CEW View - Constructing Excellence

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CEW View - Constructing Excellence

The magazine of Constructing Excellence in Wales Spring/Summer 2007. Issue 01






Value Wales

Martin Sykes outlines

its aims and objectives

Industry opinion

Michael Latham says

we must try harder

Follow the leader

Welsh construction needs

vision and direction

design; client briefing; value management and

engineering; cost planning; life cycle costing;

integrated programming; risk management.

Local Knowledge,

National Expertise

Every child, just like every project

we undertake, is special. When we

apply our exceptional construction

skills, you know, and the community

knows, that you are both receiving

the very best possible service.

Alfred McAlpine

14 Cathedral Road

Cardiff, CF11 9LJ

T: 02920 642580

Building for

the future



Welcome to view, the magazine for Constructing

Excellence in Wales. As a team, our mission is to improve

the construction process in Wales. We work with all parts

of the industry – from Welsh Assembly Government, local

government and health authorities, through to developers,

construction firms and other suppliers – to promote best

practice. view is aimed at all of these groups and anyone

else involved in the construction process, right across the

country and in all sectors. We want to provoke debate,

inform you about strategy and educate you about new

ways of doing things. We have taken a broad look at a

number of issues, but the theme of our first edition is

leadership. Let me explain.

The business world that we operate in today is focussed

on securing competitive advantage. There are different and

better ways of achieving this and Constructing Excellence in

Wales is committed to demonstrating the different

methods companies have used to attain this advantage.

Construction in Wales has adopted some of the principles

proposed by Latham and Egan (see page 10), and there is

clear evidence of the benefits gained, but it has yet to fully

grasp the benefits that collaboration and best practice can

bring. There are a handful of local authorities (see page 8)

practising framework style agreements with eager

contractors and Welsh Health Estates have undertaken

major changes in their procurement practices. But how

much else is going on There is a considerable amount of

activity taking place, but as an industry and society we

don’t always recognise this. The implementation of

rethinking construction ideas is random and whilst the

Milica Kitson

CEW’s chief executive writes

about the issues on her radar

Demonstration Projects (see page 4) highlight the

positives, it suggests that best practice isn’t always carried

from project to project. People are not opposed to the

ideas but are just nervous of taking that first step. This self

doubt is due to a lack of strong leadership. What we need

is innovative leadership which allows best practice

champions and their teams to develop.

So, in our first edition of view, we have attempted to

outline the requirement for improved leadership (page

15), highlighted the benefits of best practice and put it

into context by looking at the strategic plans of the

Welsh Assembly Government (see page 5 ) and the

objectives of Value Wales (see page 6). We want to

expand on some of these points in our next edition and

we will also be addressing the wider debate about

leadership in the Welsh construction sector at a

conference in March. The Welsh economy is looking to

our industry to underpin its development. There are

some tremendous opportunities and challenges ahead

of us, but we can all share the benefits if everyone in

the industry becomes involved with the debate about

how to improve the construction process in Wales. view

is just one way that Constructing Excellence can work

with the industry to drive the change agenda forward

and apply the principles of Egan and Latham. There is a

lot more information we could not squeeze in to our first

issue, so please call us (the team’s details are below) or

email view@constructingexcellencewales.org.uk with

your comments and suggestions or for more details

about rethinking construction ideas.



Industry update..............4

What’s going on in Welsh

construction We take a quick

look at some of the news, events,

projects around the country.

Value Wales .....................6

Martin Sykes explains why it is

vital to manage the public sector

procurement process correctly

Best practice....................8

Andrew Brown talks to the local

authorities that are championing

the benefits of collaborative

working and best practice.

Industry update............10

Michael Latham tells view there

is still a lot of work to be done.

Leadership .....................12

Does Welsh construction have

the decision makers it deserves

Andrew Brown investigates.

Industry update............14

Find out about the new

chairman of CEW, Designed for

Life and an update from the

Best Practice Clubs.


Eira Thomas invites you to

celebrate your achievements

and enter CEW’s first awards.

contact us

Tel: 02920 493322 Fax: 02920 493233

e-mail: firstname.surname@constructingexcellencewales.org.uk

Milica Kitson

Chief Executive

07966 034984

Constructing Excellence in Wales,

Suite 1 Bay Chambers,

West Bute St,

Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF10 5BB

Eira Thomas

Operations & Events



07989 419160

Carl Turner

Office Manager

02920 493322

David Clague

Best Practice &



07894 413866

Paul Jennings

Waste Co-ordinator

07703 004420

This magazine is about you and for you – so contact us with your

news, views and opinions – view@constructingexcellencewales.org.uk

Editorial contact: Andrew Brown, managing editor.

Designed by AC CREATIVE SOLUTIONS www.accreativesolutions.com

07795 547069. www.frankandbrown.com Andy Clarke, creative director 07917 891689, andy@accreativesolutions.com

Advertising contact:

Printed in the UK by Newnorth Print Ltd.

Angela Brown, 07795 547070.


Caveat emptor. Whilst every care has been taken in

the compilation of this magazine, errors or omissions

are not the responsibility of the publishers or the

editorial staff. Opinions expressed are not necessarily

those of the publisher or the editorial staff.

© 2007 All rights reserved.

Products and services advertised within CEW view

do not carry endorsement or recommendation by

Constructing Excellence in Wales.

Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 3

industry updates




The Welsh Assembly has

confirmed that the Early

Contractor Involvement

(ECI) scheme covering

the widening of

junctions 29-32 of the

M4 in South Wales can

move into construction

phase following two

years of scheme

evaluation and design.



