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CESW has been in existence, in its current guise, for 7 years and during that time we have built membership to more than 200 member companies and over 300 individuals. We have grown not only in membership but also influence and our ground-breaking best practice guides are now used extensively throughout the sector: https://www.constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/downloads/

 

With a New Year upon us the time is right to re-assess our goals and objectives reflecting our industry and the post COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery for which we provide the industry dissemination across the South West. We are also the official Adoption partners of the Construction Innovation Hub and this involvement will greatly benefit the industry in general and our members when it comes to future influence. Our first project to provide workshops for the Valuation Toolkit is underway. Please see: https://constructioninnovationhub.org.uk/

 

In addition, we have two significant pieces of work being carried out in association with Nottingham Trent University to:

 

To allow us to carry out this essential work we require additional resource, both financial and people, and we are writing to you to ask that you consider joining CESW as regional members. Membership offers you the opportunity to learn & share ‘best practice’, use the knowledge created to influence change and network with other leading construction professionals from across the South West. Our need is a specific commitment to allow us to continue our direction of travel.

 

Membership will provide access to our six Thought Leadership Theme Groups.

 

It will also give you membership of one of our Best Practice clubs and access to the other five.

 

Should you have any queries or require further information please do not hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, CLICK HERE  to look at our most recent Annual Report.

 

We do hope that you will consider this request favourably and hope to hear back from you shortly. You may join immediately by filling in the application form here: Join Now – Constructing Excellence SW

As we face a New Year ahead of us, I am encouraging myself to feel optimistic, thinking it
cannot possibly be as bad as 2020?!

But as much as 2020 being a year defined by the Coronavirus pandemic, it did reveal some
silver linings amid the grimness. As a nation we ‘rediscovered a spirit of togetherness’ with
communities helping one another during what has been and will continue to be a difficult
time. We have come to recognise the high value of our essential workers and the
exceptional work of the scientists who have brought light at the end of the tunnel with
coronavirus vaccines. We have experienced nature ‘rewilding’ our built environment,
cleaner air and much more walking and cycling!

We have seen how resilient our construction industry has been in continuing to work and
deliver live projects and to keep the pipeline of projects going when so many industries and
parts of our economy have been on their knees. Likewise CESW has been resilient and
adaptive enough to maintain its presence, relevance and financial sustainability when faced
with much uncertainty.

For CESW, 2020 ended up being a digital relaunch of what we are all about – working
collaboratively and promoting industry performance in order to produce a better built
environment. We have done this by moving all of our knowledge and best practice events
on to various digital platforms, providing more opportunities than ever before to champion
thought leadership through our many Theme Groups.

So what does 2021 hold for CESW and our industry? Well I think it is safe to say it will
continue to provide much uncertainty. However, what 2020 has shown us more than
anything else is what we value most – ours and our loved one’s health and wellbeing! I think
2020 was the catalyst we needed to see a paradigm shift in what we build, how we build
and where we build. Putting people at the heart of our building design and place making,
putting the planet at the heart of where and how we build and constructing in a way that is
enhancing to our own as well as the planet’s health and wellbeing.

We need to put excellence back into what we build, Grenfell Tower should not define our
industry, and we can do so much better. Construction can lead the post-covid, post-brexit
recovering that this country needs. Putting GREEN first so everything we build enhances
people, planet and place making. Redefining the construction industry as a career of choice
for younger generations who are eager to make a difference and save the planet in the
process.

For a sustainable future, we need to take care of the built environment we have inherited,
to make provision for retrofitting. We need to put an end to disposable construction, 50
years is not a durable lifespan, and we cannot afford that, not least because of nature. Now
is the time to build quality, to build for pro-life and to build for the investment that our
children and grandchildren will thank us for.
May your 2021 but life-affirming, health giving and one step closer to achieving perfection –
for the planet’s sake.

We are very happy to introduce John Williams as the new chair of our Health & Wellbeing Theme Group.

John has over 30 years’ experience as an executive in FTSE 100 organisations, bringing that commercial edge and getting the right balance between social and commercial objectives. John uses data, relationships, and people to drive change and get results. John believes that the answer is always in the room, developing the ‘Genius Within’ to optimise their potential and life chances. This approach shifts the balance of ownership from a central perspective towards communities, and organisations.

John is a coach of outstanding quality. With more than 30 years combined business management, consulting, coaching and mentoring experience, he is an expert in helping clients achieve significant profitability and performance improvements.

While primarily a personal coach, John is also a highly skilled facilitator of group coaching and coach training, an experienced change management consultant having headed up several major change programmes and an inspirational conference & seminar platform presenter.

John has vast amount of experience in building resilience from a practical perspective. John is a former international sports coach, coach educator and leader with experience in Europe, Asia and America. The work exposed him to many different cultures, societies, and people, who faced an ever-changing expectation and increased competition.

He has extensive experience in the competitive commercial world of outsourcing, supply chain management and consulting on large, complex, high value government contracts. That work included the first outsourced contract by a local authority, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Social Services to look at a strategic partnership approach to address Mental Health in a geographical region, Housing Support, and Home Care.

A preventative approach to health and well-being sets out to build resilience through professional service integration by supporting people to navigate their way through a complex mix of services and organisations to deliver the best outcome for people across the spectrum of any particular demographic.

