Previously, Martyn Jones has called for a new compact between construction clients and their suppliers. This month he argues that Integrative Negotiation – with the key elements of Emotional Intelligence and Co-creation – present a way to shape the new compact. He also sets out what he sees as the main skills and attributes needed to make it work,
In an Integrative Negotiation, often referred to as “win-win”, everyone benefits from the agreement. There is usually more than one issue to be negotiated so there are opportunities for each party to create value and for trade-offs too so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.
Negotiation, a well-established form of procurement amongst private sector clients, is where the client and a preferred contractor enter a contract through direct negotiation. As we saw in the recently published Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) survey of procurement, around 20% of the projects sampled were procured in this way. However, its use in the public sector is currently problematic because of its procurement constraints – barriers that will need to be removed if the sector is to share the benefits of negotiation.
Negotiation is ideal where the work is of a unique nature and the client is confident that there is only one contractor suitable to undertake the work, or where the client has a strong preference to use a particular contractor who has performed well in previous projects. Here, I argue that “Integrative Negotiation”, is key to fashioning a new compact between client and their advisers and main contractors.
And not just between client and main contractor but along the supply chain too, between main and specialist contractors and manufacturers (what we might dub a “win-win-win-win-win”). The alternative form of negotiation, “Distributive Bargaining”, where both sides try to gain control of a limited amount of resource is considered a “win-lose” negotiation where one side’s gain equals the other side’s loss and is seen as inappropriate in forging our new compact in shifting to a race to the top rather than the bottom.
What skills and attributes do negotiators need for an Integrative Negotiation approach? What are the keys to unlocking mutually beneficial outcomes? Alongside the obvious technical knowledge and “hard” skills, soft skills are very much needed too, including Emotional Intelligence, listening, persuasion, planning and co-creating. Understanding and deploying these skills and attributes are the first steps to becoming an effective negotiator.
But bear in mind, as in all situations, the specific skills needed will be shaped by the product or service being procured, the operating environment, the intended outcomes, and the culture of the people and organisations involved.
For me, there are two attributes and skills at the core of what I’m proposing: Emotional Intelligence and Co-creation.
Emotional intelligence (EI) because it combines personal competence (self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation) with social competence (empathy and social skills). It provides a means to manage emotions, empathise with the feelings of other parties and raise everyone’s consciousness of the emotional dynamics at play.
And, given that we are looking to establish a new compact, negotiations also need to include innovation. This is where co-creation comes into play, a form of collaborative innovation where ideas are shared and improved together, rather than retained by each party. It provides a shift in thinking from the single organisation as a definer of value to a more participative process where people and organizations together generate and develop meaning and value.
But there are other attributes we need to include too. The ability to build rapport helps establish and sustain relationships where both sides feel comfortable, appreciated and understood.
Listening skills are critical in order to truly understand the people involved, their needs, aspirations and ambitions, and the specificities of the situation.
Integrity or having strong ethical and moral principles are important as being thoughtful, respectful and honest builds trust.
Persuasion, the ability to influence others, can help explain why a party’s proposed ideas and solutions are beneficial to all parties and encourage others to support their point of view. In addition to being persuasive, negotiators should be, where necessary, assertive too to get their views across whilst respecting the perspectives of others.
Patience, doesn’t always fit comfortably in construction’s often gung-ho approach to projects but some negotiations can take a long time to complete, occasionally involving renegotiation and counteroffers. Rather than seeking a quick conclusion, negotiators often practice patience to properly assess the situation and reach the best mutually beneficial conclusions.
Negotiation requires planning, research and strategizing to help parties to determine what they really need and want.
Managing expectations. Just as negotiators should enter a negotiation with a clear goal, the other party will also likely have their own defined expectations. If one party might not be able to agree to each other’s terms, they should try adjusting their expectations and maintaining a balance between being a firm and collaborative negotiator.
We must always bear in mind that construction is project based with a wide diversity of organisations and products so adaptability is an important skill for a successful negotiation as each negotiation is unique, and even the situation within a singular negotiation may change from one day to the next.
However difficult negotiation might be given the specificities of construction, remember the words of Nelson Mandela: “No problem is so deep that it cannot be overcome, given the will of all parties, through discussion and negotiation rather than force and violence.”
BLOC Productions are looking for warehouse/premises to build their set build for ‘Elf the Musical’ which will show at The Hippodrome Bristol later this year.
It needs to be in the Bristol area with light, power, water and toilets and will be required for use September to end of November 2022
Needs to be accessible by lorry 24/7 with large entrance doors.
Minimum sizes – Height 6m – Width 7m – Length 7m.
