There are certain best practices which a Client can introduce, most of them based on practicality and good management practices.
Management, first and foremost for Best Practices
An intelligent Client who considers the available options carefully, and has an understanding of how service providers can be motivated to deliver a high standard of performance, is on the road to success. Those who simply demand results because they are the Client immediately create adversarial issues before the project has even started. In the case of engineering and construction projects, the Client has to perform what is expected on their side of the bargain and this is often overlooked. 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 the objectives throughout the process
- Brief their suppliers thoroughly, and check that both parties always have the same understanding of what is required and expected of them within the agreed timeframe
- Continuously discuss and interrogate the works information (scope of work) with prospective tenderers (look for innovation, better delivery, etc.)
- Ensure that their 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
- Overall costs (inclusive of interface management)
- Environmental / social considerations
The techniques of partnering and benchmarking can be used as tools for value management.
The benefits of proper Project Management
Project management is the management of change, and although the newest of professions in the engineering and construction industry, has built up a considerable wealth of international experience. The lessons learned from megaprojects 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 the needs at the Client-level
- Recognise the pivotal role of the Project Manager as the sole route for communication between the project sponsor and 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 implementation
- Apply an equitable process for the quantification of change
- 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.