How can a project health check improve successful delivery?

How can a project health check improve successful delivery?

We understand your appetite to build relationships with key clients, win work and deliver successful, profitable projects. This can often be hindered by the availability of internal resource, lack of or limited technical experience or just the need for clear direction and motivation of the project teams. These challenges, if not proactively managed, have the potential to erode margin, sour relationships and cause conflict. 

Our project health check offers a proactive way to start a project with clear direction or, at key project intervals, it provides an opportunity to press the re-set button and define the priority actions ahead. 

An independent evaluation of projects

Cube’s bespoke approach is to focus on actionable solutions for construction projects. 

Our project health check is an independent assessment based on project needs, team strengths or limitations and senior management observations. 

With real-time, objective evaluation we review deliverables, procurement, project planning, process implementation and client communications. These elements provide the crucial information for an effective project start or a vital means to appraise its ongoing status. 

Phases of a project health check

1. The Listening Phase

Phase one is all about listening to the project team. 

We’ll listen, chat and work with a range of team members. The aim is to understand relationships, clarify roles and responsibilities and establish clear channels of communication amongst stakeholders, contractors and throughout the supply chain. 

Key questions answered:

  • Which team members are included in coordination events, meetings, inspections, client communications? 
  • How do the current relationships impact project performance and stakeholder relationships?
  • What are the lines of communications? 
  • What does the delivery team understand of the subcontractor’s scope of works, attendances and progress status?

2. The Evaluation Phase

Once we’ve established clear lines of communication and understood key relationships, we move into the evaluation phase. This involves several performance related stages which assess health and safety, quality, best practice, procurement processes and actual progress of works against agreed deliverables. 

This is not just about documentation, our approach is to get out on site, talk to managers, subcontractor supervisors and operatives to get their perspective of progress – challenges and success, to give us an independent snapshot of all factors contributing to the project. 

Key elements evaluated:

  • Health and Safety performance – Is statutory documentation being satisfactorily completed? Do subcontractor submissions reflect the site constraints, responsible parties and programme logic? Who is forward planning to manage the distribution of information?
  • Procurement – What is the status of secured procurement? What is the process for new procurement? Do the subcontractor start dates relate to the current programme? Are sufficient lead-in times allocated and identified? Does the procurement plan identify the subcontractor design responsibilities and coordination requirements? 
  • Programme and progress – Does the programme content reflect the actual scope of works? Is it logical? Is the recorded progress to date an accurate reflection of completed works on site? 
  • Design management – How are the design elements being managed? What process, controls and gateways are being applied to ensure successful and timely completion?
  • Applying best practice – Are the team conscious of operating best practice options to the management of the works and its interaction with stakeholders and community? How does the project represent the company’s image within the community? How are the team considering the quality of the workspace for all their colleagues on site?  
  • Performance against deliverables – How is the project team being supported to realise the technical, social or practical tender deliverables? Have the commitments made during the tender period been recognised? Has the pre-construction team communicated these clearly to the delivery team for implementation?  

If correctly implemented and communicated, these commitments provide evidence of contract compliance, offer performance data and can be referenced in future tender opportunities.

We want to provide a clear summary based on the  listening and evaluation phases. It’s this summary which will define and inform the recommendations

3. The Planning Phase

With all the relevant data gathered and an independent view of the project status and performance, we can combine everything to create a proactive action plan for the project team to implement. 

Key outcomes to support project delivery:

  • Summary of findings – We review the evaluations, prioritise the findings to define areas of performance that need redirection, clarity or further investigation. Our independent review is based on facts, not conjecture or feelings determined by any personal investment in the project. 
  • Recommendations – We provide a clear and concise record of recommendations evidenced against the report observations These are direct and specific to the project status and challenges and provide a clear objective structure for consideration by the project and senior management team. 

All recommendations are considered and provided within the context of project risk, resource availability and current roles and responsibilities. 

  • Forward looking action plan – We’ll then take the priority recommendations and formulate them into a cohesive plan with priority tasks allocated to those best placed for ownership. This plan is mindful of actual status – progress onsite, procurement to date, design completion status and existing roles and responsibilities. 

