Why early collaboration is critical for true industry transformation

24th January 2020

At Cleveland Bridge Group, we are firm believers in the value of project collaboration, particularly early collaboration, and its ability to enable true innovation.

The problem is that large construction contracts are very rarely taken up by just one company. Infrastructure projects, are often designed and constructed by multiple teams of companies, which makes it difficult for any one party to control all aspects of a project.

To deliver more efficient and cost-effective projects, the focus must be on improving the co-operation and working relationships between all parties from the outset.

Currently, tier 2 contractors, such as Cleveland Bridge Group, may supply an initial concept price to the contractor before detailed project designs have been drawn up. However, once the design is conceived and the construction and site requirements are tested, the design may change, which has a knock-on effect on the initial budget. This means the tier 2 contractor needs to go back and amend the scheme, costing precious time and money.

Chris Droogan, Managing Director at Cleveland Bridge, speaks to the value of changing this process, “If sub-contractors were to be included earlier in the design process, a more cost-effective and buildable solution could be delivered earlier in the tendering process. More certainty as to the price and design of a project would avoid costly back and forth interactions between the designers and sub-contractors at a critical stage in the proceedings. This increased collaboration streamlines the whole project, increasing buildability and cost-effectiveness”

However, moving towards this more collaborative approach will require a significant change across the industry. Typically, sub-contractors work to very specific contract terms and involving them in design sessions would require further negotiation, which clients may wish to avoid.

To remedy this, there has to be a move towards more partnering and alliance building between clients and sub-contractors for the long-term. Instead of short-term focus, these relationships need to be considered on a more sustainable long-term basis, allowing for more successful project collaborations in the future.

Cleveland Bridge Group’s own experience in fostering long-term relationships with clients has proven to be successful. We actively seek for our expertise as a sub-contractor to be brought onto a project at an earlier stage. Not only do these early collaborations improve the efficiency of the project, minimising and managing the amount of change during the planning stage, but they also establish mutual trust and respect with our clients with inherent contractual benefits for all parties.

Despite establishing these fruitful relationships, Cleveland Bridge Managing Director Chris Droogan, believes there is still room for improvement, “Early collaboration is our preferred method of working; however, it is largely dependent on the project and client’s appetite to engage in true collaboration. To reap these rewards on more contracts, we will certainly be looking to work collaboratively with a wider range of clients and their designers.”

For the entire industry, collaboration holds the key to true innovation – and Cleveland Bridge Group is working to lead the way.

Stay up to date with the latest from Cleveland Bridge