In an ideal world somewhere 15m sq would enable us to put the complete set of scenery together in position as it would be on stage.
Please contact Andrew Carpenter: firstname.lastname@example.org
The top 100 Influential Women in Construction aimed at showcasing women in the sector to make these role models more accessible
We are proud to announce that CESW CEO, Andrew Carpenter will be a judge at the awards this year
This year marks the start of real change for the Industry, aimed at showcasing women in the sector in order to make female and non-binary role models more visible and accessible.
These nominations help to shine a light on those that are working to support Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity across the Industry through their actions and support of others.
The list and winners will be announced during an exclusive event, on 27 October 2022 in Manchester
Book tickets HERE
As a recently elected Board Member I am delighted to have been asked to write the opening to this month’s CESW newsletter. Constructing Excellence continues to have an important role in our industry to drive change, development and crucially collaboration. In my view, a healthy and prosperous CESW programme is vital, and I would encourage you all to engage and support as much as time allows.
It has been an incredibly difficult period for many of our members with the demise of many businesses, including Midas, and the negative impact that has had on employees, families, suppliers, contractors and clients. I have been heartened by the way the industry has rallied at what is an incredibly challenging time.
In April, the CE Devon Club gathered business leaders from the area to discuss what has led to this current instability in our sector. The debate was healthy, and the key issues highlighted stem back to trust, collaboration, contractual risk and how it’s apportioned, procurement (including tender) and project leadership. Sound familiar?
I believe we should reflect back to the days of Latham and Egan as many of the problems tackled then have, once again, resurfaced. Their findings on a similarly troubled sector were a catalyst for change. Perhaps it is time to take an honest and hard look at ourselves as an industry, adapt and make positive change once again. Constructing Excellence should and will continue to be at the forefront of this, but to do this we need maximum engagement from the industry whilst, in my view, taking additional perspectives from outside.
I recently attended a Boardroom 2030 multi-sector event, which closed by asking those individuals leading businesses to keep thinking about:
- Practising the art of thinking about the future, today
- How business can give back more than it takes
- Bold action we can take NOW for the future
- Ways to involve different people to make better decisions for the future
These questions seem pertinent to our industry and some of the challenges we face whether structural, economic or environmental. I am sure you will agree to effect change we need to challenge, disrupt and collaborate to ensure that the industry thrives and resolves the issues now and in the future. Again, I believe passionately that CESW should be at the forefront of helping our industry adapt, evolve and improve. During the few months I have been involved it’s been exciting to see the plans CESW have developed to help meet these challenges head on.
To this end, it is fantastic to see the take up from members on site visits, webinars, conferences, leadership dinners and networking events to name a few. There are some key events coming up in May that may interest you including:
- The CESW Housing Summit on 18th May in Exeter
- Building Growth Southwest Construction Summit 2022 on 11th May in Bristol
- CESW Spring Soiree on 26th May in Frome
I look forward to meeting you at a future event!
Finally, I have had the pleasure of being part of the judging panel on some of the CESW Awards and it has been an enlightening experience so far. I have learnt so much about the many fantastic projects and initiatives that you have been leading in our region. Truly inspirational.
Would you like to exhibit at the CESW Housing Summit on the 18th May 2022?
There is one more space available so do get in touch.
The cost is £250 plus VAT.
Take a look at the pack below with all the details.
Katie Pickering chats with Nicola Allen, Building Surveyor at DA Associates Consultancy Limited.
Nicola talks through her early career as a Radiographer and her transition into the construction industry, along with her views on the ageing workforce and recruitment of the next generation of construction employees.
A South West company has received national recognition for its social value work by being awarded the 2022 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.
Services Design Solution (SDS) has placed environmental sustainability, employee support, and work in the local community at the heart of its business operations. These aspects of the company’s activities received special praise when the award was announced on 21 April.
The firm has won several awards since it was established in 2004, but this outshines the others for founder Shaun Hoppins. The Queen’s Award for this category recognises sustainable practices in all its forms, including social sustainability. Shaun said: ‘This is the most prestigious award we’ve received to date; it means Her Majesty and her government have recognised our efforts in achieving sustainable business and outcomes.’
The company provides designs for building environmental engineering systems to provide safe, comfortable conditions for people to work and live. Shaun continued: ‘When we commenced trading in 2004, we wanted to differentiate ourselves from our peers in engineering sustainability. As we grew as a business, we gained a broader understanding of what is truly sustainable and captured this within the company values. We have used company profit to drive innovation, provide business growth, develop staff and create job opportunities. Our team are empowered to help local communities through time and financial support.’
