Joint Construction Projects – Sharing Ownership and Control

Joint Construction Projects – Sharing Ownership and Control

21st December 2016

Last week we took a look at the rise in large projects and how construction companies are increasingly being expected to collaborate on some of these multi-million pound ventures, especially when it comes to infrastructure projects.  With the government planning to improve and increase our infrastructure here in the UK, this is a situation that no construction company owner can afford to ignore – the future really is in collaboration.  This rise in joint ventures and public-private partnerships (PPPs) presents construction companies with some extra challenges so, over the next few weeks, we’re going to be giving you some advice that will help you and your business to collaborate with other companies in a constructive and competent manner.

The first challenge will be the ownership and control of information which is particularly pertinent for companies that are used to controlling their own information.  Most business owners would be reluctant to allow vital information to be stored on servers outside their control – and this is only to be expected.  In the event of a dispute, there is a risk that the controlling party could prevent access to this critical information.  At the end of the project, it’s likely that the joint venture or partnership will dissolve and there would then be a question of who should store this information.  Power struggles over which company stores and has control over the project information need to be avoided at all costs.

However, any partners entering into a joint venture will appreciate that the success of the project depends heavily on their ability to share this information quickly and efficiently in order to deliver effective collaboration on the project.  This means that all parties in the joint venture need to agree on how and where this information is stored.

Instead of using the toss of a coin to determine which company’s servers will be used to store project data, the fairest method is to use a single, shared platform for the storage and dissemination of information.  If a neutral, third party platform is used, this will guarantee that each partner in the project retains control of their information no matter what happens in the venture.  A neutral platform will also enable users to store all of the data associated with that particular project (including documents, correspondence, decisions, etc.) in one location.

This means that any proprietary information remains with each partner but is still accessible via APIs from the shared platform agreed upon by all parties.  Project controls will include the following requisites:

·         Permission based access – allowing contractors and managers to administer their own section of the project.

·         Data logs that provide transparency and accountability on all aspects of the project.

The shared platform will provide all partners in the project to share information of all types, regardless of file sizes which will not only add convenience to the collaboration, but will also make collaboration much faster, minimising any delay on the overall project.