The objective is to reconcile those “actuals” with the project needs to find the most appropriate action plan for the project and the team. 

  • Project Team debrief – Once the plan has been established and shared, it’s time for a debrief. Cube attend a meeting with the team to discuss the content and consider the proposed solutions. 

We are focused on providing support, mentoring, and working knowledge to the project teams. The project debrief makes all the difference to the long-term outcomes of project redirection and successful completion. 

How can a project health check from Cube benefit you?

With our tailored support we empower your teams with increased capability and working knowledge. You’re provided with an independent project health check report.  It highlights what actions could be considered to address any challenges and secure your defined project outcomes.    

See for yourself how a project health check at an iconic visitor attraction helped ensure the project was developing as planned.

For more information about our project health check service, contact Mark or Nicola on 0115 7060338 or email us [email protected].

Cawarden crowned Contractor of the Year at the Bricks Awards

Cawarden crowned Contractor of the Year at the Bricks Awards

At the first post pandemic, face to face awards event on Thursday 30th September, property and construction professionals gathered at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground to recognise and celebrate those behind the changing landscape of our region and reward the very best companies, teams and individuals at the East Midlands Bricks Awards.

It was Cube Construction Consultants’ first time sponsoring the Contractor of the Year award and following the judging of a very competitive category, Cawarden were selected as the overall winner.

Nicola Slater, co-founder and director at Cube commented: “The Bricks Awards are an excellent opportunity to showcase the great work that building and construction firms are delivering across our region. For the Contractor of the Year category, Cawarden stood out as the Principle Contractor successfully delivering a complex and key demolition project in Derby to make way for a major regeneration scheme. It was a great event and fantastic to reconnect, face to face, with so many friends from within the industry.”

Cube Construction Consultants with Contractor of the Year Cawarden

Cube Construction Consultants with Contractor of the Year, Cawarden

Cawarden’s Managing Director, William Crooks, added: “After being named Contractor of the Year at the British Demolition Awards at the start of September, we were absolutely thrilled to win the same accolade from the East Midlands Bricks Awards. Well done to the Cawarden team for continuously going above and beyond and maintaining high standards for our valued clients. Congratulations must also go to all the other awards finalists and award winners on the night.”

With complementary skills covering construction expertise, strategic business growth, project partnerships and training and development, Cube solves problems and creates opportunities for its construction clients. Cube’s Project Health Check service offers an independent overview of live projects to proactively project manage risk and create an action plan to keep delivery and costs within agreed schedules.

For a full list of winners from the East Midlands Business Link Bricks Awards, visit: https://www.eastmidlandsbusinesslink.co.uk/mag/news/winners-revealed-the-east-midlands-bricks-awards-2021/

For more information about Cube Construction Consultants and the project health check service available to proactively review live projects to keep them on time and within budget, visit: www.cube-cc.co.uk.

The lowdown on levelling up

The lowdown on levelling up

At the November 2020 Spending Review, the government announced a Levelling Up Fund of £4.8 billion to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.

In a statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP said:

“Infrastructure improves everyday life. A new bridge or a bus lane makes the journeys of local people easier; town centre improvements help local businesses and cement pride in a place; and upgrades in local heritage sites strengthen the local economy and build civic identity.

 

These are things that people rely on every day in communities up and down the country – the infrastructure of everyday life. This is why I created the Levelling Up Fund.”

What is levelling up?

It aims to bring together the Department for Transport, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Treasury to invest £4.8 billion in high value local infrastructure to improve everyday life for people in the UK.

Open to every local area, it is especially intended to support investment in places where it can make the biggest difference, including ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and coastal communities.

“It is also designed to help local areas select genuine local priorities for investment by putting local stakeholder support, including the local MP, where they want to be involved, at the heart of its mission.

 

After such a challenging year, there has never been a better time to unite and level up the country. It’s absolutely crucial that we bring opportunity to every single part of the UK by making sure our spending, tax, investment and regeneration priorities bring about meaningful change.”

Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough and the Cabinet’s Levelling Up Adviser

What levelling up funding is available?

