Survey Results on UK Government Framework Agreements 2018

Results from the survey to discover if SMEs found the widely adopted Framework Agreement a simple and rewarding process for winning new business from government are now reported below and available HERE.

The survey has been run on behalf of the Frameworks Working Group, a part of the independent SME Advisory Panel advising on central government procurement and targeted key small businesses (& not just construction professionals) providing a wide range of niche products and services to departments across Whitehall.

The results from more than 200 responses are clear.

Framework agreements are often disliked by SMEs who feel that they are written in complex language, have expensive and time consuming tender processes, are inflexible and favour large companies over smaller ones.

Crown Commercial Service are studying the report’s findings and have pointed to several new and ongoing actions government is taking to level the playing field for small businesses including:

  • considering where different kinds of procurement vehicle, including Dynamic Purchasing Systems, are suitable delivery models. Crown Commercial Service itself has launched three DPSs in the last 12 months, with five more being developed. We also know of a number of these flexible systems across other government departments;
  • simplifying public procurement with the new, plain English ‘Public Sector Contract’ – removing duplication from the application process for suppliers;
  • consulting on proposals to exclude suppliers from major government procurements if they cannot demonstrate fair, reliable and effective payment practices with their subcontractors;
  • requiring suppliers to advertise subcontracting opportunities via the Contracts Finder website and to provide the government with data showing how businesses in their supply chain, including small businesses, are benefiting from supplying to central government.

2018_FRAMEWORK SURVEY_RESULTS 

 

Architects face insurance wake-up call post-Grenfell

As Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance costs rise following Grenfell fire, Project Compass Director Russell Curtis joins calls from the profession for the shift to Integrated Project Insurance (IPI).

“Now more than ever it’s surely time to consider alternatives,” .. “Integrated project insurance (IPI) is beginning to gain momentum among some enlightened clients as this leads to a less adversarial, buck-passing approach, instead encouraging teamwork and collective problem-solving – surely something the industry needs right now.”

With the rise of BIM, where the model is often led by the architect, the extent of an architect’s liability could be stretched again. To avoid that, this burden should be shared and other insurance approaches should undoubtedly be looked at.

Architects face insurance wake-up call post-Grenfell. Richard Waite. AJ 23 Nov. 2018. (paywalled)

Further information.

Integrated Project Insurance (IPI), under an Alliance Contract, has been used recently on Dudley College’s Innovative new building.  Insurance under this multi-party contract was provided by brokers Griffiths & Armour, with the project instigated under the Cabinet Office’s 2014 Trial Projects Delivery Programme, supported by an Innovate UK grant and known as known as “Dudley Advanced II”.

An excellent NBS podcast summarising the IPI Insurance model is available HERE, with further NBS resources HERE.

RIBA information on variants of the Single Project Insurance (SPI) model may be found HERE

Advice to clients

Clients might be better advised not to specify the insurance used in any particular project at the time of an architects procurement and appointment. This can ensure that the best, most effective and efficient insurance model suitable for each individual project can be determined as the project brief and design parameters develop.

(Ten Principles for Procuring Better Outcomes. RIBA 2016 pp28 and Building Ladders of Opportunity. RIBA 2012 pp22-24)

Northern Ireland is now open to fixed fee tenders

In N. Ireland methodologies on the procurement of design, where lowest price is no longer the determining factor have now been agreed between the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD), the RSUA & the construction sector (announced Sept. 2018). This halts the race to the bottom.

Under the pilot all construction services contracts to be awarded by CPD, both above and below the EU threshold, will be awarded in one of the following ways:

  • Projects with no quality assessment at tender stage will be awarded based on the Mean Narrow Average calculation;
  • Projects with a quality and price assessment at tender stage will base the price score on the Mean Narrow Average calculation; or
  • Projects with a fixed fee tender will be awarded on the assessment of quality only.

The first CPD procurement using the Mean Narrow Average is currently at prequalification stage.

Mean Narrow Average

In a move to ensure value, the fundamental shift is that the best price will no longer be the lowest price but the price that is closest to an average.  The average that will be used is a ‘narrow average’. The lowest price and highest price are not part of the calculation to establish the ‘narrow average’.

Full details of the Mean Narrow Average calculation are available here.  Those interested in bidding for CPD projects are strongly advised to review this and ensure they fully understand it.