WALES Work has begun

on Bluestone, the

£110million green holiday

village within the

Pembrokeshire Coast

National Park. The

development, which has

received £14.5million in

grant aid from the Welsh

Assembly Government

and a £4m loan from

Finance Wales, hopes to

create 900 full time jobs,

provide a raft of career

choices, boost skills levels

and inject an additional

£32million into the local

economy. Alfred McAlpine

is the design and build

contractor and Powell

Dobson of Cardiff is the

architects responsible for

designing Bluestone and

the water park, working in

conjunction with National

Park and County Council

with Capita Symonds as

project managers.


The Tredomen Gateway

Building was praised as an

example of sustainable

brownfield regeneration

by Deputy Minister for

Environment, Planning

and Countryside Tamsin

Dunwoody. The deputy

minister unveiled a plaque

to mark its being named

Building of the Year 2006

by CLAW (Consortium of

Local Authorities Wales).

CLAW acts to develop best

practice in the design,

construction, use and

management of buildings.

It works with the CRiBE at

the Welsh School of

Architecture and with the

Carbon Trust for Wales.

The Porth Relief Road scheme, sponsored by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Council with funding from the Assembly Government, it is one of the

largest local authority highways schemes in the UK and because of its size and value a unique and important demonstration project

Demonstrating best practice

The Demonstration Programme

began in 1998 and now numbers

more than 600 projects. These represent

around £8bn of investment,

providing a practical and measurable

means of ‘demonstrating’ best

practice. The demonstration

projects are CEW’s show cases –

practical examples of rethinking

construction principles put into

action. They can be of any size,

nature and involve major clients or

small one-off schemes. They can be

project, organisational or process

based but each one should illustrate

something innovative that

improves the construction process,

design and environment or promotes

better work life balance and

respect for people. Following a

recent review, each demonstration

is now organised around themes

which have been proposed by the

client member organisations to

cover key strategic issues relevant

to their sector. These are:

■ Building & Estates Forum:

Integrated supply chains,

Whole Life Value;

■ Construction Client Group:

Health & Safety, Whole Life


■ Housing Forum: Innovation in

new homes, customer needs,

improving stock, sustainable


Infrastructure Forum:

Corporate Social Responsibility,

logistics & supply development;

Local Government Task Force:

Fair Payments, Cross-authority

co-operation, integrated teams,


Externally Funded

Demonstrations: Whole Life

Costing, Sustainability,

Predictability of Cost and Time,

Waste Management.

For Wales, the Welsh Assembly

Government, via various departments,

has devolved responsibilities

for all the above sectors. This focus,

together with the fact that the

Assembly Government has placed

the ‘Constructing Excellence’ agenda

at the heart of its construction policy

provides an excellent opportunity to

develop a joined up process for the

development of the Demonstration

Programme for Wales.

The industry has to highlight its

successes and encourage organisations

throughout the supply chain

to adopt rethinking construction

principles more widely. Show casing

the examples of best practice is

a great way of doing this. If you

think you may have a potential

demonstration project then

contact Dave Clague on 02920

493322 or email david.clague@


4 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007

Housing consortia to

take a fresh approach

In 2006 the Assembly Government outlined

its plans to improve the distribution and

delivery of its Social Housing Grant

Programme by Housing Associations. The

key objective is to increase efficiency through

cooperation and collaboration within the

public, voluntary and private sectors as

described in the paper, ‘Making the

Connections’. The key objectives of the proposals

are to:

■ improve programme planning with a

multi-year bidding process;

■ promote collaborative working between

Housing Associations to build capacity

and achieve more efficient programme


■ promote joint procurement programmes

to achieve economies of scale and more

effective local supply chain management.

Housing Associations have now formed

themselves into six Consortia which will

receive funding for social housing development

programmes based on three-year grant allocations

and multi-year delivery plans. Consortia

must meet minimum requirements set by the

Assembly, many of which relate directly to

achieving continuous improvement in quality

and efficiency through procurement and to

developing supply chains based on a collaborative

basis with small and medium sized local

contractors and suppliers.

In all of this Constructing Excellence in

Wales has been assisting the Consortia.

Through the ConstructWales project it has

been helping in supply chain development

and more recently has helped to establish a

Consortia Club within the Constructing

Excellence in Wales Benchmarking Club.



Construction has been

acknowledged as one of

the key drivers in

providing Wales with a

framework for a strong

and sustainable economic

growth. To that end,

the Welsh Assembly

Government intends to

develop a coordinated

construction sector

strategy for the country. It

is not intended to be an

all-embracing action plan,

but a ‘skeleton framework’

that enables local

developments to be taken

forward within a defined

context that does not

constrain innovation or

stymie initiatives aiming to

meet local needs.

In Wales, construction

employs around 100,000

people, nearly 10% of

both direct and indirect

employment in the

country, and generates

over £3.5bn a year for the

economy. The Assembly

Government report,

Wales: A Vibrant Economy

emphasises that

construction underpins

the development of the

country being central to

supporting the

infrastructure of business,

government, schools,

transport and hospitals,

but, it still has a poor

image. Despite

improvements in process

and delivery, the

industry’s main weakness

is the perception of

‘cowboy builders’ and

‘rogue traders’. It is

regarded as unsafe,

adversarial and preoccupied

with lowest

price and not best value.

The sector is typified as a

very fragmented supply

chain, with clients not

providing the necessary

leadership. Overall, the

image is unprofessional.

So, the Construction

Sector Strategy is a result

of the recognised need to

develop a ‘strategic

framework’ for the

development of the

construction sector in

Wales. Launched by

Andrew Davies, minister

for enterprise, innovations

and networks and Jane

Davidson, minister for

education, lifelong

learning and skills, the

strategy will set out broad

principles to drive as

much benefit as possible

from the planned

investment in the

developments across the

country. This will include

a more unified approach

to business and skills

development activities.

Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 5

executive outlook

Value Wales’ new chief executive wants to be judged by

how sustainable the country’s infrastructure is, not just

the savings the public sector makes. Martin Sykes

explains his ideas to Bill Dolworth.

A passion for


Martin Sykes is a man of vision and purpose. His vision is of

Wales investing in its infrastructure, building more schools,

hospitals, homes and transport links. As the chief executive

of Value Wales his purpose is to help the public sector to

spend its budgets in a sustainable way and in a manner that

makes a tangible difference.

“I want the success of Value Wales to be measured in

terms of the real outcomes – not just how we do things but

what we do,” explains Martin from his base in the Welsh

Assembly offices in Cardiff. “Right now, Wales must start

building more and better schools, hospitals and homes to

help underpin the regeneration objectives for the country.”

Unified sense of direction

Value Wales is focused on working with all public sector

bodies in Wales, promoting collaboration and best practice

procurement, in pursuit of efficiency and improved value in

the delivery of public services. Although the Value Wales

Procurement team has existed for a while, it is only recently

that scope has included capital and shared services. Martin

became its chief executive in the autumn of 2006, and his

challenge is to create a real and unified sense of direction. It

is targeted to make savings of around £160m by 2008 in procurement,

but over £600m of savings across its remit in 2010.

Martin is pleased with momentum in procurement, but he

wants to see more progress on the construction side.

“By procurement, we mean anything from examining

how councils buy stationery and photo copiers to payroll

6 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007

and HR systems,” he explains. “The biggest challenge is the

capital programmes, worth around £1.7bn, and construction

comprises a very large part of this because it underpins

regeneration in Wales. Therefore, we need to look very carefully

at how money is invested in the major programmes

planned in housing, education and health.”

The nature of the targets is put into perspective when you

consider the sheer size of the country. Wales’ population is

the same as Greater Manchester, but instead of eight local

authorities, it has 22 and another 108 various public bodies.

It covers a vast geographic area but has fewer roads. It will

involve a lot of work to integrate the public sector and establish

joined up thinking between councils, health authorities

and housing consortia. Combine this with funding challenges

likely under this year’s comprehensive spending

review and its clear that processes need to change – quickly.

“We need to think about things differently, maybe re-visit

some of the concepts put forward by the Movement for

Innovation and which Constructing Excellence in Wales is

championing,” commented Martin.“We need to identify and

support those who are already making a difference; we must

help the key decision makers understand what can be

achieved using best practice; but above all it also requires the

various groups in the public sector to share ideas, experiences

and pull together more.”

Major change initiatives

Despite the scale of the task, Martin Sykes firmly believes

Value Wales can succeed and that his own experience is central

to its success. Before becoming the Office of

Government Commerce’s (OGC) executive director for

Smarter Procurement and as non-exec for OGC Buying

Solutions, Sykes had led all procurement, controls and contract

management for Glaxo’s landmark £750 million R&D

Right now, Wales

must start building

more and better

schools, hospitals and

homes to help underpin

the regeneration

objectives for the


facility at Stevenage. The award-winning project was finished

on time and within budget and involved some major

change initiatives to management practices in the construction

industry. This led to him joining BAA in 1993 to lead

the development and implementation of its procurement

strategies. His background in the industry, not just the

OGC, gives him an insight into promoting best practice


“We encouraged real integration and provided a framework

that got things done,” explained Martin. “The partnering

systems we established at BAA saved 16% in the cost of

constructing new runways and taxiways and created the

scope for research and investment in new technologies.

Waste was driven out as much as possible – we saved around

£1m in landfill by recycling materials.”

So, what does he think about construction procurement

processes in Wales

“For a start, everyone needs to work together more.

Working in little silos won’t get us anywhere. But to prove the

point we need to highlight the examples of best practice

through things like Constructing Excellence’s demonstration

projects. The work begun by Welsh Health Estates (WHE) is

something the rest of the public sector can learn from.”

WHE is working to a plan to provide the country with

improved healthcare facilities. It has established a framework

and applied the lessons learned by Procure 21 in England.

Most importantly, it has attracted interest from the construction


“There is limited capacity in the Welsh construction

industry and we are competing against the rest of the UK for

resources, particularly labour that is drawn to the major

conurbations,” said Martin. “Only, collaboration and integrated

planning will enable the public sector to put together

an attractive, predictable programme of work for the construction

industry – in Wales. Then we can start delivering

the capital programme and work towards making some real

savings and value.”

Encourage planning and commitment

So, the main hurdle for Value Wales is to encourage the public

sector to think differently and to encourage planning and

commitment three, four or five years ahead.

“It is going to be tough for everyone, but we must move

forward together. There are some strong passions in Wales.

That national spirit can be used to deliver a built environment

the country can take a pride in.

“The success of everyone in the public sector is judged by

outcomes – how many quality, sustainable homes, schools

and hospitals can we build together. But we have to start

planning and building them before we can start doing any

benchmarking,” ends Martin.

Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 7

est practice

Local authorities in Wales are not just talking about best

practice any more, it’s being put into action and has already

had a positive effect. Andrew Brown finds out more.

Best practice

makes perfect

As a concept, best practice has been around for some time. To

some people it is a buzzword, but to more and more people it is

defined as an attitude that drives cultural change. As such it is

having an impact on construction procurement and it’s having

some very positive results. This is particularly true in the local

authority sector. Take the Porth Relief Road as an example.

It is an £85m project to create 7km of new road through

an established urban area with severe topographical and environmental

constraints. Sponsored by the Rhondda Cynon Taf

County Borough Council with funding from the Welsh

Assembly, it was the largest local authority highways scheme

in 2006 in the UK. A project of this size and complexity

demands a different approach. The council required that collaborative

working – a key principle of best practice – was

implemented as part of its procurement criteria. So what

happened – did it have an impact

Collaborative approach

Vince Hanly, service director, for procurement in Rhondda

Cynon Taf Council takes up the story: “The success of the

project to date has been largely due to the collaborative

approach employed by the whole supply chain. The use

of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) and the New

Engineering Contract at the heart of procurement

was essential.”

