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Value, people and sustainably at heart of new Constructing Excellence SW clients guide.

With the UK looking to build its way to a brighter future following COVID, construction clients are being told they hold the key to ensuring the sector emerges from the crisis a more efficient, inclusive and greener industry.

Constructing Excellence South West (CESW) – set up to lead the change agenda in construction and already backed by many of the region’s key industry players – has launched a new guide aimed at all clients procuring construction work and therefore in a position to significantly influence the sector’s processes, practices and outcomes.

Central to the Client Commitments Best Practice Guide is the theme of achieving best value, including over the lifetime of the project and through considering social value. It calls for a move away from the all-too-familiar ‘race to the bottom’ that can be the result of traditional and often wholly unrealistic lowest-price procurement processes.

The Client Commitments Best Practice Guide deals with six main areas of responsibility for clients:

· Emphasising the need for strong client leadership, which is at the heart of delivering change

· Collaborative procurement and integration of the supply chain from an early stage in the project

· A commitment to people and the need for clients to ensure this culture is embraced throughout the supply chain

· Sustainability and delivering against the net zero carbon agenda

· Quality and compliance, through design, manufacture and installation

· Health, safety and wellbeing

A guide was first published in 2006 to outline best practice for clients in the build-up the huge level of construction activity anticipated for the London 2012 Olympics.

Andrew Carpenter, CEO of Constructing Excellence South West, said the newly launched 2021 guide, developed in association with Nottingham Trent University, was arguably even more important now in the aftermath of COVID and the need to address the climate emergency.

He said: “For the last 12 months we’ve endured the COVID crisis but we now have the Government’s call to ‘Build back better, Build back faster, Build back greener’ and the Construction Leadership Council’s Roadmap to Recovery for the industry, all of which is taken into account in the new guide and which plays alongside the Value Toolkit and the Construction Playbook.

“For the first time in many years the construction industry is coming together with one voice and more and more people are understanding the concept of value, whole-life building costs and social value, rather than simply focusing on lowest price build cost.”

“We all live in a society which is accepting that, post-COVID, the construction industry that we look forward to is not the same one we left behind and clients have a major responsibility for shaping this. So, I would encourage all clients of the construction industry to read this document, take on board its recommendations and work towards driving the change that we all need.”

CLICK HERE to view the Client Commitments Best Practice Guide

CLICK HERE to watch CEO, Andrew Carpenter’s video introduction to the guide

Constructing Excellence South West (CESW) leads the change agenda in construction regionally as part of Construction Excellence’s national mission to improve the industry’s performance and produce a better built environment.

It wants a much more collaborative culture within the industry, acknowledging the need for committed leadership and a customer-focussed approach in the sector, while also working with the client base to encourage a more enlightened approach to procurement focussed on quality and delivery, and not just price.

Together with achieving more integrated supply chains and lean processes the aim is to pave the way for improved productivity, the adoption of new digital and off-site construction technologies , a focus on people and wellbeing and address the need to attract and recruit the next generation of industry leaders.

AN INNOVATIVE new prison has scooped three awards on behalf of the East Midlands at the national Constructing Excellence awards.

– built by Kier Construction for the Ministry of Justice – was designed and built using modern methods of construction (MMC), and picked up wins in the Digital Construction, Offsite Project of the Year and Client of the Year categories.

The trio of awards for the Wellingborough project recognised the innovative approach in using both MMC and building information modelling, as well as the integration and collaborative working between the design and build team and the client.

Meanwhile, the South West region also saw success with Shire Hall winning in the Integration and Collaborative Work category, celebrating the cohesive approach taken by Kier, Gloucestershire County Council, Quattro Design Architects and Adams Fletcher & Partners.

Taking place over 165 weeks and 82 phases, the transformation of the part-listed building from a tired and inefficient eyesore to an elegant and highly sustainable workplace earned the team the award, recognising its well-considered and well-executed solutions throughout a complex project.

The region also received two further ‘Highly Commended’ recognitions, with Seaton Beach credited in the Sustainability category for the UK’s first Passivhaus Plus certified apartment block, and Callum Yeowell of Gilbert & Goode named as runner up in the G4C Young Leader award. Keystone Group, on behalf of Construction Excellence Midlands, was also ‘Commended’ in the Innovation category.