For all in construction, and design professionals in particular this is surely an extremely welcome and long overdue step.

But this is not the only one of the advances being made in the UK nations -N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all now also adopted Project Bank Accounts although from different threshold values.

Isn’t it now time for England to advance, reform and follow suite?

The Competition Grid: Experimenting With & Within Architecture

 

hCompetition Grid. Experimenting With & Within Architecture CompetitionsThe Competition Grid: Experimenting With & Within Architecture Competitions   (Theodoru. M., Katsakou A. (eds) RIBA Publishing, 2018. Project Compass Director Walter Menteth has contributed Chapter 10, ‘E-Procurement Delivering Better Design Competitions’ in Part 3-‘Experimenting with Architectural Competitions’.  “This is an engaging and extensive review of architectural competitions. Merging the immediacy of practitioners’ competition experience and the rigorousness of scientific writing, each section features comprehensive research and lively discussion from an international set of experts.”   Available from RIBA Publishing.

Public Procurement Policy 2018 guide

A new and updated PUBLIC PROCUREMENT POLICY 2018 guide covering directives, regulations, policies and guidance relating to the procurement of services, supplies and works for the public sector was issued by Crown Commercial Services on March 26, 2018

The Aldous Retentions Protection Bill of 27 April 2018

The Aldous Retentions Protection Bill of 27 April 2018 is now being supported by more than 60 Trade Bodies. As notified by Project Compass previously it was first moved in Parliament in January.  Peter Aldous MP who is moving the bill said of this need for reform:

 “This coalition of support shows the urgent need for reform and unity of industry following Carillion. Support covers so much of the industry that we now have a golden opportunity to change construction for the better.

“I hope government gets behind industry and this Bill. We need action to protect SMEs before more millions are lost, and this Bill is about ensuring people’s money is safe so businesses can grow and invest in their future.”

Project Compass consider organisations representing construction design professionals should equally be adding their full support and leadership.  Yet they are notably absent from the 60 Trade Bodies reported to be currentlky supporting this Bill (see below).

Through a retentions deposit scheme this bill improves conditions in the construction industry. In construction contracts retentions withheld unduly are a significant concern for all including design professionals, whether they are withheld for excessive time or because a contractor goes bankrupt. It has an adverse impact on all particularly SME’s in the supply chain and a healthier construction industry is in the best interests of all.

Full text of a briefing paper prepared by the SEC Group,  November 2017 can be read on our post here

Project Compass invite you to write to your local MP to express your support for this Bill by 27th April (a template for you to do so is provided HERE), as well as writing to your professional organisation to seek their support.

Supporting Industry Organisations:

Apprenticeships 4 England (App4Eng)

Asbestos Control and Abatement Division (ACAD)

Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA)

Association of Brickwork Contractors

Association of Ductwork Contractors and Allied Services (ADCAS)

Association of Fencing Industries

Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS)

Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE)

Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC)

British Blind & Shutter Association

British Board of Agrément

British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA)

British Drilling Association (BDA)

British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA)

British Flue & Chimney Manufacturers Association (BFCMA)

British Property Federation

British Refrigeration Association (BRA)

British Woodworking Federation

Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF)

Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA)

Building Engineering Services Association (BESA)

Building Engineering Services Competent Assessment (BESCA)

Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)

Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE)

Confederation of Construction Specialists

Confederation of Roofing Contractors

Contract Flooring Association

Drilling and Sawing Association

Electrical Contractors Association (ECA)

Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT)

Fan Manufacturers’ Association

Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA)

Federation of Master Builders (FMB)

Federation of Small Business (FSB)

Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors (FTMRC)

Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS)*

Fire & Security Association (FSA)

Glass & Glazing Federation

Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA)

Guild of Architectural Ironmongers

Heat Pump Association (HPA)

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Association (HEVAC)

House Builders Federation (HBF)

Institute of Clerks of Works of Great Britain

International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)

Kitchen Bathroom & Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA)

Lead Contractors Association

Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA)

Local Authority Building Control (LABC)

Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA)

National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC)

National Association of Shopfitters

National Federation of Builders

National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC)

National Federation of Roofing Contractors

Painting & Decorating Association

Process Innovation Forum (PIF)

Property Care Association

Roofing Industry Alliance

Scaffolding Association

Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF)

Specialist Engineering Contractor’s Group (SEC Group)

Stone Federation of Great Britain

Structural Timber Association

Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA)

Central Government Framework Agreements Survey

Framework SurveyFrameworks bedevil SME Design Professionals so please take this opportunity to complete this survey here on Government Framework Agreements to communicate your views and help formulate better policy for SME access & engagement, before the 31st of March deadline.

