Stimulating integration of supply-chains will boost efficiency

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Encouraging supply-chain integration — Prof. Rudi Klein at a recent industry summit.
The early involvement of specialist contractors at design stage is the only way the building-services industry will deliver great efficiency on construction projects. That was the message from a one-day summit at Wembley to highlight the concerns of the £19.3 billion building-services industry. Over a hundred M&E contractors heard the experiences of main contractors, including Shepherd Construction and M&E contractor Balfour Kilpatrick. Chairing the event, Prof. Rudi Klein, chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group, said that the Government should be taking the lead as the industry’s biggest client to encourage full supply-chain integration. ‘He said, ‘There’s a lack of teamwork, especially at the design stage of the project. Only by insisting on the early involvement of the entire supply chain can you get everyone to take collective ownership of the design, cost and risk. ‘Too often, the design is left to the consultants, with no input from the M&E contractor. They’re a critical part of the team, especially when you consider almost half of the budget of any building relates to building-services installations.’ Prof Klein added, ‘Every Government client should have to demonstrate a clear commitment to engaging the supply chain before works commence, otherwise they don’t get the cash for the project. We need a stick to get things moving.’ Delivering a keynote speech, Sir Michael Latham echoed Prof. Klein’s comments. ‘This industry used to spend up to seven times as much on litigation, lawyers and making claims as it did on research and development — and still spends too much. Why? Because there’s an inherent lack of supply-chain integration, which creates the blame culture. Progress is being made, but there is far more to be done if we’re going to meet future targets. The summit was organised by tools and fastening manufacturer Hilti with the electrical Contractors’’ Association and the Heating & Ventilating Contractors’ Association.



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