Strengthening the supply chain

Gavin Hamblett, Pre-Construction Director at Prater
Gavin Hamblett, Pre-Construction Director at Prater

The industry has weathered tough times and we are now seeing more emphasis on collaborative working. Gavin Hamblett, Pre-Construction Director at Prater, explains we still need to see more projects benefiting from improved communication and a holistic approach to delivery from the supply chain.

TAKING an initial design concept and making it a working reality is no easy task. The successful design and construction of a building is dependent on so many factors – from the obvious right down to the devil in the detailing.
With clients, architects, main contractors, sub-contractors as well as any number of suppliers all involved, the design and build process can be a very complex task.
However, the impact of the last recession and its consequential affect on construction budgets has meant that there has, understandably, been a drive for long-term value in the specification process and certainty of delivered performance.
We are finding specifiers and main contractors are asking more questions as they understandably put more resources into managing both financial and technical risk. It is actually this drive for long-term value that has had a positive impact on the industry.
It has contributed towards creating an environment whereby the supply chain is working together to find cost effective methods, streamline processes and provide added value for the end client. It really is heartening to see an increasing number of construction projects embrace this collaborative approach.
However, in reality this could and should happen a lot more than it does. In all too many cases we are still seeing a traditional tendency to ‘roll the risk’ down the supply chain, or potential risks not considered early enough in the process to make allowances from the outset.
An honest dialogue at the earliest possible stage between all supply chain partners on how best to deliver what needs to be achieved is what the industry, as a whole will benefit from.
Furthermore, when a cohesive, consistent design and procurement process is in place, it results in successful project completion, which leads to companies working together repeatedly. This in turn helps to create an environment where there is a willingness to try new designs and challenge capabilities. Given we are seeing a distinct move toward building concepts that use a multi-faceted pallet of materials as well as complex geometry – it means clients are looking for supply chain partners with a proven track record in terms of quality of delivery, technical expertise and financial security.
It is also hard to talk about strengthening our supply chains without referencing Building Information Modelling (BIM). Anyone under the impression that this is a passing fad would be sorely mistaken – it is a process that is here to stay.
When it comes to identifying risk at the outset – BIM can help speed up the design process and identify any possible clashes in the construction upfront.
It really is hard to deny the benefits of a strong supply chain partnership. Working together collaboratively, with an honest and open approach we can ensure that the design and construction of a building envelope is a more robust process.
In addition, it can help drive more innovative designs and highlight potential issues at the earliest opportunity. Surely, we can all see the benefit in that.