Institution of Civil Engineers – Delivering Infrastructure for Less: Effective design and procurement in association with Turner & Townsend

Lee Kelly, CIRIA Assistant Project Manager, provides an overview of the ICE ‘Delivering Infrastructure for Less’ series.

This year ICE London is hosting a series of lectures on Delivering Infrastructure for Less. The series aims to highlight examples from projects where progress has been made since the 2010 Infrastructure UK report and where innovations and developments are likely to occur over the forthcoming years.

The first instalment of the series, National challenges of planning infrastructure, held on 6 March 2014 at One Great George Street featured:
  • A background to the Infrastructure UK 2010 report and initiatives of Infrastructure UK
  • Planning policy, systemic issues and managing continuity relating to infrastructure delivery
  • Methods capturing asset information and cost data for forecasting.

This opening lecture included presentations from Alan Couzens, Head of Infrastructure Performance and Reporting, Infrastructure UK, Terry Hill CBE, Chairman, Arup Group Trusts and Brian McGinnity, Head of Professional Civil Engineering, London Underground.

The second instalment, Effective design and procurement, was held on 21 July 2014 at the same venue, and featured the following discussion items:

Effective programme procurement and set-up, with specific reference made to the recently published Improving Infrastructure Delivery: Project Initiation Routemap and the Infrastructure cost review. It was advocated that use of this routemap would ‘not be a prescriptive process, [instead it would be] a toolkit to enable: funders, clients, and asset managers to reflect in the right project environment’ to deliver value successfully.

Innovation and collaboration in the supply chain, which complemented the above item in that it highlighted how the ‘needs’ of clients can drive the ‘needs’ of the supply chain. For example, clients ‘need’ value for money projects and ‘want’ these on time and budget. At the other end of the spectrum the supply chain ‘need’ commercial success and through delivering value for money for their client ‘want’ reputational gain and staff development.

In terms of innovation, this was thought of as a gradual process and quite often ‘finding a better way of doings things’ is not explicitly expressed as something which is innovative, instead it’s ‘good engineering or craftsmanship’ which adds great value.

Smarter ways to use competition to procure projects procurement processes
. This item made reference to the huge capacity demands forecast on the London Underground Network and the increased need to drive greater value throughout the business.

There was a strong feel from discussion on this item that as a client London Underground are moving away from risk aversion-type practices, which were embedded in old procurement models, and taking a stance to be more collaborative with the supply chain through their ‘innovative contractor engagement’ strategy. This new direction would foster greater collaboration, re-engagement with engineering skills and craftsmanship, and ensure ideas are valued whether a contract is won or not. ‘Ideas may be more valuable to a contractor (post-contract) than a client.

A key message that stemmed from the lecture was establishing an environment where collaborative minds could prosper. Traditional procurement practices which can have an abundance of processes and protocols in order to create ‘safety nets’ will harm collaboration and innovation if they are not re-thought. Adding value to projects may only happen if the ‘shackles’ are taken off and clients and asset managers are willing to develop collaborative mind sets amongst staff.

The second lecture included presentations from John Boultwood, Director - Contract Services, Turner & Townsend, John Newby, Senior Project Director - Rail, Atkins, and Miles Ashley, Director of Crossrail and Stations Programme, London Underground.

The third installment of the series, Successful delivery and implementation, will be held on 22 September 14 at One Great George Street.

CIRIA continues to support the ICE through fostering of collaborative working relationships for the betterment of infrastructure and construction practices.

Building on its reputation for authoritative good practice guidance in civil engineering, and expertise in research management and collaborative working, CIRIA launched a new Civil Infrastructure initiative in January 2014. The initiative facilitates cross-sector dialogue and addresses challenges faced by industry in delivering new, and maintaining existing infrastructure. Find out more...