identify and deliver solutions that improve productivity and value for money across the procurement process.  To overcome persistent deficiencies in procurement skills and practices, we recommend a whole of government approach supporting the establishment of an Australian Centre for Procurement Excellence, building on the work of the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC). The Procurement Centre of Excellence will expand the APCC’s role and remit, broadening government engagement and building on work across jurisdictions considering efficiencies in procurement. The Centre would be tasked with building a stronger relationship between government and business and supporting best practice procurement in Australia at all levels of government. The Centre should:  be established as independent of government; build stronger linkages between government and with industry sectors; provide transparent expert advice to all levels of government;  develop guidelines, build capability and improve standards; and work with Infrastructure Australia and other government agencies to develop long term visionary thinking and planning for investment in economic and social infrastructure.  The Board of the Centre for Procurement Excellence should include equal levels of representation from industry and government. Recommendation 2: Fairer, Standard Contracts Devolved responsibility for agencies has resulted in greater autonomy, but also significant re-inventing of wheels. Specific approaches to project definition, initiation and contracting have increased regulatory and administrative burden, decreased trust and certainty and increased waste.  ACIF believes that a ‘leading practice’ approach can be reflected in a consistent public sector framework of capital works procurement policies and practices, used by all government agencies. ACIF recommends a suite of leading practice procurement policies, delivery strategies and contract and sub-contract conditions be developed by the Centre for Procurement Excellence, to be used by government agencies on an “if not why not” basis that would: provide best fit between end user and project requirements and delivery strategy; reduce the cost of contract administration and of providing appropriate procurement and commercial skills whether in house or by consultants; minimise wasted effort and disputes; and embody equitable risk allocations whilst ensuring best value for end users and owners. Recommendation 3: Promote Building Information Modelling Building Information Modelling (BIM) is being used around the world to complement better collaboration and coordination between the supply chain participants in construction.  Using technology as a facilitator to bring project teams together and design a virtual prototype of an asset is helping to enhance collaboration, test and re-test business case objectives, and plan for more efficient asset delivery. Moving an entire industry to a new way of doing things, however, is not an easy task. There are up-front capital investments, significant industry up-skilling, regulatory frameworks and standards to be developed and changes to culture to be considered. However, the productivity dividend is undeniable. Numerous reports, experience from other countries and existing Australian examples provide a significant evidence base to substantiate making the change. Thus it is imperative that governments, through their significant purchasing power and whole of industry influence, lead the way. ACIF recommends that governments promote the use of BIM on all Federal and State government building projects and all infrastructure projects.  The Procurement Centre of Excellence would be tasked with the execution of this across governments.  

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  • Thea Limited

    We are a team of solicitors and a barrister who draft and negotiate construction contracts and deal with disputes under them. We can review your existing terms and conditions or draft bespoke agreements for you. If you have a dispute over payment, we can write the letters before action that lead into formal proceedings such as adjudication or litigation, or respond to such letters and proceedings on your behalf. Alternatively, one of us can act as mediator and help guide all sides towards a settlement. We have additional expertise is commercial leases and matrimonial law, especially proceedings involving children. Feel free to call for an initial no-obligation chat to see if we can be of assistance.

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