The Levelling Up Fund is open to all local areas in the UK but is focused on providing investment in areas which with the most significant indicators of need for economic recovery and growth, improved transport connectivity and regeneration.

In the first round of funding, where bids were due by June 2021, the Fund will prioritise projects able to demonstrate investment or “begin delivery on the ground” within the 2021-22 financial year.

The fund will focus initially on projects that require up to £20m in funding, though the UK Government has confirmed that there is scope to accept bids above £20m and below £50m for specific transport projects.

Individual or combined local authorities are able submit bids to invest in:

  • High impact, low carbon transport projects – such as new or existing cycling provision, enhanced public transport facilities, bus lanes or structural maintenance to local road networks like bridge repairs;
  • Regeneration of brownfield sites and improving town centres – such as regenerating leisure and retail sites, removing derelict buildings or improving public high streets parks, extending green spaces and reducing crime; or
  • Creating, maintaining or repurposing cultural assets – such as acquiring and refurbishing museums, galleries or visitor attractions or upgrading or creating new cultural and creative spaces including sports facilities, art venues, theatres and libraries.

What is different about the levelling up fund to other investment pots?

The aim of the Levelling Up Fund is to remove the silos between departments and make bidding for funding easier. The idea is that high priority local projects can be considered in their entirety, rather than taking a piecemeal approach to projects which traditionally have to fit certain funding pots.

What’s the key for levelling up success?

First round funding decisions are expected in Autumn 2021 and while the bid deadline has passed, there is still an opportunity for local authorities to make an impact during the bid assessment period from now until the Autumn.

In recent projects we’ve worked on with local authorities in bidding for high street regeneration and visitor economy investment, we’ve found time and again that wide stakeholder support is key to getting a truly holistic picture of the potential project.

We’ve actively engaged with the constituency members, local community groups, businesses, retail associations, community land trust organisations, community regeneration partners and local MPs. From this we have been able to gather information, coordinate a programme of events, consult with stakeholders on the production, exchange and review of build design, cost and land purchase information. By taking everyone along on the journey to realise the ultimate vision, we can demonstrate genuine community support for the proposed projects.

Need an extra pair of hands?

Cube Construction Consultants_Nicola Slater

Cube Construction Consultants, Nicola Slater

 

Would you like to take advantage of future funding opportunities, including bidding in subsequent rounds of the Levelling Up Fund? Why not contact us for a no obligation chat on 0115 7060338 or email us at [email protected] to see how we could provide relevant expertise and additional resources to your team.

Tendering Top Tips 5: Read. Review. Repeat.

Tendering Top Tips 5: Read. Review. Repeat.

When putting a tender submission together for any construction project, it is essential you evaluate the opportunity, get organised with your tender team and a develop plan of action and define who you are in order to sell yourself. The final thing…It is vital to constantly review. 

Half time review

Dont assume everything or everyone is on track and the deliverables are coming together as planned. It is essential that you benchmark your progress to date part way through, including enquiry returns, supporting documentation, programme restrictions and overall risk and opportunity of the tender opportunity. 

Ask yourself:

  • Do we require assistance in specific areas?
  • Are the questions posed in the tender actually being answered?
  • Does our supporting documentation need to better highlight our company expertise?
  • How are we clearly communicating risk and opportunity to the client?

Mid-tender interview

If you are presented with the opportunity of a mid-tender interview with the prospective client, then use it well.

Not only to ask questions about contradictory information but also to demonstrate your early grasp of the project. Use it cover off:

  • Client’s needs
  • Project Risks
  • Effects on others
  • Early proactive engagement of specialists 
  • Tendering resources and engagement of delivery team within the tender

In addition, use any appropriate opportunity available to talk to prospects and get a real insight to their specific needs. Being able to pre-empt and solve clients project pressures is a powerful tool.

Read, review and repeat 

It’s basic stuff, but a bid that contains spelling and grammatical mistakes, will present the client with an unprofessional impression. It’s vital to read the whole document to spot any errors or gaps.

