Ellie Jenkins is the Value Toolkit Integrated Project Lead at the Construction Innovation Hub. She says government support and higher than expected industry uptake of a pilot project have given huge impetus to the project.
The construction sector has a great appetite for finding new and improved ways of working that ensure we are delivering better outcomes for society and the natural environment. I’ve seen this in my work to date on the Value Toolkit and it makes me tremendously proud to be part of the industry.
The team at the Construction Innovation Hub has been on a long journey to bring people together. We could see early on that the Transforming Construction Challenge had quite a job on its hands. We had a remit of driving systemic change within the built environment and we knew we couldn’t do that alone. So, we brought together the industry’s experts: those with a technical perspective; those with influence; and those with extensive networks. We wanted to ensure we were building a Toolkit that would be robust, had the buy-in of the sector and could be delivered at scale.
The Construction Innovation Hub is funded by government with public sector funding. So, we were in a unique position. Industry perceived us as being part of the industry and the public sector perceived us as driving change for the public sector. It was a brilliant position to be in. Among other things, it enabled us to build core relationships with all the critical government departments. I’m really proud of the projects that we’ve delivered with the Ministry of Justice and with the Department for Education, for example, and we’ve also been working with the Ministry of Defence which has been exciting as they have a huge scale of pipeline as well.
Through building those relationships we’ve seen that the public sector is committed to delivering better outcomes for their investments and that’s crucial for the Value Toolkit.
We’ve seen a real shift in expectation since we started. There have been tragedies like the Grenfell disaster but also Covid has generated a real desire for change regarding how we deliver our built environment. People want to see better outcomes for society, for the environment and for the economy. That’s really leant into the Toolkit.
As part of our work in developing the Toolkit we’ve been able to help support and develop core pieces of policy. I’m proud that we’ve been involved in developing the Construction Playbook and the Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030.
These outcomes, embedded into policy, give us a mandate to be able to drive forward the creation of the Value Toolkit.
When we set out to pilot test the Toolkit, we aimed to have around 25 organisations sign up, become facilitators and test it with their clients. We’re a small team at the Hub, so as the numbers started to tick up over 100, we did get slightly nervous. But that, itself, demonstrates the appetite for change in the sector. We ended up with over 140 pilots. Some of those organisations sent one person to be trained, some of them sent ten. That’s a great sign that the industry supports this new way of working.
Through the pilot we were able to see the Value Toolkit in action and I think it’s fair to say we really did kick the tyres in anger. We took some brilliant learnings away, and over the past few months we’ve spent time refining the tools around the Toolkit and the process itself to ensure they reflect the needs and priorities that came out of that pilot phase. We trust that those who took part in that pilot journey will agree the Toolkit that we have ended up with is really positive and reflects their views.
Watch Ellie’s introduction at our Value Toolkit launch event here.