Trust and Productivity: The Private Sector Construction Playbook

Andrew Browne

G&T partner and board member, Andrew Browne, represents G&T on the Construction Productivity Taskforce's, Private Sector Construction Playbook’s working group alongside organisations including GPE, British Land, Landsec, Lendlease and many more.

The new Playbook encourages clients and their construction and design teams to work in a more collaborative way to boost productivity, quality and value and in doing so reduce carbon emissions and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of the work force. It is an essential guide for the industry, with advice on how to tackle increasing skills shortages, use resources more effectively and invest in sustainable infrastructure that meets net zero carbon commitments.

In this interview Andrew explains the background to the project, why it’s important to the industry, what it’s like to work on a 'Playbook' project and what we can expect to see from the future of this Taskforce...

Why is productivity important to the UK construction industry?

"Based on statistics, UK construction has lagged behind other industries when it comes to productivity. This has been said to be for a variety of reasons including a lack of openness and transparency as well as failure to invest in innovation.

When we were first discussing the Playbook and what we hoped to achieve from its publication, we asked ourselves hard questions about these challenges and what we could do better."

"We agreed that for true innovation, productivity is one of the key issues that needs to be unlocked. We need to have the opportunity to deliver projects faster, safer and more effectively, helping the industry find the room to innovate and grow."

How is this challenge related to the Private Sector Construction Playbook?

"The Playbook is an output from the Construction Productivity Taskforce. The Construction Productivity Taskforce was initially created by Be the Business, a charity that aims to boost productivity by sharing expertise from leading industry sources that have taken the important step of agreeing to share key data.

The Taskforce recognised that there was an industry issue with productivity and began creating a measurement framework, to identify how productivity can be measured and improvements can be made throughout a project lifecycle. During this process advice and guidance on best practice and insights into how to build productivity gains into project delivery plans naturally developed.

The Taskforce set up a working group to focus on delivering a guidebook of these learnings. The working group came together and identified barriers to increased productivity within the industry - transparency, fairness and the ways we can build more trust within project teams was a theme that came up time and time again.

That’s really where we came up with the name for the publication: Trust and Productivity: The Private Sector Construction Playbook."

What was your involvement with the Playbook?

"I became involved with the Taskforce through the Playbook working group, offering a commercial perspective and insights gained from our experience of working within different project environments over the years. The Playbook’s scope was to help identify key guidance for how projects can be set-up, procured and delivered with a view to a more productive and healthy future for the industry.

Our working group took inspiration from the UK Government’s ‘Public Sector Construction Playbook’, bringing together experts to share their insights and experiences from a cross section of industry."

Why is this publication different from others we may have seen?

"It’s difficult to say what the difference is right now but we have now included this document within contracts since its inception, which is an encouraging and important step. However, we developed this publication as a guidebook - a breathing handbook for the industry to take hold of and use within their daily project discussions.

As a group we want to ensure it’s used as a living document which will evolve as the industry does. We believe it advocates practical scenario-based examples and learnings from the projects we've included within its pages."

"We hope to look back in five years and see a legacy of ‘Playbook’ projects, breaking down barriers to greater innovation, collaboration and transparency across the industry."

What are the key takeaways from the Playbook the industry should be aware of?

"Transparency, fairness and collaboration are all key themes within the Playbook.

It’s built on the belief that setting up a project in the right way from the start sets the foundation for success. This sounds simple, but in the most positive experiences I’ve had, this has been the key ingredient and we kept coming back to this point during our discussions when drafting the playbook."

What are the drivers for success identified in the playbook?

"The key drivers for success include - forming successful partnerships, benchmarking objectives, adopting longer-term contracting, allocating risk fairly and paying fairly, adopting an outcome-based approach, embedding digital information and technology, assessing suppliers' economic and financial standing as well as involving the supply chain early.

These drivers, coupled with the promotion of innovation and continuous improvement will be the foundation for any project to achieve productivity gains."

Have you implemented the principles from the playbook on any of your projects?

"Yes, since the release of the Playbook we've incorporated its principles into the contract of two key projects to date – 2 Aldermanbury Square and Minerva House for GPE."

Andrew Browne
“The best projects I’ve worked on are when we’ve been involved with creating the positive culture right from the outset.”

Andrew Browne

G&T Board Partner and Private Sector Playbook Representative

How would you describe your experience of these projects?

"The experience so far has been very positive. Only time will tell, but as we encourage use of the Playbook across more projects, we hope we can keep driving these principles forward."

What do you think is next for the Private Sector Playbook and Construction Productivity Taskforce?

"It’s important that we continue to spread the word about the work that the Productivity Taskforce is doing for our industry. The working group is looking to engage with the RICS and training providers to embed the principles of the Playbook at student level and over the next few years create a legacy of ‘Playbook Projects’ that encourage increased innovation across the sector."

If you want to find out more or read the full Private Sector Construction Playbook, download it here.

Want to make your project a 'Playbook' project? Get in touch with Andrew today.

We're proud to continue to work alongside our Playbook industry colleagues:

Alan Bunting – British Land, Andrew Browne - G&T, Anthony Chudleigh - British Land, Brian Morrisroe – Morrisroe, Denise Chevin – Independent, Josh Randall – Lendlease, Lee Donnarumma – Sir Robert McAlpine, Marissa Stenning – Alinea, Mark Lacey – Alinea, Martin Quinn – GPE, Neil Pennell – Landsec, Nick Smith – Lendlease, Paul Spiller – Sir Robert McAlpine