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Public sector should follow Olympic model say MPs

The All Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has set out a 13-point plan to promote value for money in public sector construction projects.

The recommendations are based around the London 2012 procurement protocols used by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to bring the London Olympics in on time and under budget. The report, A better deal for public building, also supports the government’s stated aim of delivering a 20% reduction in the cost of public development projects and the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) on public projects.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • More time and resource given to developing the project brief
  • Public bodies to follow the new British Standard BS8534 – Construction Procurement Policies, Strategies and Procedures
  • The government should set up a Best Practice Procurement Advisory Group to help inexperienced public sector bodies through the procurement process
  • Team selection to be made not on the basis of lowest price but on the basis of a balanced scorecard (i.e, marking the bid against specified criteria, of which sustainability should be one)
  • Projects to be procured on the basis of integrated teams with the ability of teams to work together as one of the selection criteria within a balanced scorecard
  • Large-scale public projects (more than £100m in value) should have mandatory construction commitments, based on the London 2012 construction commitments, on which they would be required to report over the duration of the project. Government should also encourage the adoption of these commitments across a wide range of public and private projects.
  • Buildings and infrastructure should be procured on the basis of both capital and operating costs

Sir Tony Baldry MP, chairman of the All Party Group highlighted the fact that a cultural change is required by public sector clients. By drawing heavily on many of the “highly successful” procurement practices from London 2012 in its 13-point plan, the All Party Group hopes to promote a lasting and sustainable improvement in the way in which public sector projects are procured and developed.

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To find out more about public sector projects contact Daniel Webb, director at Watts Group PLC, 020 7280 8078.

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.