Andrew Carpenter, chief executive at Constructing Excellence Midlands and South West, said: “While we are delighted that the HMP Wellingborough project has picked up three awards, we aren’t surprised. From start to finish, the project has been a shining example of how to integrate a modern approach with real collaboration, and it’s great to see our members’ contribution to this have been recognised with these three awards.

“The Shire Hall project shows just what can be achieved with a forward-thinking, cooperative approach, and we’re thrilled to see those efforts being rewarded. This year’s awards have been brilliant for the region and have shown how much amazing work is being done by our members, despite the challenges faced in 2020.”



MEMBERS of CESW can now benefit from virtual continued professional development (CPD) accreditations, thanks to a new partnership.

The South West and Midlands branches of Constructing Excellence have partnered with MyProPass to offer CPD accreditation for all future events, including webinar, virtual conferences and seminars.

The partnership will allow members to record attendance at these sessions and receive digital certification for the hours accrued.

Andrew Carpenter, chief executive at CESW, said: “One of the many challenges the last year has brought is the lack of in-person events, many of which were critical for the CPD requirements of our members.

“In partnering with MyProPass, our members will be able to find and sign-up to relevant CPD events, attend virtually and receive digital accreditation for their records. This is a significant step forwards for Construction Excellence as an organisation and shows our commitment to ensuring our members can access the best possible training.”

Bobby Chakravarthy, co-founder of MyProPass, said: “This partnership is a key part of our ongoing commitment to construction digitisation and innovation. We’re delighted to partner with Constructing Excellence South West and Midlands to help their members capture the benefits of CPD with a free-to-use system that enables them to book, track and record their sessions virtually.”

Members of Constructing Excellence South West and Midlands can receive the benefits of the partnership by registering at

As an industry, we have made significant steps forward in ensuring we deliver high quality buildings for our customers, however, there remains much for us still to do.” Mark Beard.

The management of quality in project delivery is a challenge for all firms involved in design, manufacturing, and site production, whether they are large or small.

The construction industry is under pressure to build more complex projects, safely, with minimum disruption


We have launched our MMC Suppliers map for the South West region. Producing the MMC suppliers map has given CESW the opportunity to help our client group understand which suppliers are in their region, which material genres they build with, and categories of MMC and markets they operate within

This month Martyn Jones continues his theme of combining Purpose with Profit by examining the role of trust in simultaneously binding individuals and organisations together and lubricating the processes of transformation.

Trust was highlighted in both the Latham (1994) and Egan (1998) reports as a major factor leading to the success or failure of construction projects. But how do we define trust, why is it now more important than ever and how do we go about building and sustaining it?

Back in 1995 The Reading Construction Forum published their seminal report: Trusting the Team: The best practice guide to partnering in construction. Partnering was presented as a way of improving construction project performance and bringing direct benefits both to clients and contractors.

Fast forward to 2020 and a quote from the recently published The Construction Playbook reiterates the role of trust:  “Together we will need to build relationships and trust through how we contract, think long-term, manage risks and share information more effectively, be flexible when things need to change and ultimately deliver continuous improvement and real value”.

The authors of The Construction Playbook go onto argue that “experience has demonstrated that a partnership model with the principles of collaboration, openness, transparency and flexibility based on contractual delivery can be beneficial in driving successful outcomes and innovation”.

And there’s more: “Critical success factors of a partnership model include a focus on delivery by both partners, clear roles and responsibilities, a shared understanding of how to resolve disputes and a collaborative culture, including adopting a one‑team ‘win‑together, fail‑together’ approach.

When we have asked the participants in our Rethinking Construction/Constructing Excellence workshops, seminars and events over the last 20 years or so to identify the key elements of collaborative working they invariably included trust. They told us it’s needed to make both external and internal partnerships stronger, increase the chances of managing risk and achieving successful project outcomes. They also highlighted the need for patience and the allocation of time and resources to painstakingly build trust. And watchfulness too, to sustain trust, as it can be lost in a single moment.


But here’s another of our members’ slant on trust.  As well as seeing trust as the social glue that holds business relationships together, they also see it as the lubricant of the processes of innovation and transformation.  Much needed now as we embark on transforming our industry.


In our guide, Outcome Led Procurement: A common sense approach to construction procurement, we point out that numerous studies have shown that people give of their best when they are valued and trusted. This is simple human nature and the reason why many serial clients tend to work with the same consultants and contractors with whom they develop a greater mutual understanding and trust. In turn, the consultants and contractors develop greater trust in the clients and a deeper understanding of their needs and the means to better achieve them.


