Project 13 aims to improve the delivery of infrastructure projects


A new initiative to improve the way infrastructure projects are built has been officially launched which stresses the role of the project owner rather than the construciton client.

Called Project 13, the scheme has been designed by the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

It is intended to deliver better outcomes for the public and customers of infrastructure, a more skilled and innovative workforce and lead to a more productive and sustainable construction industry.

The approach stresses the role of the project owner rather than the construction client as having a vital role in setting up a project.

The initiative has been structured by three levels of maturity, enabling clients and their suppliers to map out a progressive move towards greater integration. 

Four organisations have also been announced as early adopters of Project 13, and will form a Project 13 implementation group to share experiences of the new principles.

The early adopters are Anglian Water’s Capital Delivery Alliances, the Environment Agency’s Next Generation Supplier Arrangements, Heathrow Airport’s expansion project, and National Grid’s London Power Tunnels project.

Speaking at the launch event at ICE’s headquarters in Westminster, Robert Jenrick, exchequer secretary to the Treasury said: “We are investing record amounts in infrastructure to help boost our national productivity and build an economy fit for the future. 

“But we are clear that we need to get the most out of every penny of taxpayers money we spend, and the construction industry has to do more to close its own productivity gap if we are to succeed.”

Nick Baveystock, ICE director general, said: “Developed between industry, clients and government over a number of years, Project 13 places customers at the heart of our national infrastructure programme, focussing on the social and economic value infrastructure can provide over the long-term.

“We look to government to continue to support a solution developed by and with the industry with all the potential benefits for the public and the taxpayer. This is a win-win. We should just ask ourselves why we wouldn’t want to use Project 13 principles to deliver better value.”

Project 13 is sponsored by the ICG with support from ICE, and is aligned with current UK government and industry initiatives to improve infrastructure performance.

Summary of the Project 13 initiative

FeatureComponent partsRelevance for construction supply chain


Owner’s definition of value to be delivered by the investment

Long-term relationships between owner, integrator and other members of the programme team

Performance measurement to back-up the long-term relationship

Based on a whole-life approach and long-term investment horizons

Long-term relationship is backed up by improved performance and greater transparency

KPIs support improved performance or remedial action


Coalitions of suppliers ready to be engaged as part of the project team

Aligned commercial arrangements based on commitments on both sides

Need for basic organisation within the collaborative team (eg communications and controls)

Competitive bidding is not used so need to find other ways of identifying and sharing savings

Implies a significant shift away from adversarial contractual behaviours

Spend-to-save initiatives will need to be aligned with partner business systems


Teamwork facilitated by the new leadership role of integrator

Improved programme management to eliminate waste and drive production efficiency

Increased standards of health, safety and wellbeing in line with the performance of modern enterprises

Opportunities for many organisations to undertake integrator role 

Relies on management of manufacture and logistics as well as traditional site activities

Challenges the fragmented employment and training practices adopted by industry

Capable owner

The owner is central to the success of the delivery of programmes

Owner role is focused on programme outcomes and stakeholders – not just project issues

Six capabilities identified that will need support through training and education 

Places the client at the centre of the creation of a successful programme team

Should challenge the project team to concentrate on the bigger picture

Owner is a developing capability so will need support from the team

Digital transformation

Needs to be focused on digital business models as well as technologies

Dealing with full asset cycle – not just BIM

Will disrupt current ways of working


Solutions will be driven by user needs rather than by the team’s technologies Digital transformation will involve a much wider range of suppliers

Members of programme teams will need to disrupt themselves