Construction trade bodies call for 'whole-life value' procurement

8 June 2020

An engineering trade body has called on the construction sector to focus procurement on meeting targets in a holistic way in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a report The Association of Consulting Engineer (ACE) said a cultural shift was needed to deliver more sustainable outcomes for the industry.

Group chair for sustainability and lead author on the report Natalie Cropp said value needed to be considered in a holistic way by taking into account five different types of capital: human, social, manufactured and financial.

Cropp said the “five capitals” approach provided a clear framework on finding a common approach.

“We are a proposing an approach which indexes target and performance metrics for a project,” Cropp said.

“By normalising the different capital measures against a simple index scale of industry best practice, it is then possible to combine the different elements to assess overall performance.”

Hannah Vickers, chief executive of ACE, said: “Sustainability has never been higher up the political agenda.

“Ensuring we’re able to meet net zero expectations on infrastructure and construction will be crucial to making the most of any post-Covid recovery programme.”

She said it was vital to ensure that construction procurement processes rewards value creation.

Vickers said the application of the five capitals outlined in the report will make a “tangible difference to project outcomes”.

Meanwhile, the Construction Leadership Council has produced a Roadmap to Recovery, which includes focusing purchasing on “whole-life value, not lowest cost” and “collaborative procurement models”.

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