One key issue for the project was sustainability.

“The project has been able to limit the amount of waste

dumped as landfill, reduce the numbers of transport movements

and provide significant benefits to the environment for

example by avoiding a river diversion,” said Vince Hanly.

“Also via a Community Benefits pilot project 47 people from

the long term unemployed register have been employed and

trained on the scheme giving those people long term

prospects for continuing employment.”

Target costs have also been cut by £18m and planned

delivery time has been shortened by six months.”

These kind of results are crucial in schemes such as this

one, where the community is affected during the works but

will benefit from longer term thinking. Vince continued:

“As main contractor, Costain has fully recognised the

Council’s requirement for engagement with stakeholders

throughout the programme of work. Residents themselves

have been kept informed through exhibitions and presentations

and a live internet site. 1,000 people have visited the

visitors’ centre. Leaflets and newspaper articles have also

been produced regularly to inform them about upcoming

project phases.”

Best practice option

So, the proof of best practice working is there for everyone to

see, but it does not suit every project, or every client. But what

forces are leading increasing numbers of councils to choose

the best practice option

“We first considered the idea of best practice and value

when the rules changed in 1996 regarding procurement and

then in 1998, we began to award contracts based on quality

and not just price,” said Mark McSweeney, construction and

procurement group leader at Torfaen CC. “We further developed

this approach by removing the use of ‘lowest price’ as a

means of selection from our large projects and getting the

contract on board at the earliest possible stage. Now though,

we have to put all our ideas into practice. This has helped us

in a number of ways not least the fact that we do not have the

resources in house any more to deliver projects in a traditional


Skills and support

Across the public sector in the UK, not just councils in Wales,

the expertise in house is being reduced. Public sector clients

are obliged to rely upon the skills and support of their contractors

and advisors. Hence, it is vital to establish the best

form of relationship.

8 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007

Porth Relief Road is an £85m

project to create 7km new road

through an established urban area

with severe topographical and

environmental constraints. To date

target costs have been cut by

£18m and planned delivery time

has been shortened by six months.

“We have found a framework agreement is the best way

for us,” explained Mark. “We deal with contractors at the precontract

stage – sorting out the price, design, engineering

value – long before site work begins.”

Right now the council is completing a £7.5m leisure centre

refurbishment, two secondary school extensions at £12.5m

and a number of other strategic projects. Torfaen’s focus is on

ECI and pursuing an integrated team approach. They opt for

an open relationship, aiming to reduce barriers wherever possible

and operate an open book financial model. The process

relies heavily on trust, co-operation and flexibility to achieve

the goals that are set on projects.

“Pursuing best practice has certainly saved us money

and we have been able to double our output, without any

significant increase in staff costs to the Council,” explained

Mark McSweeney.

Reliable partner

At Monmouthshire CC they do not have the resources to handle

schemes in house over a £1m. Like, Torfaen, they need a

partner they can rely upon for contracting and to work with

consultants alongside their client – the council.

“We ran our first partnering scheme in 1998 on a £3m

scheme which had a critical deadline. It worked well and we

tried it out on some smaller projects,” said Derek Downer,

head of property services at Monmouthshire CC. “It seemed

logical after this to seek a framework arrangement to manage

our long-term programme.”

Willmott Dixon’s team in Cardiff now has a five-year

agreement with Monmouthshire and the aim is to deliver a

succession of schools as part of the Authority’s Education

Strategic Review. They are particularly geared to partnering

and frameworks and have proved a great ally for Monmouth.

“The old way of designing and developing schemes was not

satisfactory,” explained Derek Downer. “Involving the builder

in the design makes it easier to control budgets, more efficient,

economic and easier to deliver.”

Best practice is all about partnership. It epitomises the idea

of working together, whether it is within a framework or as a

wholly integrated team. But it is also about sometimes admitting

you do not always know best.

“Clients do not always have the right resources and specialists

to resolve all the design issues. Frameworks and partnering

can be a good way to get around these difficulties,” ends

Derek Downer.

Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 9

industry opinion

Sir Michael Latham explains

to Andrew Brown that

the construction industry

is improving, but it could

try harder.

Change for

the better

“People paint a bleak picture of the industry at times, but on

the whole, construction is doing well,” explains Sir Michael

Latham. “There are still some issues, there is still resistance to

change, but we’re getting there.”

Twelve years on from his ground breaking Constructing

the Team report, Sir Michael believes many of the industry’s

problems are still client oriented. However, it is unfair to lay

the blame purely at the feet of the customers. The industry

has had a chance to learn about best practice, integrated

teams and collaborative working practices. It is everyone’s

responsibility to drive change.

Making the right decision

The problem is not a lack of desire to do things differently, but

because clients do not make a habit of building things, they do

not know how to go about making the right decision in the

first place. Therefore it is up to the people who advise them to

tell them the right way of doing things.

“Clients need educating and it is up to the industry to

work with them – that way everyone can benefit,” says Sir

Michael. “In the right atmosphere everyone makes decent

margins without the legal disputes and tensions that pervade

traditional procurement routes.”

The benefits are there for everyone to see. Customers willing

to take a longer term view of a project such as British

Land, BAA and Slough Estates all choose to adopt a collaborative

approach, and as a result receive superior finished

buildings following a smooth delivery process.

