There are certain best practices which a client can introduce, most of them based on practicality and good management practice.
An intelligent customer who considers his options carefully and has an understanding of how his service provider can be motivated to deliver a high standard of performance is on the road to success. Those who simply demand results simply because they are the customer will put adversarial issues on the table before the project is started. In the case of engineering and construction projects the customer itself has to perform its side of the bargain and often overlooks this. In short, the process of procurement should be based on integrated collaboration and teamwork.
The client is well advised to,
- pro-actively manage the procurement process through a project sponsor,
- clarify its objectives throughout the process,
- brief its suppliers thoroughly and check that both parties always have the same understanding of what is required of them,
- continuously discuss and interrogate the works information (scope of work) with prospective tenderers and
- ensure that its own organisation (the ultimate user / operator) has “buy in” to the project and its deliverables.
Clients need to look beyond the idea that the lowest tender price is the only driving factor. They need to define value for money in place of lowest cost. Such value for money can be determined from an overall assessment of
- whole life cycle costs for the asset, not just short-term construction costs,
- quality weighed against price and
- overall costs – inclusive of interface management.
The techniques of partnering and benchmarking can be used as tools for value management, hence best practices
Project management is the management of change and although the newest of professions in the engineering and construction industry it has built up a considerable wealth of international experience. The lessons learned from mega projects can be applied by the general engineering and construction Client.
The client must
- manage the procurement process using the project management planning tools appropriate to his needs at Client level,
- recognise the pivotal role of the project manager as the sole route for communication between the Client’s project sponsor and the supply side engineering and construction teams,
- allocate risk in a manner which motivates the best performance from each party by allocating a risk to the party best able to manage the outcome should a risk event arise,
- reduce the incidence of change to the minimum or at least understand and quantify the effects of change before it is implemented and
- Apply an equitable process for the quantification of change.
These best practices will ensure a successful project.