All documents should be carefully checked before sending to the client:

  • Is the content referenced and structured as requested?
  • Do the answers specifically relate to the questions? Be objective.
  • Do the answers exceed word count limits?
  • Have you really been objective when reviewing against the client’s evaluation criteria?
  • Does the organisation chart match the CV structure?
  • Does the method statement reflect the proposed programme of works?

Contractors can also be penalised or disqualified if required information is missing from a tender submission.

Tender tip: When you’re at the stage where you think the tender is complete, stop working on it for a day or so. Return, read and review. 

Give yourselves time to review the completed document with a fresh pair of eyes. Like a good album, go through the full playlist from question one to the end. You should still have time to be objective and make minor amendments or see how the copy and presentation could be improved. 

To do this, you must plan. This is why making time for tendering is so important. This is good practice and helps avoid the usual last-minute rush. 

Always get feedback 

Whether youre successful or not, get feedback. These pointers can be vital for defining your approach to the next opportunity. 

Clients are usually happy to give feedback and can often be specific about how your bid was scored. Learn from this and use it to develop your tendering approach. You’ll quickly find that different clients look for different things.

Find out:

  • What made you stand out?
  • Which solutions provided added value to your client?
  • What could have been improved?

Dont forget… day to day live project feedback is critical. It feeds into your tendering case studies, testimonials and lessons learnt. This is gold dust! Capture your successes and have them ready for your next tender.

And remember…

You cannot win every tender. However, evaluating the right opportunities, taking time over tendering to deliver quality submissions and making the most of feedback will help you develop best practice in your tender process and increase your win rate. 

For more information on submitting winning construction tenders and improving your existing processes, read more blogs about our steps to successful tendering on our journal, contact us for a free consultation on 0115 7060338 or email us at [email protected].

Tendering Top Tips 4: Define who you are and sell yourself

Tendering Top Tips 4: Define who you are and sell yourself

Communicate your competency and the solutions you can offer. This has potential to open up future opportunities as well as the one you are going for. 

Follow the guidelines 

Tenders can be penalised or disqualified if they do not meet the specifications requested.

Different types of tender may require specific documentation to be submitted. 

Consider the tender assessment team and what they will be looking out for. They may have asked for the submission in a particular format because it then enables them to split it out and separate for review by different team members such as programme, cost plan, Health and Safety review and risk and opportunity.  Getting this wrong or going your own way with the presentation of the bid information will only frustrate the assessment team. Not a great idea!

Define your branding and content delivery 

By creating a well-designed, organised and compliant tender response you will draw the client’s attention to your message over and above other less interesting/practical documents. 

Formatting is an opportunity maker or breaker, so:

  • Check and double check that your formatting is correct and in line with the tender documents, referencing, order, type and number of copies, word count, appendices and delivery method.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of consistent branding including font, colours and written tone of voice. These are essential in promoting your business and reassuring the client that your company is the right choice. 

Clearly conveying professionalism and competence is everything when building relationships with client teams. 

Sell yourself! 

Winning tenders can be really simple but you have to remember you are selling. You need to sell your company and its services or products.

Large tenders however can be very complex and often overwhelming. Dont get to the point where they feel more like a burden, an administrative task. It is a required part of the sales process.

Draw on all your relevant experience

So many times tender submissions don’t explain how good a company is. 

As a tendering contractor, you must show how good your solutions are and how they would benefit the end customer. This directly links to your investment in the tendering process. 

Take the time to create a library of good examples of your previous projects, successfully delivered to use as evidence of your capability:

  • List out your successfully completed projects 
  • Brush up your case studies. Identify the most relevant ones and match the tone required to boost your submission
  • Highlight your testimonials and good client references
  • Showcase any award wins and nominations or other accolades
  • Include CCS reports
  • Add a gallery of before, during and after photos
  • Submit fully completed site audits, project reports, risk assessments, method statements, training examples and Toolbox Talks

Having a ready made pool of previous work examples will make your tenders stronger and help support future opportunities.

What are your next steps? 

Take a look at our journal for more tips on successful tendering or call us on 0115 7060338 for a chat about how we can help you improve your success rate when tendering for new construction projects. 

 

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