What stood out for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise panel was how SDS has embedded social value targets within its business strategy. In addition to each employee being able to donate pro-bono time and volunteer for social value projects, the company donates at least 1% of its annual turnover to provide financial support to local communities. Last year, this was over £50,000 and equated to around £900 per employee. The company also provides free of charge sustainability and carbon emissions advice for public organisations such as Somerset Council; offers careers talks at local schools and universities; and has designed work experience programmes for young people.
The award panel said: ‘The business has set performance targets on social matters, including expanding sustainable sales, volunteer hours, charitable giving and training. Services Design Solution provides an exemplary example of a diverse, sustainable development programme with ambitious long-term goals, including gender, carbon, and wellbeing. They are awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development through their strong strategic focus, helping drive the sector forward, and achieving results through leadership and commitment.’
Shaun commented: ‘We’ve grown our social sustainability commitment over recent years. To have that recognised in a national award reflects the hard work the team has commited during recent years. We’ve had a 148% increase in charitable giving compared to the previous year, and seen a 60% increase in volunteering.’
SDS are committed to protecting the ecology and doing their part to reduce the UK’s impact on climate change. They have been a net carbon neutral business since 2019 and provide their clients advice on the most sustainable systems to support their built environment.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise lasts for five years, Shaun added: ‘To receive this accolade and be recognised as exemplary in sustainability within our sector is an outstanding achievement. It reflects the commitment of our staff and our promise to protect our planet.’
Construction leaders from across Cornwall attended a dedicated event to discuss tackling the main challenges currently facing the industry in the South West.
The event was chaired by Giles Blight from Bailey Partnership and Lewis Tolputt of Classic Builders.
Held at Watergate Bay Hotel, the event was sponsored by global business insurer Gallagher, and supported further by Bailey Partnership and Classic Builders. The attendees included key clients, local authorities, council leaders, architects, engineers, developers and contractors who all openly talked about their experiences of working in the industry, and shared their recommendations on how to combat the climate crisis, building safety and procurement on value.
Giles Blight, Chair of the Constructing Excellence Cornwall hub, said: “This event was a pilot project for a wider programme being rolled out by Constructing Excellence South West. It was great to be given the opportunity to test the water in Newquay to see who would engage in the conversation and attend on the night.”
“It was fantastic to have so many of the key players who work in construction come together and give up their free time to discuss issues like the climate crisis, building safety and procurement on value to understand their different points of view.”
“Everyone was incredibly passionate about the topics being discussed across the evening, and it was agreed more events like this are needed to help make a real difference to the future of the industry.”
“Construction is fundamental for the UK economy, and so it’s vital we take action now to make sure the sector continues to thrive. Starting small and looking at what can change within our region is a great first step, before rolling out new ideas and initiatives further afield.”
“Constructing Excellence South West enables us to hold events like this, and with Gallagher support, the whole evening was a great success. This is just the start of things to come for CE Cornwall, and we look forward to future events that capture the thoughts and ideas of the great minds in construction.”
Ross Browne, Development Director for Gallagher added: “Fundamental to successful change is people coming together to discuss the pressing issues in their sector for the good of all. To be part
of the evening in Newquay and hear first-hand how the people in the room are adapting to and embracing change, proved the value of that and how we can be better, when we work together.”
Following the collapse of Midas, Constructing Excellence South West’s Devon Club gathered senior leaders across the region to discuss its impact on the wider sector.
In the last year, more than 2,500 construction companies across England and Wales have gone into administration.
The multimillion-pound Midas Group, which went insolvent in February, is just the most recent high-profile example1.
With over 300 employees and several huge contracts underway, the firm’s collapse was a major blow for construction – especially in the South West, where Midas primarily operated2.
The Constructing Excellence Devon Club was quick to respond. Bringing together the group’s network and members, it sought to facilitate an honest and open conversation about what went wrong, how similar situations can be avoided, and how construction can address the biggest challenges that face it.
Andrew Carpenter, Constructing Excellence South West CEO was in attendance and kick-started discussions.
“The Midas collapse has had a devastating impact on the construction industry – particularly here in the South West,” says Andrew.
“But it may turn out to be the wake-up call the sector needed.
“Construction keeps the UK economy thriving – but in my experience, it struggles to adapt in difficult circumstances, and learn from the challenges it often faces.
“Constructing Excellence South West was designed to change that – and by facilitating valuable forums like these, we want to drive change and influence best practice to help shape the future of the industry.”
Silo working is detrimental
Over an evening of debate and discussion in Exeter, the room full of contractors, consultants, clients, suppliers and other key decision-makers from throughout the sector came to a number of conclusions.
