School building project – partnering for success
Armstrong Downes and the Ministry of Education took a fresh approach to working together to build new classrooms at a Wellington school.
Phil: How do you do. I'm Phil Hebden, I am the commercial manager at Armstrong Downes Commercial.
William: And I'm William Whewell. I'm with the Ministry of Education in their Capital Works Division and I'm a senior delivery manager.
Phil: Some of the biggest issues facing construction firms in the procurement of government projects is that the race to the bottom is forcing the lowest price always to win out and when this is coupled with the unfair passage of risk through complex construction contracts, it is putting the contractor into a position where he does not really want to work for that employer.
William: I think the Construction Sector Accord is something that we've needed for a good number of years. One of its big advantages is that it's just introducing the two parties to the contract in a way that brings the relationship closer together from the very beginning and those sort of relationships are the key to the whole process.
William: I'm thankful that we Armstrong Downes on the Karori West Normal School job because they have shown by their actions on the job that they're walking the talk around the Accord that we would have liked from any contractor.
Phil: We've been hugely appreciative of the wager and the procurement process, the approach to the management of risk was taken by the Ministry [of Education]. It was like a breath of fresh air to be honest. We'd never encountered it before in any tender process with it with any government department and in my opinion I see the Ministry [of Education] is actually a few months ahead of other government departments.
William: The project exemplifies the Accord principles largely because, from the very beginning of the project, we've been in conversation with the contractor here and the two of us have had a level of trust which has allowed us to distil all the information before we got underway. That's allowed the project to proceed in a very efficient manner which is best for both parties.