Three weeks ago, in a webinar attended by more than 400 people from across our sector, the Construction Innovation Hub formally announced plans to develop a new Value Toolkit. During the webinar, Hub Programme Director Keith Waller – along with industry leaders Ann Bentley, Hannah Vickers, Neil Robertson and Huda As’ad – clearly laid out the shared ambition to create a suite of tools that will drive faster, better decision-making to deliver measurable value improvement.
With this session, and our accompanying introductory report, we fired the starting gun on one of the Hub’s must crucial projects, which has been accelerated along with a number of other key Hub outputs in recent months. Indeed, the CLC Roadmap to Recovery explicitly references the Value Toolkit; clear recognition that sector recovery must be coupled with transformation.
This is the first in a series of blogs in which we will share the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the Value Toolkit over the coming months. We will cover in detail each of the four Value Toolkit modules, setting out what we are trying to do; how we are doing it, and; why what we’re doing matters to the sector. In this blog, I wanted to provide an update on what we’ve been doing leading up to and since the Value Toolkit launch and share an introduction to what promises to be an incredible journey ahead!
We have been very busy over the last few months pulling together a new governance structure which reflects the aims and objectives of the project. That is, to build on the foundations of existing work; to build a consensus approach; and; to develop something which is useful, practical and – critically – adoptable across both public and private sector projects and programmes.
In the face of COVID-19, the level of support we have received for this work has been both overwhelming and exciting to witness. The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for our sector, with projects grinding to a halt during lockdown and many people either on furlough or made redundant. But through the uncertainty, we’ve also had an opportunity to pause and reflect on what the post-COVID future will look like.
It seems to me that the values and principles of companies, individuals and society alike have been recalibrated through this period. Just look at the lifesaving Nightingale hospitals for instance. We clearly don’t just want to get back to business, we want to use our experiences to build a better, more sustainable model for our industry and for society at large.
As a result, in addition to our own internal teams, we now have far in excess of 100 people contributing directly to the development of the Value Toolkit. This sees us working directly with the IPA, government departments, major private sector clients and pipelines, leading industry bodies, leading consultancy and engineering firms, major contractors, manufacturers academics and many more. We have structured the project around four primary workstreams, each of which is contributing key elements of the Toolkit.
Workstream 1 – Value Definition
Led by Ann Bentley of the CLC, Workstream 1 covers ‘Value Definition’ – the underpinning methodology for how value should be articulated, evaluated and measured. This workstream draws on our new Relevant Authority model to develop a consensus approach, with contributions from leading organisations and experts across the 5-capitals model.
We’ll share more on this in our next blog, but for now I am pleased to announce that this work is being coordinated by Natalie Cropp of Tony Gee, bringing across her excellent experience of leading through the Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) on the application of the 5 capitals to construction. We will also have more exciting collaborations to announce in this space in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
Workstream 2 – Client Approach
Led by Hannah Vickers of the ACE, Workstream 2 covers ‘Client Approach’. This workstream will oversee the development of a decision support process to inform the selection of delivery models and commercial strategies which best reflect the value drivers, risk factors, client profile and market context associated with a given project or programme. This builds on existing work conducted by ACE as part of their Future of Consultancy Campaign and brings in a wealth of expertise from across the sector.
Workstream 3 – Market Response
Led by Alison Nicholl of Constructing Excellence, Workstream 3 covers ‘Market Response’; engaging directly with key groups across the supply chain to identify potential barriers to, and opportunities associated with, the adoption of value-based delivery models. This critical work will ensure the supply chain is ready to respond to, and capitalise on, new ways of working and more clearly articulated client value drivers.
Workstream 4 – Skills, training and adoption
Finally, Workstream 4, led by Alasdair Reisner of CECA tackles the skills, training and adoption needs of the Value Toolkit. This work is both tactical and strategic, ensuring the right training support is available to support adoption whilst identifying the skills gaps and capabilities that may need to be filled to fully embed these new approaches within clients and industry.
A new, dedicated client advisory group, led by Huda As’ad of the IPA, has been set up to support the four Value Toolkit workstreams. The group consists of key government departments, private and private sector clients and investors, who will ensure that the toolkit is consistent with existing processes and requirements and is suitable for immediate uptake and adoption.
This may be just a whistle-stop tour of how the Value Toolkit has been set up at project level, but I hope to have shed some light on the level of commitment and enthusiasm that is driving this unstoppable movement of change behind the scenes. I am privileged and humbled to be working at the sharp end of this cutting-edge collaborative project, and I look forward to sharing future updates as we progress over the coming months.
Ron Lang is the Technical Director – DfMA at Atkins, and concurrently holds a secondment role as the Chief Technical Officer for the Construction Innovation Hub.