Welsh Construction: Let’s do it right

It has been said many times, but it is worth repeating – Welsh construction is a leader in terms of best practice and collaborative working.

20th March 2014

But too often this is achieved despite of the clients it is obliged to work with and not as a result of the clients seeking out a procurement route that advocates integrated teams and long term value. Construction is all about a whole life business proposition, not a lowest price Dutch auction conducted regardless of consequences. For example, lower maintenance and operational costs of schools and hospitals will not be achieved by buying and building them cheaply. A whole life approach to procuring and delivering construction improves social outcomes for our communities, minimises environmental impacts and, importantly, gives us greater economic certainty in terms of costs, time and quality.

If we want to see sustainable growth and a boosted economy in Wales, we have to adopt a whole life approach to delivering our built environment. There is no other way. We have projects already in the pipeline – such as Penarth Learning Community, the Admiral building is another example.
What we don’t have is continuity of approach from client to client in the public sector and that is why CEW is here, this is why CEW will continue to champion the added value that construction offers here in Wales.

If we get construction right then Wales benefits. Do it wrong and it costs Wales money and prestige. It also has a negative impact upon the lives of thousands of people. Doing it right by working in an integrated and collaborative way construction can generate a £2.00 return in the local community for every £1 invested. A project on the scale of the Church Village By Pass typically can create around 200 direct jobs during the construction process but this number can be scaled up fivefold through the local supply chain and the surrounding community. Construction adds short term and long term value to the Welsh economy – but only if it is procured and delivered collaboratively.

This is why Wales needs Constructing Excellence in Wales CEW is not a task and finish organisation. The message about collaboration and long term value needs promoting every time any building project is being planned. Consequently, the work of CEW needs to continue. Construction and the built environment will always be needed by the Welsh economy and Welsh people. Hence, to ensure it delivers the best possible value for Wales, the Government and the construction industry needs to work with, and through, the interface of CEW.