The contractor that set up its own university of construction, then used it to develop the skills and knowledge of the supply chain, took the award this year


Mace Business school

Controlling the quality of a supply chain has traditionally relied on a stringent selection procedure and careful on-site management. But according to ConstructionSkills, fewer than 38% of managers in the construction industry have received any kind of management training. Dissatisfied with the variability of this approach, Mace developed a unique solution: it founded the Mace Business School in 2006. This was intended to promote the formation of long-term partnerships with a select number of supply chain companies, to research risk and then to implement training to mitigate it. The courses are designed to ensure that managers fully understand industry best practice. They are attended by a mix of trades, and every person is encouraged to draw on their own individual experience. The partnerships formed and the knowledge gained through this system have had a positive impact on a number of Mace projects – in particular the £155m Ropemaker office for British Land. The key suppliers on this participated in Mace Business School’s workshops, and lessons learned were fed back into the process. The result was the cohesive delivery of a project that has broken ground for innovative procurement. Undoubtedly, Mace will reap the benefits of this institution for many projects to come.


Heathrow T4 extension: 3DReid, Buro Happold, Taylor Woodrow

No complex project can be completed successfully if the project team doesn’t gel. Of course, it can be completed unsuccessfully, but that’s another matter. If you would like some evidence to back up this claim, consider the Heathrow Terminal 4 extension. Not only were the team members able to reduce cost from more than £80m to £70m through value engineering, they also installed a unique blastproof facade, which makes this airport truly fit for the times we live in. This could all be achieved because the full project team was located in an open-plan office shared with the client, which allowed easy communication, fostered trust between the firms and meant critical decisions could be made without protracted discussion.

Olympic Delivery Authority

On 1 April 2006, the ODA was established and given responsibility for delivering the venues, infrastructure and services on a project of unprecedented scale. Although we will have to wait until 2012 to judge how well it has performed, work on the sports venues and their supporting infrastructure is already well under way and is constantly providing good news to an industry mired in the worst economic gloom in recent history. Even though the project involves the largest mobilisation of resources seen in peacetime Britain, it is half complete, and so far it is on time and to budget. This would not be possible without a committed supply chain fully in tune with the aims and aspirations of the ODA.

Project slam: Bovis Lend Lease

The largest contract procured to date under the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Estates contracting initiative, which aims to deliver better value through collaborative working, is Project SLAM – which will provide single-room accommodation for thousands of service personnel. Phase two is now under way, and is worth a total of £1.2bn over 10 years. To date, 13,740 beds have been made. The key to the success of this UK-wide contract has been the outstanding performance of the leading six supply chain members, which are setting new standards for safety, programme and performance. They deliver consistent standards, and demonstrate continuous improvement year on year.

Skanska custodial sector projects

Skanska UK has built £350m worth of custodial projects over the past 15 years. When it came to choosing a supply chain for them, it wanted to give SMEs a fair crack of the whip. More specifically, it wanted to ensure that more than 75% of firms involved employed fewer than 250 people and had a turnover of less than €40m (£32m). It aimed to do this through its close relationship with its partner Serco, with which it has delivered three prisons, one young offenders institute, one secure training centre and one immigration detention centre since 1994.

Turner & Townsend

T&T has been on the Office of Government Commerce’s project management and full design services framework continuously since 1997, and throughout this time has provided public sector clients with a single point of access to a comprehensive range of project and cost management, design and technical serves. It has also delivered, on time and to budget, 1,000 high-spec projects that ranged in value from 100,000 to £300m. It has been able to maintain this enviable position for so long because of its flexible approach to a wide range of project types, and its responsible attitude to work in which the public has a vested interest. It’s no wonder that when clients around the world look for a consistent standard of excellence, they so often think of this firm.