The Construction Playbook has been roundly welcomed by the UK construction sector and recognised as an opportunity to transform the industry.
It is designed to eliminate the “race to the bottom culture” of lowest bid wins identified in the post-Grenfell Hackitt Report, setting out key policies for the public sector to achieve a collaborative approach to procurement with a focus on whole life cost, productivity and modern methods of construction (MMC).
The Playbook is a powerful framework for change and supports recovery from COVID 19. It is mandatory for all central government and arm’s length businesses, setting the benchmark for the Prime Minister’s promise to “build, build, build” with £37 billion of social and economic contracts in the next year.
The focus on value is music to the ears of an industry that has struggled with poor productivity and low margins for decades. A mandate for the increased use of MMC will improve efficiency and certainly meet the “build back greener faster” ambitions.
A huge amount of collaborative work has gone into developing the Playbook, but the real challenge is in implementation. The term ‘playbook’ comes from the world of sport and any coach will tell you that even the best playbook strategies are meaningless unless properly executed on the field of play.
The proof in this pudding comes down to implementation. It will require training for many public procurement professionals, underscored by a strong communications campaign from Government.
We’ve been here a few times before over the years. The Construction Sector Deal was announced in 2018 but there has been little data available since then to measure its success. The Playbook puts MMC at the heart of the new drive for value. In 2017 the Government announced the presumption of offsite across five departments but very few projects were delivered using those methods. The slow uptake was attributed to a lack of understanding by public sector procurement teams.
Mandating a methodology is one thing, delivering the desired outcomes is quite another but the Cabinet Office has pledged to monitor the implementation of the new policies to achieve success.
The Construction Playbook is a potential game-changer that will transform buildings in the UK if rolled out effectively. As always, actions will speak loudest in making it successful.