This was shown in 2001, when the National Audit Office

report, Modernising Construction, found that the majority

of public sector schemes in 1999 finished late and over

budget. Its follow up report, published in 2005, revealed that

results had improved hugely; following changes to procurement

methods and the public sector had saved nearly £750m

in four years out of a potential £2.5bn. The Highways Agency

is a good example of the change in approach; it embraced

collaborative working and encourages it via their Early

Contractor Involvement schemes.

Collaborative model

“In these sorts of schemes, integrated working has become

second nature, but it nearly always comes about at the clients’

The industry cannot rest on

its laurels, it has to keep on

evolving and pushing forward.

insistence,” says Sir Michael.“Moreover, it is important to note

that even when setting up an integrated team, the individual

members of that team still have to work together. If they do

not want to operate as a fully integrated team then the project

will not succeed as a collaborative model.”

Competitive advantage

“The silo mentality in the industry still exists and this can

prevent an integrated team working effectively. People are still

afraid of doing things differently, they are nervous of giving

away competitive advantage. Unfortunately, the small or

occasional clients are not experienced enough to understand

the vagaries of the industry. It is therefore, still very easy for

one-off customers to adopt a traditional sole procurement

route led by an architect and walk into an adversarial situation,”

he says.

To maintain change and fulfil its potential, education

holds the key to the industry’s future. Education throughout

the industry is having its affect, but the momentum has to be

maintained and there has to be real commitment. Sir

Michael uses the example of his own business, Willmott

Dixon. It invested over £150,000 in externally facilitated

training to educate every one of its employees – from the site

to the reception desk at head office – about the value and

benefits of partnering throughout its business.

“It is all about embracing a totally different way of

thinking, and keeping up the momentum of change. There is

a saying that ‘when you are finished changing, you are finished’

– the industry cannot rest on its laurels, it has to keep

on evolving and pushing forward,” he says.

So, has the industry made significant improvements since

1994 or not

“Progress has not been as good as I hoped, but better than

I expected,” he replies. “That’s my stock answer, but it is true.

Nearly everything that was recommended in the report has

taken place and then the Egan Report and the various

improvement bodies have had tremendous impact. But,

there is still much to be done.”

Remarkable building projects

UK construction delivers remarkable building projects every

year – motorways, bridges, tunnels, schools, hospitals and

landmark commercial developments. Many such successful

projects are delivered using a partnering or framework

approach and many more organisations are adopting collaborative

working as a standard practice.

“My report did highlight the need for the industry

to change its attitude towards procurement and its approach

generally,” comments Sir Michael. “But it is not just about

attitudes, it is also about having the right process. The

industry is slowly changing its culture and thinking in new

ways – but it takes time.”

10 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007


Follow the

Leadership is the holy grail of the business world. In construction

the requirement for excellent leaders has always been

there, but at this critical point of change, growth and development,

it is paramount.

In Wales the sector is likely to increase dramatically in the

next few years. In the public sector alone there is a planned

programme of over £1.5bn and nationally by £100bn over the

next five years. There are massive programmes of urban

regeneration, housing, schools and health development and

other public sector schemes – plus the Olympics and its surrounding

infrastructure activities (even in Wales) – all needing

to be completed. This is an opportunity which the

industry must grasp and in doing so address a number of key

issues. But, whether it is the availability of the right skills,

project management, the true integration of teams or delivering

timely success, you can be sure that the sharpest spotlight

will be on leadership. Why – because without excellent

leadership we cannot expect excellent performance. It is people

that make the difference, and they deserve and need the

best leadership.

“We need leaders who will inspire their people to rise to

these challenges, who will support them through the difficult

and trying times – leaders who set and maintain the highest

standards,” explained Diarmid de Burgh-Milne, a leadership

consultant at JCP. “But leaders are people, very often the

loneliest and, in terms of development, the least cared for. We

tend to take them for granted, expect them to know what to

do and how to do it – which is a strange way of developing

the most important people in the industry.”

Vaughan Burnand, chief executive of Shepherd

Construction, put this into context at Constructing

Excellence’s strategic leadership event in 2006. “Leaders think

long-term. They have a distant vision and they possess values

and principles that underpin their vision.”

It is the vision, values and principles that give an organisation

its culture and create a structure for a business to operate

within. If the industry is to respond to society’s need for an

improved, sustainable built environment and do it the way

Government is demanding then everyone in the construction

industry – clients, contractors, consultants and suppliers – has

to assess its culture. If leaders do not lead in this, it will not happen.

“Right now, there is an enthusiasm for best practice in the

Welsh built environment,” says Milica Kitson, chief executive of

Constructing Excellence in Wales. “However, there is a gap

around the best practice champions. There is a danger that they

will become isolated inside their organisations unless the leaders,

decision-makers and opinion formers do not back them.”

12 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007

Welsh construction is growing, but does it possess the

right calibre of business leaders to take advantage of

the opportunities Andrew Brown investigates.


It is vital for construction business leaders to establish the

right culture for rethinking construction principles to be successfully


“We know from a recent survey that over 75% of people

involved in construction in Wales think leadership is vital if

the industry is to move forward,” said Milica Kitson.“But only

24% believe their business has enjoyed excellent leadership.

We need to do something about that.”

Strong leaders will take bolder decisions. They will accept

Latham’s win-win concept: that even though a longer-term,

collaborative approach to a project might mean less short

term gain it not only leads to a more sustainable business

model but it always generates a win for everyone – a win-win.

Whereas, the traditional confrontational, sometimes very

short term nature of the industry is not sustainable and a

quick win is almost always followed by a quick loss.

Outstanding leadership will allow Welsh construction to

focus on value and not costs. To consider the whole life of a

building or project, not just its construction costs. Torfaen

County Council has already seen the benefits of a bold approach.

“Our executive board has backed the idea of framework

agreements to reduce barriers and establish an open relationship

with contractors. Without that support we would not

have been able to make the savings we have, or the improvements

in performance,” comments Mark McSweeney, construction

and procurement group leader at Torfaen.

