Right Team, Right Culture

Having the right team in place with the right culture will have a significant bearing on your ability to derive as much value as possible from the construction process.

You should consider the following:

Ensure committed leadership

Successful projects are built by successful teams and it is essential that the Client constructs a strong team from the outset.  The size and complexity of the project will dictate the members required and the skills and specialisms that each need to bring to the team.
It is essential to create a great working environment within the team in order to achieve the best results for a project.

  • Good leadership by the Client from the outset together with a collaborative approach based on openness, honesty and transparency will encourage a strong and positive culture within the project team.
  • The energy of the team will need to be harnessed towards positive outcomes rather than being dissipated in conflict resolution which will cost time, money and erode relationships. Committed leadership from the client will ensure this happens and the team functions well.
  • A productive and positive culture needs to be established from the outset and will continue as new partners become involved in the team. This culture needs to cascade right through the supply chain to ensure that all feel valued members of the project team.  The benefits to the Client and the project outcomes in terms of real added value from creating the right culture cannot be overstressed.

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Choose the right people for the right team at the right time

You will need the right people in place to deliver a successful project. Some of these may be directly employed by the client. The services of others will need to be procured through carefully constructed selection processes based on the preferred procurement strategy (refer to “Procure Value”). Either way, bring people’s expertise in as soon as possible as the early stages are when greatest value will be embedded into the project.

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Identify clear roles and responsibilities

Unless the Client has already started to build the team at the concept stage consideration needs to be given to bringing different roles and responsibilities. The roles which follow will be relevant to one or more of the project stages and provide a guide only.

When scoping the project out and undertaking basic feasibility work:

  • A Project Manager.
  • A Construction Partner (as early as possible) to support the development of a best value design for the site.
  • A Designer to prepare a feasibility proposal (who may later become the planning designer).
  • A Cost Consultant to prepare an initial cost plan and risk register.
  • A CDM Coordinator to advise on Health and Safety matters.

As well as preparing a feasibility study including a cost plan the Team should also be strengthened in order to move towards a planning application.  The Client should consider appointing the following members to the team:

  • Construction Partner if not already appointed previously to review the feasibility design
  • A Project designer (which may be the initial designer, if suitable) to develop the planning drawings.
  • A Structural engineer to develop structural proposals eg superstructure, bridges, retaining walls.
  • Supply chain designers would be consulted regarding strategic principles necessary to allow planning drawings.
  • An Estimator/Quantity Surveyor/Engineer to cost the planning drawings, prior to submission and update the risk register, for presentation to the Cost Consultant.

Whilst waiting for Planning Approval (typically this could be in the region of 4 to 6 months or longer for complex applications) the Construction Partner will build up the team from supply chain partners and consultants to review the strategic design principles as follows:

  • A Structural engineer to review substructure.
  • A Superstructure engineer (may be a concrete, steel or timber frame specialist).
  • A Building services engineer(s), for above and below ground installations.
  • Specialist suppliers such as finishes, windows, doors, lifts, commercial kitchens, laundries etc.
  • An Interior designer, if required.
  • A Design Manager to co-ordinate this process.
  • An Environmental Manager may be required to conduct an initial assessment.

As the project progresses into the Design stage further consideration will need to be given to strengthening the team with new skills such as:

  • The Design Manager will coordinate this process and instruct specialist suppliers/designers.
  • The designers will prepare design risk assessments for inclusion in the CPHSP.
  • The Estimator will prepare a detailed cost analysis of the detail design and present this to the Client’s Cost Consultant, together with the updated risk register.
  • The Construction Manager will appoint the site team including supply chain partners
  • The Safety Manager will consider H&S issues
  • The CDM Coordinator will submit the F10 form to the HSE.

The Construction Partner commences on site and brings in the identified supply chain partners as the building progresses.

The following team members may participate in the Handover process:

  • The Site Team fully snag and desnag the works and present the building to the Client defect free.
  • The Client nominates his staff and management team for the handover process.
  • The Construction Director introduces the Customer Care Team.
  • The Construction Director ensures that the supply chain partners fully commission the building and it’s services, provide detailed O&M Manuals and all legal certification as required.
  • The Team trains the Client’s staff on the building use.
  • The staff are taken on a familiarisation tour of the building.

The following team members may participate in the occupancy process;

  • The Client’s team move into the building, assisted by the Customer Care Team.
  • The Construction Director nominates a team of his designers and managers to conduct the first post occupancy evaluation.
  • The whole team meet to review the project KPI’s and the POE presenting feedback to the design team for future improvement.
  • The Client discusses the next project to which the team will move on.

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Develop the team culture

The development of a strong and collaborative culture needs to be led by the Client from the outset. Project meetings should be professional but with an element of fun, with the energy being harnessed as the team works together to ensure a smooth project delivery.

A positive culture needs to be established at an early stage and then cascaded through the team and supply chain.  The benefits will become evident as the project evolves into it’s latter stages towards handover when the customer takes responsibility for the asset.

A good practical start to establishing this culture is to develop, agree and publish a Partnering Charter which will be endorsed by the whole team.  The Charter should start with a Project Team Mission Statement which sets out the strategy for the Partnership.  There should be a schedule of agreed principles and values which will underpin the team.  An example of a Project Charter can be viewed by following this link (link to Project Charter).

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Develop team skills

As the client builds the team it may be necessary to add new members, whether these be individuals or organisations and whether they be directly employed or selected as partners.  It is important to ensure that candidates possess the correct skills for the role both in terms of technical and personal attributes.  Personal “fit” within the team is essential to ensure success, whereas many technical aspects may be developed.

As the project team grows, it is essential that an induction process be followed.  Successful induction should mean that new members become productive earlier, fully understand the team goals and exactly what and how they are expected to contribute.

In developing team skills you should consider the following:

  1. Induction training for new members
  2. Technical skills
  3. Non technical skills

1. Implement an induction programme

An integrated induction programme should address new employees’ training and skills needs. A successful induction programme allows for employees’ becoming fully productive and reaching their highest potential quicker. Furthermore, a structured induction programme is proven to be highly engaging and motivational for both new and existing employees in terms of maintaining an integrated team.

A good induction programme contains the following elements:

  • Orientation (physical) – describing where the facilities are.
  • Orientation (organisational) – showing how the employee fits into the team and how their role fits with the organisation’s strategy and goals.
  • Health and safety information – a legal requirement.
  • Details of the organisation’s history, its products and services, its culture and values.
  • A clear outline of the job/role requirements together with an explanation of terms and conditions.

2. Develop technical skills

  • In what is a technical and highly regulated industry, clearly it is imperative that employees are suitably qualified to manage safe and professional working practices.
  • Professional membership to Chartered bodies should be advocated by employers as it offers relevant, job specific personal development to employees. Recognition as experts and professionals in their particular discipline portrays both the individual and the employer in a positive light to external stakeholders.

3. Develop non technical skills

  • Actively promote a collaborative working culture with internal and external stakeholders
  • Focus on core leadership and management skills such as:
    • Time management
    • Influencing and negotiation
    • Presentation skills
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Team building

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