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Project 13: A new beginning for infrastructure models

Miles Ashley

There’s a change in the air for the engineering sector.

This month has seen the launch of Project 13, as the sector encourages industry and government alike to start thinking in a new way about how we work together to build infrastructure. 

Led by the Infrastructure Client Group and the Institution of Civil Engineers, Project 13 is an industry-led change programme aimed at improving infrastructure delivery models for clients, suppliers, operators and user.

Over the past 12 months, the industry has been working together to develop this new collaborative enterprise business model, derived from existing examples of best practice. With this month’s launch, the programme is moving from the design to the implementation stage.

Smoother journeys

Project 13 is not just a change in thinking; it’s a shift in how we operate at every level of business. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the journey should now be much smoother thanks to the suite of tools that have been created, which are available on the Project 13 website.

These include the Blueprint, which sets out the key principles of the Project 13 model, and the Commercial Handbook, which details a practical approach to creating the right commercial environment.

There is also the Maturity Matrix, which allows project partners to assess themselves and identify opportunities for improvement, to be used in conjunction with the Transformation Roadmap, which contains guidance materials and case studies to support business development.

“It is fantastic to have both public and private sector organisations involved at such a crucial stage”

Project 13 is also developing a series of training and accreditation programmes. These will be available for those wanting an enhanced knowledge of the programme’s principles and how to apply them, or for those who are taking on leadership roles within their own organisations to drive forward these changes.

Big-name early adopters

The initiative has secured a number of early adopter organisations that have agreed to start implementing Project 13 principles in new or ongoing programmes.

These include Anglian Water’s Capital Delivery Alliances, the Environment Agency’s Next Generation Supplier Arrangements, Heathrow’s expansion, and National Grid’s London Power Tunnels project.

It is fantastic to have both public and private sector organisations involved at such a crucial stage. Their feedback will prove invaluable as they share experiences and learnings, highlighting tangible benefits that can be realised and practical improvements to the programme.

Speaking at the launch of Project 13, Robert Jenrick MP lauded the industry’s ambition to build a more sustainable commercial model that helps us perform to our maximum capability.

Project 13 is huge piece of work, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of it come to life over the coming months. If you want to get involved or to find out more, visit

Miles Ashley is director at Wessex Advisory and Heather Cox is an engineer in nuclear chemistry at Rolls-Royce. They are leading Project 13’s implementation workstreams for the executive group and future leaders, respectively

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