“It takes business leaders of courage and vision to accept

this fact from the beginning,”explains Stephen Goulston, managing

director of Alfred McAlpine’s building team. “But once

they do, then integrated solutions can be applied and the construction

team can help customers, suppliers and the end users

of the building secure value right the way through a project.”

So, across the Welsh built environment, leaders involved in

construction on the client side and the delivery team, need to

aspire to become excellent leaders.

“The industry is all in this together. The attitude of each

business, up and down the supply chain, affects the success of

everyone,”comments Paul Millar construction partner at

Morgan Cole. “So, if it is to take advantage of the opportunities

available then the leaders of the industry have to step

forward, take bold decisions and be clear about the vision and

direction to follow.”


CEW is holding a leadership event on 14 March

at the Holland House Hotel, Cardiff. Contact


for more information.

Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 13

industry updates




CEW is holding a

leadership event on 14

March at the Holland

House Hotel, Cardiff to

address the issue of

how the business

demands excellent

leadership to drive

change. Less than a

quarter of the industry

has experienced good

leadership – the event

will look at the key

ingredients of leadership

– what is it; leadership

versus management;

what do we want from a

leader. The debate will

lead to a series of in

depth workshops on


Denys Morgan steps

down from CEW chair

It seems impossible to believe that it is four years since Rethinking Construction, our predecessor

organisation, got going in Wales. Those were “brave new world” days, when few could foresee

where the process would lead. Well – here we are, in 2007, with a great deal achieved, about which

all deserve to feel duly proud, but still a tremendous amount left to do!

Constructing Excellence in Wales is now well established, as a “value adding” organisation, coordinating

what was previously disparate, and championing best practice, innovation, modern

procurement, greater awareness of Health and Safety, a new direction on waste management and

much more besides. Few have not now heard of CEW.

As I hand over the Chairmanship, it’s good to see that our vital and vibrant industry is more

co-ordinated and ‘together’ than before. New alliances are being forged with, the Assembly

Government, public sector clients, industry supply side and through our Clubs and

Demonstration programme, the wider industry. This will take construction to new heights, whilst

addressing issues such as increasingly acute skills shortages and also, persuading the industry

(which still has some reluctant elements) towards new and innovative methods of procurement,

construction and waste minimisation.

I shall be egging all concerned on, but increasingly from the sidelines rather than the helm!

Much achieved, much left to do! I close by thanking, from the bottom of my heart, those with

whom I have worked so closely over the last few years, Milica our doughty chief executive, Eira,

Carl and now Paul and Dave. My job as CEW Board Chair has been both a privilege and a pleasure.

I wish the movement continued success and all the very best into the future.

Denys Morgan, chairman, CEW

Morrison Construction, part of the GallifordTry group of companies,

operates nationally across the construction sector providing tailored

construction packages for a diverse range of customers. Morrison has

regional infrastructure operations throughout the UK, with its Welsh

regional office located in Swansea. Regionally they are known for their

work with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water on the sewer network in the southwest

of Wales, but its civil engineering capabilities extend further. Morrison

Construction boasts a portfolio of many major projects in Wales including:

● The Asset Management Programme working with Dwr Cymru Welsh

Water and its partners to refurbish the waste water network

throughout Wales

● Infrastructure development works at the SA1 Development in Swansea,

paving the way for inward development into the Swansea region

● Working with the Coal Authority to refurbish a number of Minewater

Waste Water Treatment Works at several locations throughout Wales.

● As part of the National refurbishment programme for the HM Prison

Service, starting with a project at Cardiff Prison.

Recent project success has been reflected with Morrison being awarded

the winner of Construction Prize in the Wales Quality Awards for the 2nd

consecutive year, and being honoured with the overall Wales Quality

Award in 2005.

SA1 Swansea


Crosshands Wastewater

Treatment Works



Singleton House,

Charter Court,

Phoenix Way,

Swansea Enterprise Park,


SA7 9DD.

Tel: 01792 781450

Fax: 01792 781435


Best practice clubs bring

synergy to the table

There are four Best Practice Clubs across Wales and each one is integral to the drive to improve

the industry. Each club forms part of the national club network providing an opportunity for

representatives of the construction industry – clients, contractors, consultants, suppliers and

academics – to share experiences via presentations, visits and networking.

The clubs’ aims are to address the local needs of its respective construction community. The

Clubs meet with each other from time to time and also link up with other initiatives across the

UK, thereby providing even more opportunity to disseminate best practice. One recent successful

example was a ‘Question Time’ event focussing on the need for recruitment into the

industry hosted by the South West Wales Club.

The wider objective now is to draw on the infrastructure and expertise developed by the

clubs to participate in the identification and evaluation of Demonstration Projects. The idea is

that by linking the ‘Demonstration Programme’ to the ‘Best Practice Clubs’, CEW will improve

upon a successful model by not only being able to demonstrate best practice but also by

sharing common themes and enabling participants in the programme to learn from others.

For further information contact Dave Clague on 02920 493322 or email






Last year Morrison

Construction in Wales won

the Construction Prize in

the Wales Quality Awards

for the second consecutive

year. As a drive to improve

performance it entered the

Wales Quality Award and

applied the principles in

the EFQM Model,

challenging its own

systems and running a

review of how the

business functioned.



Stradform has won a £6

million waterfront

development for A10

Properties situated on the

Swansea Waterfront. The

project will feature

concrete ceilings, recycled

stone and timber all

helping to reduce the

environmental impact of

the building. John Worrall,

Stradform’s managing

director, said: “This is an

exciting time for Stradform.

Educated clients are now

quick to see the benefits

of working with a ready

established and integrated

supply chain and it was

particularly satisfying to

see this playing such a

significant part in the

new contract.”

