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The Value Toolkit represents a radical way forward for industry and value

Ann Bentley
Ann Bentley 20-06-2022

Ann Bentley is a global board director of major UK consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall and sits on the Value Toolkit strategy board. As the Construction Innovation Hub gears up to launch the Value Toolkit she calls for business organisations to embed the Toolkit and reap the benefits.

Now is the time to train staff and spread the word about the Value Toolkit. At Rider Levett Bucknall we have already taken considerable steps to embed value-based decision making. We got involved with the Toolkit because, as a point of principle, we believe clients get better projects if they look across the whole range of value: not just price.

We know that’s not easy to do – certainly not with clients who are working to very tight budgets and timescales. So, we take a stepped approach. First, we train all our staff, so they absolutely ‘get’ value-based decision making. Even more importantly, we enable our staff to talk to clients from a value – rather than just a cost – perspective. We know not every client will want this, but we find that once we start talking seriously to clients about value, they are usually really accepting of it. In fact, many of them ask us why we haven’t talked to them about this before. So, it’s all about training and spreading the word.

The whole industry needs the toolkit. We’ve all known for many years that procuring on price alone has led to a race to the bottom, and quality and many other parameters have fallen. Despite this, industry has seemed unable to do anything about it. So, the Value Toolkit represents a radical way forward to change this.

It’s been a long journey, and this is not the first attempt to bring about such a change. The Toolkit can trace its roots back certainly to the late 1990s and probably even before then. This time, though, the development of a solution has enjoyed a massive kickstart from the Transforming Construction Challenge which was part of the Government’s industrial strategy. That Challenge pretty much insisted that this be a dual process – that industry pulls its weight but also that government makes a significant financial contribution.

The bringing together of government and industry, under the auspices of the Transforming Construction Challenge, provides a way forward to develop a solution which, when implemented to its fullest extent, can bring greater collaboration, better quality projects, consideration of whole-life cost and carbon right at the start of schemes, happier clients, and a more profitable industry.

We are on the cusp of significant change. When we look back in five years’ time, I hope to hear talk of ‘value’ rolled off the tongue as readily as ‘price’ is now.