The m&e industry has significantly reduced its involvement in integrated working over the last year it has been claimed.
Speaking at the H&V News conference on Collaborative Working Rudi Klein, chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group, said use of collaboration had been on the slide since the beginning of 2005.
“I’m not sure what’s going on,” Mr Klein told delegates. “But when you consider the value of the m&e sector this is quite shocking.”
He said that use of the working practice began to fall in 2005 and hit a plateau in the middle of 2006 where it had stayed until now.
This also contrasted strongly with the trend among main contractors, consultants and product manufacturers, who had increasingly used integrated working methods since 2005.
Mr Klein said the move by the m&e sector was a great shame particularly in the light of Sir John Egan’s report, published in 2002, that aimed to ensure half of all construction projects used integrated teams by 2007.
However, it appears that many of the contracts used on government contracts contain a large number of onerous terms and conditions such as retentions and liquidated damages.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of mutuality in some ‘partnering’ contracts. The risk is still flowing down to the sub-contractors.”
Other research also revealed that some simply regarded partnering as a way increasing their buying power and exercising more control over suppliers.
To counteract this Mr Klein urged government to get tougher on its construction contracts, particularly by making funding conditional on public projects using true partnering arrangements.
He also urged wider uptake on project insurance and the use of partnering/project bank accounts.