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Collaboration in Construction

Posted: 9th November 2015

Dale Sinclair

CIC Champion (Building Information Modelling (BIM))

On 24 November the RIBA will be hosting its last Business Forum of the year: ‘Collaboration in Construction’. During the evening, different representatives from the project team will talk about the issues encountered on projects, setting out their own thoughts on how these challenges might be dealt with and the nudges required to enable more collaborative working within the project team.

Speaking will be Jo Bacon of Allies and Morrison (the design team leader), Lyndsay Smith of Morgan Sindall (the contractor) and Andy Sneyd of B&ES (the specialist subcontractor). After these brief talks Graham Watts, Chief Executive of the CIC, will chair what will hopefully be a frank debate around key pressure points on projects and the topics driving conflicts between project team members.

A core aim of the evening will be determining how industry leaders might take personal responsibility for helping to improve working relationships between design team members, contractors and specialist sub-contractors and, of course, the client. There will be an opportunity to consider how we might react to Construction 2025 as well as reflecting on why this differs from previous high profile initiatives such as those set out by Latham and Egan.

The built environment industry is facing multiple paradigm shifts around the way design information is produced and delivered by the design team and when construction innovation driven by the contractor is factored into the process. More holistic life cycle processes particularly around the In Use stage need to be embraced. The debate might focus on how effectively different procurement models are responding to these changes. Are they efficiently connecting members of the project team? How might these connections be improved? Do the new forms of contracts that wrap around these procurement processes encourage collaborative behaviour?

Simply, do current methods consider the realities of the design process or the risks faced by the contractor and specialist subcontractors adequately? If the relationships between the contractor and their designing supply chain (specialist subcontractors) and design team members changed would this improve matters?

As we aim to resolve problems still fundamentally geared to analogue projects how will the project team react when the Internet of Things and the world of big data properly kick in and drive truly innovative data driven digital solutions? Will our professional silos tumble around us? Who will be the new members of the project team who will help us navigate in this world?

In the world of BIM, where reality has shifted well beyond 3D design, discussions might focus around the disruptive technologies that might radically alter the way we design, construct and use buildings. Will comprehensive EIRs (Employers Information Requirements) – that define exactly who does what when – improve collaboration? Or, are more deep rooted behavioural issues the root cause behind non-collaborative behaviours?

It should be an interesting evening and I look forward to leaving the event with some agreed common themes on how we might move forward and create a truly collaborative built environment industry.

For further information on the 'Collaboration in Construction' event please click here

Constributor: Dale Sinclair is AECOM’s Director of Technical Practice, Architecture responsible for EMIA. His core expertise is the delivery of large scale projects and he is passionate about delivering these more effectively using innovative and iterative multi-disciplinary design processes that embrace the project life cycle. He has recently been appointed as the CIC BIM champion and is on the board of BuildingSMART UK. He regularly speaks on the RIBA Plan of Work 2013, BIM and on the future of the built environment industry