Exemplar Programme

The Exemplar process combines the core principles of Rethinking Construction and the Well-being of Future Generations Act

An ‘Exemplar’ is defined as ‘something worthy of being imitated or copied’ and this is exactly what we continue to seek to achieve with this programme. Exemplars are intended to offer good practical examples of how to achieve Best Value Sustainable Construction solutions.

Our approach to Exemplar has been updated to reflect the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and to provide greater value as well as inviting a programme approach to the process. It is anticipated that embarking on the Exemplar process will, in itself, lead to higher value being obtained from a project.

The Exemplar process identifies what actions have taken place at key project stages that have led to successful outcomes, so that this learning can be adopted on other projects.

Each project must take a holistic approach to sustainable development and achieve a balance between economic, social and environmental factors. Success is evidenced through key performance indicators – which reflect the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act principles.

At each stage we use industry standard metrics to back up and support the description of what was done. All aspects of sustainability and construction best practice are taken into consideration, including economic, social and environmental factors, to ensure that a good all-round project is delivered that does not sacrifice one aspect for the sake of another.

Participants will commit to sharing their learning experiences with the wider industry through dissemination events held at key stages in the project development.

The Exemplar concept embraces the key drivers for the construction industry – 

  • The need to understand where improvements can be made from the earliest phases of a project right through to post occupancy
  • Encourages design/ project teams to work collaboratively to deliver whole life sustainability aspirations
  • Helps monitor ongoing best practice
  • Provides feedback to the wider industry to take forward key learning points from successful projects and advice that can yield future successes
  • Is not just an award for ‘glitzy’ buildings/ projects – it seeks to reward ‘normal’, repeatable schemes that have been done well
  • Rewards projects that are shown to truly represent all aspects of sustainability, in a cost-effective manner

Qualification for Exemplar status will require independent assessment by CEWales against a series of metrics under the headline sustainability issues - economic, social and environmental.

Most metrics are quantitative, based on measurable factors and standard industry KPIs, while some are qualitative, allowing projects to demonstrate innovations that could shape future best practice. Only projects demonstrating that they meet a range of industry benchmarks in all key areas will be considered for Exemplary status.

The emphasis of the Exemplar process will be on innovations that go beyond normal industry practice and on how these successes were achieved, rather than simply a ‘score’. The willingness to share this information with the industry in order to drive forward best practice is also a key requirement.

Equally important will be the strategic approach that has been taken by the team that has enabled the outcomes to be delivered. These will include the core principles of Rethinking Construction; such as Leadership, Commitment to people and Integrated teams, which will need to be demonstrated in practical ways.

Information will be gathered from the project team at key stages during the life of the construction project with the main data being collected on completion of the detailed design, on handover of the building/asset and after the post- construction evaluation period.

Details of how key issues have been approached and how the project team have engaged the community, mitigated environmental impact, developed innovative solutions to problems and how they have managed the construction process and budget will be gathered, analysed and converted into a published case study. It is intended that this good practice can then be disseminated and replicated across the industry and help to shape the future of construction.

On completion, successful projects will receive a certificate acknowledging that the scheme has been deemed an Exemplar, with case studies produced at key stages, which will be published and disseminated through events and various sources

We will be introducing a new element to the process which is to assess the project’s conformity with the Act’s seven goals and five ways of working. This would build on CEWales own work for the Future Generations Commissioner into applying the Act to the key stages of delivery and building up a project directory. In addition, we have refined our industry metrics to incorporate measures reflecting the Act as well as referencing the various metrics to the 7 Goals.

Although we will continue to welcome individual project applications for Exemplar status, we will be encouraging major clients with a significant pipeline of projects to take up our new programme approach. As set out above, to date we have tracked projects at three key stages: during the design stage; through the construction phase; and assessment of the post-occupancy phase for a short period.

For large projects this can extend for a period of years and we are keen that whilst we retain these same stages in principle, we provide clients with an Exemplar status report after the stage being studied and consider with the client whether they wish this project to form part of ongoing review or whether they would prefer to move the Exemplar focus within their programme to other projects. Thus, we will be seeking to assist major clients to take a programme approach to maximising the benefits of the Exemplar process.

To assist with this programme approach and to develop the Exemplar model in line with the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act we might look at three projects for the initial period.

One of these could be under construction and nearing completion and we would look at both the construction and post-construction phases. A second project might be commencing construction which we would track through this phase with the possibility of having a retrospective look at the design phase. The third project could be in its design phase but with an expectation of this stage being completed within the review period.

We would review and support these projects over a 12-month period. Towards the end of the review we would seek to develop together with the client organisation how we take the Exemplar programme forward with detailed consideration being given to the most appropriate future projects so that the most useful learning points for the programme are gathered. These can then be disseminated across the programme’s project managers and supply chain as well as through the Exemplar events to the wider industry.

If you are interested in the Exemplar Programme please email info@cewales.org.uk