And now, the ability to establish and build trust is becoming even more important in today’s challenging construction environment as we transform ourselves and the industry to build back greener and better. Clients and contractors are strategically repurposing themselves to play their role in reforming construction’s operating system, honing their core competencies and nurturing partnerships with other organisations to add value through new services, products, and expertise.


I have facilitated scores of workshops over the years and have asked our members to define trust. Their answers have been diverse and include: Being honest, having integrity, walking the talk, doing what you say, telling the truth, starting what you finish, being trustworthy, being competent, being someone people can count on – all of which are good answers, and all certainly capturing elements of trust. But given the risks inherent in most construction projects the definition of trust I most favour links it to risk: “The level of positive expectation we have of another person or organisation, when in a situation of risk.”


All relationships possess some degree of risk. This is true in our personal lives and is even more acute in our business relationships in construction where there is a high degree of uncertainty and yet high levels of interdependency between individuals and organisations. Risk and trust are interdependent:  If risk is high, it challenges our sense of trust with partners but with high levels of trust, partners are more willing to work differently and take greater risks for mutual advantage.


How do we go about building or indeed repairing trust that has been lost?  When establishing (or in some cases repairing) business partnerships between internal or external partners, it’s helpful to have a clear process that can be agreed that will align the objectives of the partnership, identify opportunities, challenges and risks, and establish the ongoing interactions and processes that will build and sustain long-term trust. These will include:


Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive opening remarks for February 2021 newsletter

It has been a very hectic start to the year being involved in the Government’s questioning of whether, like retail, non-essential sites should be closed. I am pleased to report that of course the outcome went in our favour with sites remaining open if the strict Site Operating Procedures are in place. CESW continues to up the ante, in terms of its online activities, during the latest lockdown with almost six hundred people tuning into our first four webinars of 2021. We have teamed up with MyProPlus to provide those who attend our events, including webinars, with the opportunity of receiving CPD certificates. We are hoping that this additional feature will encourage more ‘professionals’ to join CESW and enjoy this valuable benefit.

I would like to thank all members who participated in the Value Toolkit Regional Value Drivers Workshop in mid-January. This formed part of a national set of workshops being arranged by CE to embed this important document into the sector. The Value Toolkit will drive better social, environmental and economic outcomes through value-based decision making. The construction sector has historically viewed value through the prism of cheapness, with lowest cost and risk often outranking value and outcomes for operators, users and the environment. CE has been espousing a different approach since the 90’s and this is the latest attempt to drive change home. One that reflects our shared ambition for a better built environment. An approach that allows our industry to innovate world-leading practices that deliver value in design, delivery and operation.

Therefore, the Construction Innovation Hub, together with its network of partners including CE, is creating the Value Toolkit – a new process and supporting tools to drive better decision making, support the path to Net Zero, boost productivity and resilience, and deliver higher quality buildings.

By working together to support a permanent shift towards value-based decision-making, the Construction Innovation Hub and its partners are committed to helping UK construction build a better world through a better built environment. We all keep our fingers crossed that this time it really happens!

We have an exciting new addition to our web site in An Offsite/MMC map of South West providers. The request to provide this came from the CESW Construction Clients Group who have an increased desire to use more offsite systems but also to use ‘local’ providers where possible. This map will allow clients to identify what solutions are available across the South West and where they are based. Please visit: Offsite Suppliers Map – Constructing Excellence SW

More exciting news is the launch of the Clients Commitments Best Practice Guide at our CCG meeting on 2nd February. We have been working with Nottingham Trent University for many months in updating a document last re-produced in 2014. Obviously much has changed in those seven years what with the Hackitt Review, the Net Zero agenda, the Construction Playbook and so on and so this update is much needed. Also, with NTU we have been working on a Diploma in Smart Collaboration for a launch in April 2021. I hope to have more news on how you may get involved in the March edition.

Finally, a word of congratulations to the team behind Shire Hall for winning the CE National Award for Integration & Collaboration. My congratulations also to Callum Yeowell of Gilbert & Goode and Seaton Beach for being Highly Commended in the G4C Future Leader & Sustainability Awards respectively. We are launching the 2021 Awards on Wednesday 10th February so if you want to be a winner this year please join us by booking your place at: CE South West, Wales & Midlands Awards 2021 Launch – Constructing Excellence SW

ANDREW CARPENTER, Chief Executive CE Midlands

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