In an increasingly competitive industry, clients are looking for contractors that can offer the simplest but often most comprehensive solution to their problems – not an additional problem to manage.
Large or complicated projects can often involve a significant number of different contractors, subcontractors and labourers from across the UK.
By approaching a project as a complete service, bookending it with inspections of the existing assets, project plans and a complete project handover document, contractors can minimise complications and clients can rest easy knowing that any problems that may arise will be dealt with efficiently, by one cohesive team.
When completing major projects that have a lot of press surrounding them, such as the Olympic Park rejuvenation, extra costs, long delays and poor implementation can negatively impact the end result, despite the great work that has taken place.
Streamlining the supply chain is a key tactic for improving the working process and delivery of complex projects
We have entered into a phase within the construction industry where many contractors are expected to provide a lot more than just a labour resource for clients, and the market is sufficiently competitive enough that clients can demand extra.
Contractors need to think about offering a wider remit of complementary services, to make life easier for clients and offer increased efficiencies for projects and not just cost benefits.
Clients will obviously expect a contractor to deliver the welding services to a high standard, for example, but when a supplier can also provide additional services such as inspections of the existing asset, a health and safety certified system of work, full supervision, management and inspection of the project and complete handover documentation, the contractor starts to operate on an entirely different level.
It takes away much of the interface for the client and allows them to hand over management and in some aspects, responsibility, for delivery and compliance
I urge other businesses within the industry to apply this contractor/client model to all aspects of a project – from steel erection to lifting operations, and strengthening, to name just a few.
Clients will see a more streamlined communication channel, and can often gain full accreditation for aspects of a project in a more efficient manner, without even having to consider some of the challenges, working with a contractor who is prepared to offer a fully managed service.
We, as an industry, run the risk of consistently over-complicating projects that are already challenging in a recovering, but understandably still nervous economy, that is suffering a skill shortage.
The economy relies in part on the construction industry for a boost and we need to come up with innovative methods that improve efficiency and increase profit, otherwise we risk entering another economic crisis.
Richard Selby is director of Pro Steel Engineering