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The Construction Playbook

The UK Government is aiming to deliver ‘better, faster and greener’ projects, and through The Construction Playbook, has published new guidance to achieve this.

The guidance applies directly to central government agencies, but is to be viewed as ‘good practice’ by the wider public sector – meaning you should familiarise yourself with the policies detailed within, and make appropriate considerations when awarding contracts.

The guidance within the Playbook is underpinned by 14 key policies, each addressing different ways the public sector can improve how they work with the construction industry. In this post we will highlight the outcomes this new guidance hopes to achieve, and what each of the key policies are.

As The Construction Playbook is 83 pages long, this post serves as a reference only – and we would recommend reviewing the original document for greater clarification.

What does ‘better, faster and greener’ look like?

Within The Construction Playbook, 10 clear outcomes are identified from following the guidance offered:

  • Clear and appropriate outcome-based specifications
  • Longer term contracting across portfolios
  • Standardised designs, components and interfaces
  • More innovation and adoption of modern methods of construction
  • Sustainable, win-win contract arrangements incentivising better outcomes
  • Better financial assessment of suppliers and continuity planning
  • Increased speed of end-to-end project and programme delivery
  • Improved building and workplace safety
  • Contribute to 2050 net zero commitment
  • Promote social value

The Construction Playbook’s 14 Key Policies

  1. Commercial pipelines ensure the market has visibility of all upcoming projects, with an aim to publish pipelines for the next 3-5 years.
  2. Market health and capability assessments maintain a healthy market by designing strategies which address barriers to entry, take advantage of innovations, and promote competition.
  3. Portfolio and longer term contracting portfolios of work will allow for increased levels of standardisation, increasing efficiencies across multiple projects. Longer term contracts will give suppliers the certainty needed to invest in improving productivity and efficiency savings.
  4. Harmonise, digitise and rationalise demand where possible, opportunities should be sought to collaborate with other contracting authorities and establish common standards across a range of projects.
  5. Further embedded digital technologies data is to play a significant role in helping to improve safety, enable innovation, reduce costs and produce more sustainable outcomes. Buyers are encouraged to adopt the UK Building Information Management (BIM) Framework.
  6. Early Supply Chain Involvement (ESI) earlier engagement with suppliers to improve overall efficiency by allowing the industry to make recommendations on design, cost, risk management, and structuring of projects.
  7. Outcome-based approach a shift in focus from ‘scope’ to ‘outcomes’ for whole life value, meaning buyers should award work after considering wider economic, social and environmental priorities.
  8. Benchmarking and Should Cost Models Data will be gathered to set benchmarks for cost, delivery time, emissions and key outcomes. The use of Should Cost Models (SCM) will be used to forecast whole life costs and risks of proposed projects – which will influence you Delivery Model Assessments (DMA) and how contracts will be awarded.
  9. Delivery Model Assessments (DMA) adopt evidence-based processes to determine the best delivery models for projects.
  10. Effective contracting create new levels of standardisation for works contracts, encouraging the exchange of data, collaboration, improved value and improved risk management.
  11. Risk allocation contracting authorities should work with suppliers at an earlier stage to address risks, and develop solutions to mitigate these before construction begins. Risk allocation will then determine which parties will assume each risk.
  12. Payment mechanism and pricing approach link pricing to delivery, putting appropriate focus on work value or supplier performance to incentivises the desired outcomes.
  13. Assessing the economic and financial standing of suppliers safeguard the delivery of projects by giving the economic and financial standing of suppliers proper consideration. These assessments will form part of their risk management activities and be tailored to each the specific project.
  14. Resolution planning while major insolvency is rare, mitigating the impact it may have on a project is now a risk management consideration for all projects. Suppliers can be asked to provide resolution planning information in the form of a Service Continuity Plan (previously known as Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans).

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