The first concerned collaboration. Currently, there isn’t enough of it, and for the sector to succeed, there needs to be a lot more.
All too often, organisations operate in silos, and what little collaboration does take place is misaligned. This obviously has a detrimental impact on the projects in question.
Information sharing was consistently highlighted as a vital area for improvement. Effective knowledge sharing is an essential element of any contractual relationship.
However, with a lack of guidance on best practice and how to effectively do this, difficulties across the supply chain emerge – very often, there’s a lack of understanding about the common project goal, and how to deliver a high-quality product on time and on budget.
Participants also discussed how a shift in culture and behaviours is needed to drive real change.
People shared their personal experiences, and discussed how they believe there is a lack of trust and honesty throughout the sector. This seems to be more noticeable when it comes to the finances of a project.
Players who are driven to make money can sometimes be difficult to work with, and will often fail to abide by the outlined payment terms.
Getting everyone involved around a table early on can help to ensure a robust contractual agreement is put in place, attendees agreed. This is the fairest way to deliver projects, ensuring the prices are aligned, and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet from the start.
Challenging the status quo
Having analysed the sector’s biggest challenges, the event concluded by exploring potential solutions – and the business leaders present strongly argued that disruption is key.
“The sector has a history of being fragmented – but now is the time to work collaboratively to tackle ongoing issues,” Emma Osmudsen, Exeter City Living Managing Director and CESW Vice Chair stated.
“To do this, we need more disruptors. We have to constantly challenge and question existing ways of working.
“Disruptors can come in, look unsentimentally at how we’ve traditionally operated, and offer the creative, innovative solutions we need to drive real transformational change.”
Attracting and recruiting a younger generation of construction professionals has been a priority for many years – but attendees agreed that as the sector seeks creative solutions to the issues it faces, this will become more important than ever. Talented young recruits have the potential to transform the way the industry operates.
Additionally, participants argued that construction is often too insular, and doesn’t learn from the successes of other sectors. By looking outside the industry to see what works well elsewhere, we can take those insights and apply them to the built environment, allowing us to tackle projects in innovative new ways.
The golden rules of best practice
Discussing the results of the evening, Managing Director of RGB Recruitment and CE Devon Club Chair, Tanya Loosemore, said: “It was an extremely successful event, which allowed us to get the thoughts of the region’s key construction players and come up with a series of next steps that can, in turn, be filtered throughout the wider industry.
“The Constructing Excellence South West Devon Club believe a new code of conduct and set of golden rules that outline best practice will help to mitigate issues with delays, costs and quality.
“Establishing a set of guidelines which clearly define the gold standard behaviour will help to create the trust, honesty and collaboration that’s urgently needed.
“Everybody in attendance has agreed to take this agenda forward on behalf of the South West region, before disseminating it more widely across the nation.”
The renowned Constructing Excellence South West (CESW) leadership dinner series kick starts for 2022 in Newquay.
The organisation, designed to drive positive change in construction, has relaunched its exclusive dinners in the South West region to bring together key clients, architects, engineers, contractors politicians and supply chain in the built environment.
Global business insurance, risk management and consulting services company Gallagher is the sole sponsor of the leadership dinners, which will be continuing to run throughout 2022, across an additional nine areas within the region.
The first event took place in Newquay, and the climate crisis, building safety and procurement on value were the main focus for the evening.
Members of the CE Cornwall family openly talked about their experiences of working in the industry, and shared their recommendations on how to combat these issues head-on.
Andrew Carpenter, CEO of CESW, said: “We’re well known at Constructing Excellence South West for the leadership dinners we host. It’s something we’ve done for several years, and focuses on getting the key movers and shakers from any given area to discuss the biggest issues affecting the construction industry.
“Typically, we discuss key issues in the construction sector, and then consider how they’re affecting the South West in particular. This year we will be looking at climate crisis, building safety and procurement on value – topics which have a big impact on the future of the industry.
“We have nine leadership dinners organised throughout the region and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes from each separate event. We want to thank Gallagher for sponsoring the dinners and facilitating the discussions around building safety. Their contribution has proven vital to bringing together key players from right around the South West.”
Andy Ferguson, Managing Director for Gallagher in Bristol added: “Construction is a significant sector here in the South West and it’s one that we’re well experienced in supporting with insurance and risk management solutions.
“Partnering with Andrew and the wider Constructing Excellence South West teams enables us to further help the businesses in this sector, listen to the challenges they face and support in facilitating positive change.”
The remaining Constructing Excellence South West leadership dinners will be held in Exeter, Bath, Bridgwater, Gloucester, Bournemouth, Swindon, Bristol and Plymouth.