As the much-anticipated Value Toolkit is about to be launched, Ian Nicholson says this is just the start of a far longer journey.
The Value Toolkit has been a long time in the making. Conversations and other initiatives to switch from cost to value-based decision making have existed for decades. Over time, the need for change in the way we create our built environment has become increasingly apparent. Work on the Value Toolkit itself has spanned the past two years and involved extensive collaboration with well over 300 individuals and organisations, each partner contributing their own specialist area of expertise.
A key piece of technical work involved the creation of the Value Definition Framework which, as the name suggests, helps clients understand what value means for them in the context of their project. We have run two streams of activity to develop the Value Toolkit process: one around how you then use that Value Definition Framework to define value and how you then go on to measure value across the life of your project. Alongside that we’ve had another group looking at the additional things that need to happen within a project team from both a commercial and risk perspective to make sure the Toolkit is embedded into those activities in practice.
We spent almost a year developing the Toolkit process, which we then put out for industry testing for six months last year. During that phase over 100 industry people tested it on real projects. We have now reviewed their feedback, and further refined and streamlined the Toolkit process to make it more effective and easier to use on projects.
From now on, every project team member will need to be aware of the Value Toolkit and how it works. The detailed work lies with the Toolkit Facilitator who plays a key role throughout the life of the project in steering the team through the process. We’ve developed a detailed handbook to help them and will roll out a training course with an associated qualification. We want to ensure the process is delivered in a very rigorous way.
A range of other materials will supplement that. At the highest level there’s an integrated process diagram which shows how the process works. It also maps on additional commercial and risk-based aspects. We’ve recently mapped on to the diagram where the Treasury Green Book business case process overlays onto it. That gives a high-level view to help a wide range of people in the industry understand where the Value Toolkit sits.
We are also running a range of targeted training courses: for supply chain, commercial professionals, and senior leaders, for example, so they can all understand and buy into the process of the Value Toolkit.
On top of that detailed development, we are working with BSI to develop a flex standard for value-based decision making. That overarching layer provides the principles – the key requirements that clients will now need to fulfil as they implement value-based decision making.