The survey results will be reported on Project Compass in due course.

The letter transcribed below sets out the purpose and objectives of the survey:

” The UK Government is committed to achieving a target that one pound in every three of public money spent annually on goods and services will be spent with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by the end of the parliament.  One of the areas under consideration for improvement is Government Framework Agreements as they relate to SMEs.

By engaging with SMEs differently it is hoped that many more will take part in, and benefit from, new business either directly with government, or indirectly as sub-contractors to Prime Contractors.

The Frameworks Group working within the Cabinet Office SME Panel has been considering this matter and we are now conducting some independent research amongst SMEs to gather measurable information.  The results will inform our advice to the Crown Commercial Service, which is part of the Cabinet Office, about the future direction of this type of central government agreement.

If your company is an SME and has had experience of Framework Agreements whilst working with, or attempting to work with the UK Government or its Prime Contractors, we would be interested to hear your views.  If you have had no experience at all then please disregard this survey.

All contributions are anonymous and should be completed before 31st March 2018 in order for your data to be included in the results.

We have timed participation to less than ten minutes.  We greatly appreciate your help in this matter.

Please click here to participate in this independent study.

Many thanks and kind regards.

Jonathan Lewis

Chair, Frameworks Working Group, Cabinet Office SME Panel”

 

Carillion’s Collapse. Let’s learn lessons from this failure.

Carillion’s collapse: Project Compass director Russell Curtis has called in ‘Let’s hope the lessons of Carillion’s failure will be learnt’, (AJ 17 January 2018) for “a more diverse supply chain to avoid another Carillion catastrophe, so we can face a future with a diverse, specialist and varied supply chain, which matches projects with proficiency and project scale with practice size.”

The growing crisis within the building industry shows that the driving policies and practices which are aggregating contracting into ever larger private contracts is simply failing, from the Edinburgh Schools fiasco, Grenfell and now Carillion’s collapse.

In UK procurement far practice greater regard now needs to be placed on the available provisions within Directive 2014/24/EU and the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (noted in the informative below).  These provisions have to date been in effect disregarded in procurement within England.

Continue reading “Carillion’s Collapse. Let’s learn lessons from this failure.”

Project Compass Newsletter December 2017

Newsletter December 2017

The Project Compass Newsletter December 2017 highlights some of our activities  over the past 18 months, the publications that have been output, a procurement trends report and our anticipated future activities.

Information on our exciting programme and the range of new activities we plan may be of particular interest to all our supporters and site users.  We welcome your participation, collaboration and engagement in some, or any of these, and particularly any contributions towards the Venice Biennale 2018 works. Submission information on this will be made available shortly.

Other activities of interest include the development of more and better engagement in educational modules and our Guerrilla Competitions programme.

As an organisation promoting open access and engagement we always remain open to advancing projects that may be brought forward to us by others, so long as they lie within our Community Interest Company remit. If you have any projects, programmes or ideas which you individually wish to advance, please talk to us or email us at projectcompaccCIC@gmail.com

Peter Aldous MP’s Jan. 2018 Bill to protect retentions

Peter Aldous MP will introduced a Parliamentary Bill on 9 Jan. 2018 to protect cash retentions in a retention deposit scheme (similar to a tenancy deposit scheme). Project Compass invite you to write to your local MP to express your support for this.

This is an important initiative being promoted by the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC) Group and their full briefing paper is published below.

Retentions withheld unduly in construction contracts are a significant concern for all in the construction industry including design professionals, whether they are withheld for excessive time or because a contractor goes bankrupt. It has an adverse impact on all and particularly SME’s in the supply chain.

This Parliamentary Bill aims to secure much needed reform.  We hope you will help to advocate this change by writing to your MP in support.  A letter template for your use is also provided HERE.

FULL TEXT OF THE BRIEFING PAPER PREPARED BY SEC GROUP.  November 2017
Continue reading “Peter Aldous MP’s Jan. 2018 Bill to protect retentions”