This month, Martyn Jones continues his exploration of the changes that can be made to construction’s operating system and delivery methods to combine purpose with profit, and to sustain the spirit of “we’re all in this together” as seen in our response to the challenges of the pandemic.

In December he looked at Two Stage Open Book procurement. He starts the New Year by making the case for project bank accounts (PBAs) in bringing construction clients and lead and specialist contractors together in the spirit of a joint enterprise.

PBSs are not new of course, but they do offer a way to shift the focus away from lowest price procurement/race to the bottom and towards delivering better project outcomes for clients and the whole supply chain.

Back in 2006, Professor Rudi Klein, a leading campaigner and advocate for the interests of construction subcontractors in general and combatting payment abuse in particular, was the guest speaker at the launch of the Bristol Rethinking Construction Club report for the then department of Trade and Industry: Bridging the Gap: Connecting Bristol’s specialist and trade contractors with the Rethinking Construction agenda.

At the event in Bristol, Rudi endorsed the Club’s report and called for the use of project bank accounts to combat payment abuse. This resonated with the findings of the Bristol Club’s investigation, which set out the barriers to specialist contractors’ engagement with the Rethinking Construction movement. These included the onerous payment procedures and retention regimes of many clients and lead contractors.

PBAs work by ring-fencing accounts from which payments are made directly and simultaneously by the client to all parties in the supply chain. Funds in the account can only be paid to beneficiaries, that is, members of the supply chain named in the account (i.e., the lead contractors and supply chain members).

They provide a means of enabling faster payments through the construction supply chain, with payments being made as soon as 5 days from the due date. This is intended to reduce cash flow problems that can lead to the insolvency of supply chain members which, as we know, is potentially catastrophic risks for projects in terms of money and time.

Why use PBAs? Let’s start with the very important but practical advantages. Supply chain members do not have to wait for upstream contractors to process payments as they receive them directly, ensuring certainty, security and speed of payments. It reduces the need for supply chain members to borrow or finance credit and the assets in the PBA are protected from tier 1 insolvencies.

 

They ensure regular payments within timescales that are much shorter than where cash has to be cascaded down through different contracting layers. Retention monies can be ‘ring-fenced’, providing supply chain members with security that they will eventually be paid when due, Payment-based disputes are reduced, and supply chain members can reallocate the time and energy they spend on chasing payments to more constructive value-adding activities.

 

But consider this. Even more importantly, in my view, a PBA brings lead contractors and specialists together in a different business relationship, and in the case of the dual authority model of PBAs, bringing clients, lead contractors and specialists closer together.

 

A PBA places all parties on a more equal footing and sends strong signals that opportunistic behaviour is not acceptable, or indeed needed, as supply chain members are paid fairly and promptly as valued members of a collaborative team. It incentivises lead contractors and supply chains to change their value propositions and move away from providing lowest price solutions. In short, a further step towards unlocking specialist contractor potential to deliver innovative, value-based solutions.

 

Who is using PBSs? Back in 2010, the UK Government introduced a policy requiring all UK government procurers to use PBAs unless there are compelling reasons not to do so. All the devolved governments also have policies in place requiring the use of PBAs.

Highways England likes them. In their view, “PBAs are now acknowledged to be the most effective method of ensuring secure and regular cash flow, particularly in the wake of recent lead contractor insolvencies. Using them makes [us] the client of choice in an increasingly competitive market and ultimately helps us deliver our programme to improve our road network, and besides efficiencies, they’re also helping us do the right thing for our suppliers.”

However, research by The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group indicates that the take-up of PBAs by local authorities in England has been slow. Why? Well, there are some challenges including sometimes a lack of transparency along the supply chain regarding their operation and the Cabinet Office hasn’t validated the “compelling reasons” given by a department or agency for not using PBAs.

 

Occasionally issues have arisen too where the tier 1 contractor has gone into insolvency and there is concern amongst supply chain firms of what happens to disputed sums – although in Highways England projects disputed monies are kept in the PBA until the dispute is resolved. And, perhaps most significantly, lead contractors are reluctant to relinquish their control of the flow of money and the leverage it gives them downstream in the supply chain and which in turn may impact on their profitability. So maybe clients need to show leadership and recognise that their lead contractors should have larger margins and so removing the need for opportunistic behaviour?

 

It’s the time of year when we think about resolutions for the coming year. Perhaps PBAs should be on your list for changes in 2021?

On behalf of NVB Architects I am delighted to have received the first life time membership award for any organisation. Constructing Excellence South West is a very influential  organisation for the construction industry covering the south west. The organisation is the only forum where all parties to the construction industry come together from a mix of varying disciplines.

 

It was over seven years ago that Andrew invited me to be a board member and I was very keen to find a way to help the organisation grow and to provide it with a home. My fellow directors at NVB agreed to sponsor the provision of admin support for the organisation and since those days we have seen it grow from strength to strength. CESW is now on a very solid footing, which given the challenges of 2020 is fantastic news. NVB continues to be the home for management meetings and special events for the organisation.

 

NVB look forward to continuing our support of CESW in any way that we can.

 

Bill Button

Director

During the Covid shutdown I am working from home, so please use my mobile number for primary contact : 07971 458097. I am also available via MS TEAMS and a range of other platforms.

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