Collaborative working offers major benefits for the construction industry but is still only working in part.
According to Rod Pettigrew, head of legal and commercial affairs at the HVCA, the industry was moving in and out of partnering arrangements, but despite this many were uncertain about what it actually was while few were using it consistently.
“If applied it’s clear it offers real advantages over a traditional approach,” Mr Pettigrew said at the H&V News conference Effective Collaborative Working for the Building Services Industry.
“However, there are different types of collaborative approach – can you adopt a standard model? No. Chief executives have found that one size doesn’t fit all.”
He added that many beneath the main contractor level felt there was an attempt to use collaborative working simply to sub-ordinate them into a master slave relationship.
“We need to see improved processes throughout the industry. We need to get into a position where partners procure as equals, as teams.
“We also need clients to see the need to move towards collaborative working with trust and faith – you can’t bring old baggage into this. However, cultural inerta is still around and it’s a powerful force.”
Despite the problems, Mr Pettigrew felt that the drive towards sustainability would provide a powerful incentive to promote collaboration.
Traditional ways of procurement often resulted in considerable waste, and this would become increasingly unacceptable in the future.