Paul Wilson, Managing Director of Provelio, examines the benefits of collaborative business relationships.
I was with a client this week who has been working in an open book collaborative partnership with a contractor for over 20 years. That's right, well before it was vogue and all the rage. Well before the construction industry started tweaking the idea and fiddling with the main principles to reach compromises that all the professional bodies and trade associations could live with. Well before professionals said they were partnering and then carried on in the same old adversarial fashion.
This client sees building and construction as something that his business has to do, not wants to do. Therefore the management of building and construction is a "business" issue. It is not a "journey" or an "experience", it is something that places huge risk on a client (and a contractor) and it is in both their interests to make it as painless as possible.
So like any good business director he had to determine what is the best way to procure and manage these investments. He realised that just throwing it over the fence with a tough risk transfer contract would only increase the price and the potential for dispute down the road as the design developed. It was therefore logical (even 20 years ago) to collaborate. There were precious few guides or processes about then, so both he and the contractor just did what made good business sense for both of them.
And over time the construction industry has started to catch up with the introduction of the NEC contract, partnering frameworks, open book tendering and now the introduction of BIM. Interestingly for this client, they simply became tools to make easy what he was doing already for the good of his business.
The 2013 National construction contracts and law survey is out now and well worth a coffee (and doughnut) break read. Anyone who successfully collaborates already will simply wonder why disputes are on the increase again because they won't have experienced the problem; despite the economy. Good clients deal with good contractors in a business like manner whatever the economic conditions.
It is worth taking this opportunity to dispel a myth that drives me up the wall - when people describe someone as "claims conscious". Claims are a "contractual right" and are the management solution to deal with the circumstances that occur during long projects, whereas "disputes" are a symptom of poor business and project management.
Enjoy the doughnut with http://www.thenbs.com/pdfs/NBS-NationlC&LReport2013-single.pdf
by Paul Wilson
Managing Director at Provelio
| 04/12/2013 15:13 |comments powered by Disqus