14 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007


for Life:


for Wales

The Designed for Life: Building for Wales scheme is one of the

most important built environment projects in the country. It

is a collaborative framework for the design and build of all

future health buildings in Wales with a value of £5 million or

over and will last for four to six years. Following an extensive

review and consultation with the construction industry, NHS

and other interested groups, the aim is to build on best practice

in partnering and collaboration to create a scheme which

specifically addresses the needs of Wales and which will deliver

quality health buildings for the NHS in Wales.

Morgan Cole has played a central role, working with Welsh

Health Estates to deliver the scheme. Its construction team

continues to advise a number of public sector organisations in

its procurement strategy and the use of framework agreements

for a range of consultancy and building services. The

team assists in providing procurement advice, drafting tender

documentation, the drafting of framework agreements and

the underlying call off contracts. The team is also involved in

advising clients on the use of a whole range of newer construction

contracts such as the NEC3, PPC2000, the Be

Collaborative contract and the recent update/ revision of the

JCT suite of documents.




The Federation of Master

Builders with Envirowise

is running a Café Van

Project in May and the

Construction Waste Task

Group will take the

opportunity to deliver

information not just on

Duty of Care but also

other Construction Waste

issues such as Site Waste

Management Plans and



WASTE The Waste Task

Group is producing a

Duty of Care Clipboard

for SME’s. Duty of Care

is the basic building

block of Waste

Management and a

clipboard was chosen

as the best way to

communicate it. This will

be distributed in March

via the Federations,

Builders Merchants and

direct contact.



visitor centre on top of

Snowdon will not be

shrouded in snow in

2020 according to latest

research. Experts from

the Countryside Council

for Wales predicted that

due to global warming

the mountain will lose all

its snow in 15 years time.

The recently completed

visitor centre features

local materials from

Alfred McAlpine’s slate

quarry at Penryhn.

Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 15

industry portrait

With Denys Morgan stepping down from the

role, Bill Dolworth finds out some facts

about Richard Wilson, the new chairman of

Constructing Excellence in Wales. Look out

for a profile in our next edition.



comes on


Richard Wilson is the new chairman of Constructing Excellence in Wales after Denys Morgan

stepped down after four years as chairman (see page 14). His appointment is a strong

indication of the close relationship CEW has with the Welsh Assembly Government. It also

comes at a time when the industry needs to work hard to understand the requirements of the

public sector. Richard Wilson commented on his new role:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the chairman of CEW at this critical time

in the development of the organisation and look forward to the challenge of building

on the excellent foundation work undertaken by my predecessor and to now

expand the influence of CEW throughout both the public and private

sectors in Wales.”

Richard is the director of Capital & Property Division of the Welsh

Assembly Government and in this capacity is involved with the construction

of the three new Assembly offices in Merthyr, Llandudno and

Aberystwyth. Richard has been involved with the construction process

all his working life and has been associated with some major projects

in Wales. In 1995 he was appointed the Chief Estates

Surveyor at the Welsh Office and latterly at the National Assembly for

Wales. Then, he was appointed head of Assembly Building Project

Team in early 2002 to re-start the Senedd project, which was opened

by HM The Queen on St David’s Day 2006. Richard was awarded

the OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2006 for his leadership

of the Senedd project.

Milica Kitson, CEW’s chief executive said:

“Richard Wilson’s experience and knowledge will be a great

boost in our efforts to help the private and public sectors work

closely together and achieve the objectives that are being outlined

in the construction sector strategy. We are all looking

forward to the exciting challenges ahead.”

Illustration by: Henry Rico Fardan.

16 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007


Every body wants to be a winner so CEW is giving the opportunity

to celebrate the achievements of the Welsh construction sector at

its first awards event. Eira Thomas explains.



Constructing Excellence in Wales is launching its first Awards

for Wales to celebrate and showcase excellence in the

construction industry and reward achievement throughout

the principality. The first CEW awards, to be held on 8 June

at the Holland House Hotel in Cardiff, are part of a national

scheme of events around the UK based on a successful

model developed in the regions and backed by Constructing

Excellence. The Awards are designed to celebrate the best of

the construction industry’s practices and practitioners in the

region and are open to everyone, large and small businesses

alike. Constructing Excellence is keen to encourage the

participation of smaller companies in the Awards.

“It is very easy for the bigger players to steal all the limelight.

They tend to work on the landmark projects and, by definition,

have more resources available to them,” says Milica

Kitson, CEW’s chief executive. “But we know from experience

that the SME operating in the sector across the country are

doing some fantastic work and it is important to highlight

there success and reward their efforts.”

In the interest of promoting, recognising and rewarding

collaborative working CEW is also encouraging third party

nomination of individuals, teams and companies who have

made notable contributions in this area. Awards can be fun,

but can also play a strategic role within businesses of all sizes.

Being recognised by your peers for excellence in construction

will bring enormous benefits to an organisation, helping

attract new clients, cement existing relationships and raise

staff morale. In order to be remembered and rewarded for all

your efforts you must take part in the Awards and apply!

Entries need to be completed by 1 May. You can enter in the

categories listed on the facing page.

For full details contact us on 02920 493322 or email

awards@constructingexcellencewales.org.uk. Winners in

some categories will automatically be entered into a National

Constructing Excellence in the Built Environment Award.

The awards are open to all involved in creating construction

and the built environment in Wales – developers, clients, contractors,

specialist and sub-contractors, members of the

design team, other consultants… in other words, any one in

the Welsh construction industry has an opportunity to

become involved.

