Review reveals more 'consistency' needed in Scottish construction procurement

25 October 2012

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25 October | Anna Reynolds

The review into the £2 billion spend on Scottish public construction contracts is in its early stages but so far late payments to suppliers and ‘ready made’ supply chains are emerging as some of the key problem areas.

KPMG non-executive director Robin Crawford and Ken Lewandowski, former chairman of the Clydesdale Bank Financial Solution Centres in Glasgow, who have been appointed to lead the review, said to SM: “What we are seeing in the industry is that there are some organised centres of excellence but not a lot of consistency. We need to make this uniform across the sector.

“There is scope for the construction industry to draw on experiences from the UK and emerging technologies, including business information modelling.”

Some of the main areas that are emerging are issues surrounding ready-made supply chains, payment delays causing problems for sub contractors and suppliers and the overall cost of procurement being disproportionate to the size of the project, particularly in small contracts.

Other areas the review will focus on will be in manufacturing supply chains to assess whether systems to drive zero defects are being adopted. Lewandowski is looking particularly at standardisation of construction projects to find out what extent this can be applied to schools or affordable housing to drive efficiency.

Lewandowski said: “There are different factors to consider such as energy efficiency, longevity, maintenance and the cost of ownership. Basically it needs to work for the end user so we want the user to be involved as much as possible in the procurement process.”

Crawford and Lewandowski are working with an internal review team made up of civil servants to look at the processes used by construction companies in projects where government money is being used. The review team said that support for the investigation has received wide spread support across the industry, particularly from SMEs who feel excluded from tendering.

A consultative group has been set up including 15-20 representatives from public and private sector bodies who will meet for the first time in January 2013 with a report scheduled to be released in the summer.

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