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The Construction Playbook: what it is and why it matters


Melissa Zanocco, Head of Programmes, Project 13, discusses the importance of the alignment between the Construction Playbook and the Project 13 Principles to the transformation of the industry.

Project 13 welcomes the publication of the Construction Playbook, which aims to embed a new approach to the procurement and delivery of construction projects and programmes.

As well as aligning with the overall Project 13 approach, the Project 13 principles are recommended in several places. The Playbook contains 14 main policy changes to drive the government’s agenda of "better, faster and greener delivery", including:

  • Incentivising the industry to innovate by setting clear and appropriate outcome-based contract specifications, rather than defining upfront how infrastructure should be delivered
  • Developing a consistent and mutually beneficial relationship with industry, moving away from a confrontational approach towards stronger relationship and contract management that will deliver continuous improvement over time
  • Further embedding digital technologies to standardise the approach to generating and classifying data, data security and data exchange, and to support the adoption of the Information Management Framework and the creation of the National Digital Twin
  • Better benchmarking to understand the whole life cost, value of a project and get an estimate range of what projects should cost
  • Better allocation of risk between the sector and public buyers to mitigate risk being inappropriately managed or passed down the supply chain

Based on the Outsourcing Playbook, the Construction Playbook has been developed over several months with industry and government collaborating through weekly workshops with Dale Evans, chair of Project 13.

Implementation

Project 13 is part of the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) programme and is therefore a key vehicle for achieving the objectives of the Construction Leadership Council's Infrastructure Industry Working Group, led by the ICG. The group is governed by a programme group that includes senior representation from the Construction Playbook and so Project 13 will continue to play an active role in the extensive implementation plan.

The Playbook is mandatory for all central government and arm’s length bodies (such as Highways England or Network Rail). It will be rolled out on a 'comply or explain' basis, with a Cabinet Office team monitoring and guiding implementation. It is therefore a significant step for Project 13’s aim of transforming the industry.

Dale Evans, chair of Project 13, said: "The Construction Playbook is a really important step that provides clear and progressive direction on how government wants to work with construction. Project 13 is highly aligned with the principles set out in the Playbook and we look forward to supporting the next phase."

Nirmal Kotecha, chair of the ICG management board and CLC task force member, said of its focus on an outcome-based approach:
"Defining clear outcomes from infrastructure investment is going to become a key competence for clients in future and this will form the basis for driving significant change in the way we procure and commercially incentivise organisations through the value chain to ensure they are fully aligned in the pursuit of the desired outcomes."

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