The highlights of the 2016 NEC Users’ Group Annual Seminar

HS2 Commercial Director Beth West calls on industry to prioritise collaboration and ‘incentivise supply-chain success’ at NEC Users’ Group Annual Seminar.

The highlight of the 2016 NEC User
The highlight of the 2016 NEC User's Group Annual Seminar.
Beth West, NEC UG Chair and Commercial Director for the HS2
Beth West, NEC UG Chair and Commercial Director for the HS2

'Success must cascade down' the UK's invaluable and innovative supply chain with all project partners better incentivised to deliver 'shared objectives', Beth West, Commercial Director of HS2, told this year's NEC Users' Group Seminar on Wednesday.

In her first keynote speech to more than 240 NEC contract users at the Institution of Civil Engineers' One Great George Street headquarters in London, new NEC Users group Chair Beth called for a widespread cultural change to contractual structures and a greater emphasis on 'shared success'.

She said that better collaboration and project outcomes can be realised, and risk more fairly shared, when contracts intrinsically link all contractors to 'specific and strategic objectives', not only the isolated delivery of their service discipline.

Beth West commented: "There is so much more we can do. I know of examples of people putting the contract on the shelf once procured. That fills me with horror. We must select contractors on their ability to deliver the project's strategic objectives, not services alone."

She continued: "So many elements of UK Construction are delivered by sub-contractors, many of whom do get squeezed in fixed price contracts.

"We must ensure success cascades down and that full project collaboration is incentivised. We need to share success at a time when we are, as an industry, desperately short of resources."

The importance of better project collaboration, facilitated by contractual 'alliances' of project partners of all tiers which tie all parties to the overall goals of the project, would see more project delivered on time and on budget, the seminar heard.

Beth West's key note speech was followed by Infrastructure Client Group Alliance of Practice and NEC by Keith Waller, Senior Advisor at HM Treasury and Peter Higgins, NEC Consultant. Andrew Milner, advisory partner at KPMG, then delivered Using NEC for Infrastructure and Construction.

The speaker panel agreed that it is time the fragmented industry focused on developing 'long term partnerships' and that contractors must prove they 'trust the supply chain' through effective collaboration.

The NEC Users' Group seminar, which also included a series of interactive workshops, panel sessions and networking opportunities, is the highlight of the NEC calendar and an essential diary date for members and non-members who use, or have an interest in NEC3 and its developments.

As interest in and uptake of NEC products and services continues to grow year on year, the event also offered attendees an invaluable opportunities for industry professionals to gain insight into how NEC3 is being used to invest in infrastructure both across the UK and internationally.

NEC Large Project of the Year winner: Kennedy Town Swimming Pool
NEC Large Project of the Year winner: Kennedy Town Swimming Pool

The audience heard from the teams behind some the world's most exciting infrastructure projects utilising NEC. Ken Owen, commercial director of Hinkley Point Centre discusses NEC Contract Management on the EDF power station. Stanley Lo of Paul Y Construction and Stephen Hamill, project manager at MTR Corporation delivered an in-depth presentation of the Kennedy Town Swimming Pool.

Later in the evening, the Hong Kong-based Kennedy Town project was crowned NEC Large Project of the Year at the very popular NEC Users' Group Awards, established to recognise and celebrate the world's finest examples of NEC3 contract collaborations. The winning submissions will be championed globally as the pinnacle of contract collaboration.

This and the full list of winning submissions see below, will now be championed globally as the pinnacle of contract collaboration.

Rekha Thawrani, general manager for NEC: "We're thrilled with the overwhelming success of this year's seminar and the NEC Users' Group Awards.

"Once again, this sell-out event was a wonderful engaging mix of insightful presentations, interactive workshops, panel discussion and excellent networking opportunities for attending delegates.

"We'd like to say a huge thank you to all our speakers and attendees who continue to make this event a staple of the industry calendar."

NEC Awards Winners

NEC Large Project of the Year

Kennedy Town Swimming Pool

Judges comments: A joint office, regular team training sessions, lesson-learnt workshops as well as partnering activities promoted close working relationship and effective communication which led to successful trust building and a "No blame" culture was fostered to encourage team members to express their views unreservedly to enable early identification and resolution of potential issues.

NEC Small Project of the Year

Beanfield & Gretton Primary School

Judges comments: Good collaborative management of risk, change and contract administration was used to keep the project on track. Plenty of evidence of the spirit of clause 10.1 in practice.

NEC Client of the Year

Drainage Services Department

Judges comments: DSD continues to play a leading role in the use of NEC3 contracts in HK. On this occasion introducing NEC3 in a new market (Electrical and Mechanical works) and helping with the education and training of the Contractors. DSD are commended for taking steps towards "market management" ahead of launching NEC3 tenders.

NEC Contractor of the Year

Graham Construction

Judges comments: Good evidence of a collaborative approach taken generally by this Contractor, providing value solutions to the Client. Graham demonstrates a good range of clause 10.1 techniques in this case study. Shared learning, standardisation and collaboration workshops are all strong features.

Read more about these projects and companies as well as the full list of highly commended awardees.