The industry is defined by CEW as all who commission,

produce, develop, plan, design, build, alter or maintain the

18 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007


Integration & Collaborative

Working: Judges will be looking for

examples of procurement, systematic

project management, collaboration up

and down the supply chain, integrated

logistics, as well as evidence of

improvement flowing from the


The Legacy Award – Sustainability:

Nominations are required of examples

of the systematic and sustained

application of the principles of

sustainable construction and/or

sustainable development that deliver

a sustainable legacy.

Innovation: This category highlights

innovation in finding technical or

environmental solutions, overcoming

problems within a project or process.

Entries could include use of IT/ICT or

for a problem found while

constructing a building or structure.

SME Award: This award is open to

small construction companies

employing 25 or less people who

have made strides in improving their

company through implementing best

practice. Judges will be looking for

examples of where improvements

have been made across the board in

terms of both people and processes .

Health & Safety (CDM): This award

will be given to the project where

CDM duties have been best

demonstrated and complied with;

namely the systematic and effective

management of hazards associated

with a project. In order to be

successful in this award the judges

will be looking for evidence that best

practice has been utilised in producing

a scheme where buildability, future

maintenance and final demolition

have been fully considered.

Leadership & People Development:

Judges will be looking for

improvements resulting from

leadership, training interventions, or

an enlightened client. Entries should

show respect to our workforce and

the communities, while

simultaneously winning respect from

them through workforce

development, skills and training,

benchmarking, equality and diversity,

health and safety and working


Project Leadership: Entrants must

describe what is distinctive about the

individual’s project leadership for this

category, detailing the actual and

budget project cost and delivery date.

Any member of the team can

nominate a project leader for this

category. The project leader may have

any role within the project. Evidence

from more than one project can be


Achiever’s Award: This award is in

recognition of outstanding

performance or influence by an

individual or organisation who is truly

inspirational in the opinion of the

sector peer group. The nominee must

have shown exemplary actions that

have changed the behaviour and

performance of others and delivered

disproportionate benefits for, and left

a legacy in, the outputs of the built

environment sector.

built environment. The company/organisation or project(s)

must demonstrate improvements in line with Constructing

Excellence principles and the Rethinking Construction


■ An application can be made for a project, process, a

product or a service

■ Demonstrating excellence in practice; where evidence is

requested there should be a clear ‘audit’ trail available for

qualitative and quantitative data

■ Where a project or project leader is the subject the project

should have been based in Wales and you must have the

approval of the owner of the building/project

■ Where individual, process, product or service is the

subject, the nominating organisation/divisional

office/individual should be based in Wales

■ All nominations and submissions should relate

primarily to work carried out between January 2006

and January 2007

All entries must be received by 4pm, 1 May. Entries will be

considered by an independent panel of judges. The Awards

Dinner will be held at the Holland House Hotel, Cardiff on

8 June 2007.

Tickets for the Awards Dinner are £50.00

each with tables of 10 and 12 available.

If you would like to purchase tickets please

contact Carl Turner or email


Spring/Summer 2007 CEW view 19

focus on waste management

As one of the UK’s most productive industries, the construction sector is also the biggest

consumer of material resources and is responsible for generating more than 100 million

tonnes of waste per year. Mike Watson, head of construction at

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), looks at viable

options for waste reduction on a construction site.

A sustainable


Measuring waste can

lead to savings of up

to 20% of materials

on site.

Large amounts of waste from construction, demolition and

excavation activities continue to be buried in landfill sites.

However, there are more attractive alternatives, which are

increasingly being requested by clients and can also result in

savings for construction companies.

Site waste management plans (SWMPs) are one way in

which contractors can plan how waste will be dealt with

throughout a project. These are already being implemented

on a voluntary basis by some construction contractors, but are

set to become mandatory in 2008, after a consultation led by

Defra later this year.

When it comes to waste management, there are six questions

contractors should ask themselves.

■ How much waste is your project producing and what are

the waste disposal costs Waste is far more than the cost of

The construction industry consumes more than

400 million tonnes of materials every year.

skip hire and removal. The true cost of waste has been

measured at more than 15 times the cost of the skip hire.

Are you measuring waste arisings If you’re not, it’s

extremely difficult to identify how to reduce waste and

improve performance. Measuring waste can lead to savings

of 3% of build costs.

Do you know why your waste is arising Over-ordering,

handling, storage and design and specification can all generate


How much of your waste materials are re-used or recycled

on or off site Effective waste management isn’t just about

reducing the number of skips. Reusing and recycling materials

reduces landfill and provides savings on disposal.

Are you separating waste on site Although not always possible

due to space, segregating waste can save money as

costs of disposal can be lower.

What are you doing about waste Developing a SWMP

will enable you to demonstrate compliance with duty of

care responsibilities and provide a way to proactively

manage (and reduce) waste on site, with the potential for

cost savings.

For those looking to establish a SWMP, the DTI has developed

a voluntary Code of Practice, which can be downloaded

at www.wrap.org.uk/construction. WRAP is in the process of

developing case studies and toolkits to help contractors to

minimise and manage construction waste.


Construction clients are also beginning to drive sustainable construction. The most effective opportunity for

clients to do this is in a project’s master plan or tender/design brief, and therefore many clients – such as

Welsh Health Estates and Ely Bridge Urban Village – have set minimum requirements for recycled content in

new building projects.

WRAP assisted both organisations to include wording within their relevant documentation – be it

framework agreements or invitations to negotiate. As a result, the appointed contractor needs to achieve a

minimum level of recycled content within a new building. To assist construction professionals, WRAP has

developed a Recycled Content Toolkit, which helps identify the baseline recycled content of a project and

shows the top five to ten Quick Wins, where significant gains in recycled content can be made.

To find out more about sustainable construction, visit www.wrap.org.uk/construction

or call WRAP’s helpline on 0808 100 2040.

20 CEW view Spring/Summer 2007

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