Best Value: Construction Industry Must Take a “Whole Life” Approach
Best Value: Construction Industry Must Take a “Whole Life” Approach
- Jeanette MacIntyre
It is frequently referred to these days as “value engineering”, but the practice of cutting costs by removing perceived ‘expensive design features’ during the construction phase of a project has been an unfortunate reality within the industry for a long time.
I say “unfortunate” not because of the direct impact this has on companies like ours – though Indeglas has certainly at times been on the unfavourable end of value engineering – but because of the wider deleterious effect on society. In a cost-driven economy, it is too easy to overlook the long-term benefits that are sacrificed in favour of short-term savings.
What our industry sorely needs is a procurement model that focuses on the whole life of a building, rather than purely the cost to build. What are perceived as savings at the construction stage can end up being extremely costly to those who inherit the structure, and the organisations which will occupy it in the future.
I was recently making this point at the Scottish Parliament, where I had the opportunity to give evidence to the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee as part of its inquiry on the construction sector. Among the others giving evidence that day was Robin Crawford, chair of the Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction*.
It has been six years since his group issued its 2013 Procurement Review, in which it urged that greater emphasis be given to the “whole of life” cost of running, maintaining and repairing our schools, hospitals and other public buildings. “Sadly,” as Robin noted, it still “remains the case that lowest construction stage cost often wins.”
Short-termism has the potential to sway decision-making at various stages of the procurement, design and construction phases. Even after orders are placed with specialist subcontractors, significant amounts of omissions can feature with’ last in’ trades if former work-packages have been proven to go over budget.
Well specified internal glass screens facilitate maximum penetration of daylight to the very heart of a structure. I am passionate about the benefits of natural light and fresh air, benefits expounded as far back as the Victorian era. These beliefs are today backed up by scientific evidence which proves that contact with natural daylight improves both physical and mental health and supports human performance levels.
These factors are especially valid in healthcare facilities, where patients are attempting to recover and staff tend to work long shifts in buildings with deep floor plates. Higher levels of contact with natural daylight boosts human performance levels and can significantly reduce absences due to illness – a major long-term cost consideration over the lifetime of a care facility.
Indeglas provides a variety of glass screens systems to the educational sector, where we engage with architects and designers on the appropriate specification of glass within interactive learning spaces for primary up to university level. Our expertise in this field led to our appointment to design, supply and install the internal glass screens for the largest single educational building delivered in Scotland in 2017, the City of Glasgow City College.
To maximise the life cycle value of these high performance, multi-functional educational buildings requires a cultural change in the construction procurement process to focus on how a building will be used and the human activities, both subconscious and conscious, it requires to support. Some excellent examples of these values being prioritised from the procurement through design and construction phases can be found in the Maggie’s Centres network of cancer care facilities across Scotland.
Expert knowledge at the procurement stage in construction is essential. Procurers require to’ buy in’ to life cycle cost values and protect these interests throughout the design and construction phases, fostering trust between designers, main contractors and specialist service providers. They also need to own a proportionate amount of the risk and responsibility for a building’s construction and performance as a long term support mechanism for the core activities of the organisation they are building for.
*Full report has been published - "Under Construction: Building the future of the sector in Scotland" - Skip to pages 45 & 69 for Jeanette's input:
"What our industry sorely needs is a procurement model that focuses on the whole life of a building, rather than purely the cost to build. What are perceived as savings at the construction stage can end up being extremely costly to those who inherit the structure, and the organisations which will occupy it in the future."
The Herald SME Focus profiles Indeglas MD
Indeglas MD Jeanette MacIntyre was profiled in The Herald’s SME Focus feature.
Indeglas signs up to the Glass and Glazing Federation
Indeglas has been approved as full members of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).
Indeglas MD one of 130 Role Models at UKCW 2018
UK Construction Week (UKCW) 2018 will see the launch of its Role Models campaign and Indeglas MD Jeanette MacIntyre will be among 130 construction professionals supporting it.
Indeglas internal glazed screens at two prestige Edinburgh sites feature in RIAS award winning projects
Boroughmuir High School and St Cecilia's Hall both won recently at the RIAS awards.
And the OSCAR for interior glass solutions goes to…
Indeglas relies on OSCAR to grip, lift and precision-fit giant glass interior panels at University of Edinburgh’s DTI build
Challenges facing smooth project management
By Derek Johnston, Operations Director
Clear to see what makes Indeglas stand out
By Iain McAlpine, Commercial Director
Indeglas successfully completes interior glass installation at University of Edinburgh’s The Bayes Centre at Potterow
This brings recent contract awards to over £840k
A Solid 2019 performance in prospect for Indeglas as it logs four new high-profile projects adding £1.25m of order value
Indeglas, the Cumbernauld-based business recognised as a leading supplier of interior glass solutions, has started the new year with a healthy order book.
Past and present create legacy for the future
Three generations of carpentry & joinery apprentices are playing a key role in the construction of Forth Valley College’s new Falkirk Campus.
High-Profile Project Prompts Return of Key Skills to Construction Sector
After decades of travelling throughout the UK during his career in construction, Tom Russell had decided to give up the commute and hang up his hard hat, but then a prestigious project landed on his doorstep to lure him out of retirement.
It’s Not Just ‘The Right Thing To Do’ – It’s What’s Right for Our Business
When we heard about the Disability Confident scheme, it just made sense to sign up. As a place to work, Indeglas has always focused on creating an inclusive environment where everyone is treated equally. This allows employees to work to their fullest potential, which is what gets the best results for the business.
Indeglas Wins Vote of Confidence for its Commitment to Disabled Employment
Specialist construction contractor Indeglas has been recognised by the government’s Disability Confident scheme for its commitment to the recruitment and retention of disabled staff.
University of Strathclyde contract win marks launch of new maintenance service from specialist supplier Indeglas
Cumbernauld-based Indeglas has secured an on-going agreement to regularly inspect and maintain internal glazed screens within the University of Strathclyde’s Stenhouse, James Weir and Technology and Innovation Centre Buildings.
Back to Work Measures
Indeglas has undertaken a series of steps within the office to support social distancing and a safe return to work as soon as Government guidelines suggest it is safe to do so.
Indeglas completes £1.04m internal glass screens contract at Heathrow’s Segro Park for gourmet food provider Do & Co
Indeglas, recognised as a leading supplier of interior glass screen solutions, has completed a £1.04m contract for Do & Co, a global gourmet entertainment and airline catering company based at Heathrow’s Segro Park.
Natural daylight – prioritising core human health in the design of the built environment
Natural daylight, and the pivotal role it plays in promoting human health, wellbeing and productivity when designing our built environment is the subject of a new professional learning module approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).