ICE Launch Project 13 Working Groups


On Tuesday the 19th September the Institution of Civil Engineers launched the Project 13 working groups. Infrastructure Intelligence reports on the next stage of the journey towards a new delivery model in Infrastructure.

Leaders call industry to arms on enterprise culture as Project 13 launches

The Infrastructure Client Group's Project 13 has been launched by ICE, inviting wider industry participation six months from the implementation of a new business model for project delivery.

Jon Masters

18 September 2017

Infrastructure clients and leading suppliers have been frustrated by the industry's flatlining productivity and performance for some time – for at least the past 20 years. Now the Institution of Civil Engineers' influential Infrastructure Client Group has launched what it hopes will become a productive initiative for bringing a better business model for project delivery.

Project 13 has taken its name purely by being the ICG's thirteenth project. Launched for the group by ICE today, so far it represents about three years' work gathering thoughts on a project delivery blueprint based on an enterprise relationship between clients and suppliers that maximises performance, instead of the conventional transactional deals that transfer risk.

Leading figures from the Infrastructure Projects Authority, Network Rail, Anglian Water, National Grid and others know where they want industry to get to, but they need the rest of the sector to help them get there. At the Project 13 launch the ICG has invited the wider infrastructure community to get involved in shaping this work. In March 2018 the project will move to the implementation phase, aiming to help clients and suppliers to move to wider use of the new delivery model with advisory support, tools, guidance and peer review.

There is wide ranging support across the profession, with a diversity of voices from business speaking up for the initiative.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “Our industry is often criticised for low productivity and concentrating too much on margins. Project 13 is the industry’s attempt to address these issues. The initial thinking has been done, derived by practitioners and clients, and now is the time to take this forward. Today is a call for others to join the community and help shape future business models. We can only make the bold move towards higher productivity, sustainable skills and long term, value driven enterprises with the active and continued support of the profession and its people.”

KPMG head of infrastructure, Richard Threlfall, said "Project 13 is a concerted effort to transform the UK construction industry. It requires us to change how we think and act, and crucially how we work together. It won't be easy but the prize is a world-class industry and better outcomes for our society."

Dale Evans, Anglian Water's @onealliance managing director said: “The traditional transactional and disaggregated approach to procurement has not only failed for deliver the levels of improvement seen in other sectors, in an increasingly digitally enabled world are not fit for purpose. Project 13 has clearly demonstrated that we must make the shift to delivering through integrated, collaborative and highly aligned enterprises.”

Mace CEO, Mark Reynolds, added: "We all know the problems faced by the construction industry: lacklustre productivity, unsustainable margins and a skills shortage which is set to get worse. Project 13 is an absolutely critical part of solving these issues, it looks to bring together the industry and asset owners, in a new way of working that focus on outcomes and becoming a high performing single enterprise."

The key points:

  • ICE has been actively working with all parts of the profession to better understand what works, and what doesn’t, in the industry’s business model.

  • Research suggests that low margins and investment, coupled with low levels of innovation, have a negative impact on both private and public works.

  • One of the biggest drivers is the need for water, transport and energy providers to perform better. Customers demand more, from lower prices to better service and infrastructure.

  • There is compelling evidence that ‘digital transformation’ will help organisations and the wider industry to grow and improve.

  • The construction industry’s productivity level has been consistently low at around 8% for decades. Without improvement it will be impossible to deliver the step change in asset performance that is now required.

  • Project 13 outlines a new approach to delivering high performing infrastructure, through a different business model for client and supply chain relationships.

  • Drawing heavily on the experience of regulated utilities in delivering both projects and programmes, the Project 13 model aims to turn a series of disparate relationships between owners and suppliers into long term, value driven, enterprises.

  • Such enterprises are much more effective in bringing through the skills and technologies needed to provide the right infrastructure and the right outcomes for customers

The Infrastructure Client Group's membership includes representatives from the Infrastructure Projects Authority, the Cabinet Office, ICE and industry clients including Network rail, Thames Tideway, Transport for London, the Environment Agency, Heathrow Airport, Anglian Water, National Grid, UK Power Networks and Highways England.


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