Keith Waller is Programme Director for the Construction Innovation Hub. He urges the construction sector to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new Value Toolkit.
We all know that many decisions taken in relation to construction have led to cheapness rather than delivering true value over the whole life of the built environment. With cheapness comes a raft of problems: quality, safety, and performance issues.
The Construction Innovation Hub started to address some of those issues that were raised first in Transforming Infrastructure Performance in 2017 and the Construction Leadership Council’s Procuring for Value paper that came out shortly thereafter. We wanted to make sure we could make decisions that were evidence-based and really driving value. We are trying to avoid a race to the bottom.
Our drive is to ensure we can get better value-based decisions that help drive a path to Net Zero, that improve whole-life value, provide better services for users, owners, and consumers, and help deliver social value and all those things we value as a nation from the huge investment we make in our built environment.
The opportunities are enormous. As a nation we spend around £65 billion every single year on our economic and social infrastructure. If we try and buy cheap, we are not delivering value – we are not delivering the economic growth that can come from that investment. We’re not supporting the environmental objectives we have as a society. And we’re not delivering social value to the workforce, the citizens of this country.
So, the real opportunity is to make value-based decisions that drive better performance over the whole life of assets. Not a race to the bottom. Not cheapness. We want something that makes us proud to be part of the sector and of the assets that we have designed, built, and operated.
The resultant Value Toolkit serves as part of the answer to these challenges.
In five years’ time I hope to see every single project in the UK, and many worldwide, using value-based decision making to drive choices. How do we improve social value? How do we drive a path to Net Zero? How do we deliver better value for money? Not something that incentivises adversarial behaviours or cheapness. I want value and I want value-based decisions to be the norm rather than the exception.
We will know that the Value Toolkit has been successful by its use. We will be able to see real results very quickly. Through the piloting work that we’re already done we’ve seen how value-based decisions can change the outcomes, can change the approach we take to support these better outcomes. So, through its use, through the evidence that’s gained from the use on projects and programmes across the country, we’ll see the real value that’s been delivered, and we’ll see that accelerate and being increasingly part of the norm.
I’m proud of the collaboration that’s been achieved through work on the Value Toolkit. The Construction Innovation Hub is a consortium of three partners – the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the Building Research Establishment and the Centre for a Digital Built Britain. Working alone, our three organisations would not have been able to deliver the Value Toolkit to the level that has been reached already. I’m immensely grateful for the contributions of our many industry partners, for the close relationships we have enjoyed with government, policy makers and regulators, and for the work by those professionals who are passionate about driving value and improving performance in our sector.