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Construction News Awards finalists: Supply Chain Excellence

All the finalists in this category have shown a commitment to working with their supply chain, developing good working relationships to the benefit of everyone involved in a project.

Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK

BBCSUK is part of the Collaborative Procurement Working Group, established by the Highways Agency and its delivery partners on the National Major Projects Framework.

The approach has resulted in savings of £3.2m so far on spending of approximately £30m, with an average saving of 10 per cent on each package of work.

For example, BBCSUK worked closely with suppliers to secure 100 km of extra safety barriers at short notice, including working to create a new product that is expected to be available this year.

Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council’s Capital Works Framework encourages SMEs to bid for work by splitting work into lots and ensuring larger contractors bid for higher-value lots first.

It also encourages SMEs to be innovative and collaborative, forming consortia and combining resources to win work.

This has produced a procurement process that gives equal opportunity to all contractors, with the process used to enforce fair payment terms and deliver apprenticeships, employment and training.

In addition, a standardised form of enquiry document is used to reduce the time and cost of tendering.


As Europe’s largest infrastructure project, Crossrail has created thousands of opportunities for a wide range of businesses.

In particular, the company has worked hard to maximise the transparency of opportunities for SMEs, including arranging regular Meet the Contractor events to target diverse subcontractors and suppliers.

All appropriate opportunities are advertisied on Compete For, leading to a number of companies winning contracts they would not otherwise have been aware of – including, for example, £800,000 of work for a steelwork contractor from County Down.

Galliford Try

Galliford Try’s Optimum Schools approach involves the early collaboration of an integrated design team and supply chain, with a move towards standardisation.

This was demonstrated in the procurement of a new building at Hillview School for Girls in Kent. 

Suppliers were invited in early to discuss how their products and expertise could contribute, allowing a re-think of construction methodology and resulting in savings and efficiencies.

The school was delivered 30 per cent cheaper and 11 weeks faster than it would have been using traditional construction.

H5O – South West Water Delivery Alliance

South West Water’s AMP5 Delivery Alliance uses a ‘mixed economy’ approach, where specialist and local SMEs work alongside main partners to optimise delivery.

The alliance’s delivery entity, H5O, achieved industry-leading health and safety performance and outperformed the 20 per cent efficiency challenge set by Ofwat.

H5O partners are collectively incentivised to outperform SWW’s project budgets and the ‘mixed economy’ model results in 60 per cent of the programme being delivered by SMEs, most of which are based locally.

Supply Chain Management Group

The Supply Chain Management Group was established by Hackney Homes and Homes for Haringey in 2009 to make better use of skills and expertise in those organisations’ supply chains.

Main contractors use the group, utilising a common supply chain across all projects, at common costs and under common conditions and methodologies.

More than 100 suppliers and service providers are included in the supply chain list, with tier one contractors such as Balfour Beatty, Keepmoat, Lakehouse and Wates on board. Cost savings of up to 20 per cent have been achieved without eroding margins.

Supply Chain Sustainability School

The built environment contributes 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon footprint. To combat this, 13 competing contractors – Aggregate Industries, Balfour Beatty, Bam Construct UK, Carillion, ISG, Kier, Lend Lease, Morgan Sindall, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, Taylor Woodrow, Wates and Willmott Dixon – have come together to enhance the sustainability of their supply base.

Working together, these companies are using their combined spending power to stimulate the supply chain to embrace the sustainability agenda.

So far 4,100 professionals from 2,100 companies have become members of the school, and the model has drawn attention internationally and from other sectors.

More than 20 new clients and contractors are also promoting the school to their suppliers.

Thames Water Utilities

Thames Water’s eight2O alliance comprises Thames Water, main contractors and specialist contractors.

The largest alliance in the UK water industry, it commenced an 18-month pre-AMP6 early contractor involvement period, allowing a platform for alliance members to influence and validate the client’s plan, maximising value and deliverability.

It has successfully mitigated the cyclical dip in the supply chain between the five-year AMPs and has also resulted in faster payment terms.

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