Collaboration is the Future for UK Construction

Collaboration is the Future for UK Construction

13th December 2016

Here in the UK we’ve been promised some improvements and developments in our infrastructure to ensure that we’re ready for day to day life in the future.  Over the next ten years or so it will be a challenge to find the huge sums necessary for the new projects that are required.  It’s likely to strain budgets and step up the demand for skilled professionals.  Project nowadays are bigger than ever, especially the large infrastructure projects we’re discussing here.   According to the World Bank, the average project size globally in 2014 came in at more than $400 million, a mind blowing sum, and the type of project that is just too large for a single company to undertaken.  We’ve seen an increase in recent years in the number of joint ventures and public-private partnership (PPP) projects – with the collaborative working relationships often formed by the need to secure the necessary talent, share the risks and innovate with confidence.

If a large joint venture is to meet its objectives, then successful collaboration is essential and any sources of friction needs to be replaced with mutual trust and respect – with both shared risks and shared rewards.  Integrated project delivery is a process in which systems, business structures, people and practices all work together seamlessly but with each company still holding responsibility for its own integrity and financial wellbeing. 

We’re currently experiencing quite a severe skills shortage here in the UK construction industry, as we’ve pointed out here several times.  A massive 22% of our construction workers are over the age of 50 and the UK construction industry relies heavily on overseas labour.  The uncertainty surrounding the availability of overseas workers when Brexit becomes reality means that relying on such workers may no longer be a viable option in the future.  Any decrease in the free movement of workers is likely to have serious consequences for the building industry and a recent survey revealed that more than 60% of construction companies have already had to turn down work due to insufficient staffing.

In fact, the shock Brexit vote in June has left the country in a state of uncertainty and industry leaders are becoming more concerned by the day.  In a recent letter to Brexit Minister, David Davis, British builders, surveyors, planner and architects have expressed their concern that major project will be at risk if access to a skilled workforce from overseas is restricted.  This is likely to have an impact on the major infrastructure plans for the coming years.

The only sure thing in the coming years is uncertainty!  Getting your business ready to deal with this uncertainty is risk management of the most effective type.  Construction company owners need to be ready to collaborate with other construction companies in order to secure work on the larger projects that will be needed in order to improve our infrastructure.  Over the coming weeks, we’re going to be taking a look at collaborative partnerships of this type and offering you some tips and advice that should make the whole process go smoothly, so watch this space – there’s more to come.