‘Paradigm shift’ in construction collaboration sought

Polypipe – the manufacturer of ‘sustainable drainage and water management solutions’ – says it is proud to be one of the founding members of the C3 Alliance, a group of manufacturers, contractors, and developers, who aim to boost productivity and value on construction projects through early collaboration.

‘By bringing all those involved in a building together on day one’, C3 hopes to influence design and procurement decisions ‘to create schemes that deliver higher returns on investment and better outcomes for those using the buildings’.

“The C3 Alliance is championing one of our main goals: to be involved much earlier in the process so we can contribute to true value engineering,” said Steve Durdant-Hollamby, Divisional managing director, Polypipe Civils & Infrastructure. “Value engineering should not be about cutting cost in a project’s latter stages; it should be about delivering more with less through bringing together competent people early enough.”

Polypipe says the way surface water is managed, collected and – where possible – re-used, ‘can have a huge impact, not only on construction costs and sequencing, but on the way a development is configured’. It said: “By having experts on hand to help explore what is technically possible, developers and designers can optimise the way a building is configured and constructed. For instance, substituting a green and blue roof for an underground water attenuation tank could free up more space for development, improve biodiversity, and enhance wellbeing.”

C3 Alliance – so called because the alliance that focuses on ‘Construction, Choice and Collaboration’ – was officially launched last September at the Mittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park. Mark Farmer, author of The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model, aka Modernise or Die; was among the speakers. One key conclusion in what Polypipe dubs Mark |Farmer’s ‘damning 2016 analysis of the UK construction’s labour model’ was that the industry should adopt ‘a more collaborative, assembly-led approach’ to constructing buildings.

The report concluded that ‘traditional, lowest-price-wins procurement models’ lead to ‘wasteful redesign, interface issues, and re-work, as elements of a building are specified, substituted, and defined in an ad hoc, piecemeal fashion as a project advances’. Component-based design – in contrast – ‘removes these inefficiencies’, as well as ‘sitting far more comfortably in a BIM or digital construction environment, because a development’s actual components can be plugged into the model from day one’.