As equals around the table
The hierarchical model in the construction and installation sector is no longer tenable.
The hierarchical model in the construction and installation sector is no longer tenable. For sustainable construction or renovation, more custom work is necessary. It's more than about one ideal solution: it's about an appropriate combination of products and technologies. What conditions does this new chain partnership have to meet?
The traditional model of cooperation in the construction and installation sector is out of date. To keep inventing and applying new sustainable concepts, subcontractors need to be given an equal role that gives them scope to display initiative. Not the main contractor, but the entire team is responsible for the final product. But what conditions does this new chain partnership have to meet? Marc Kooij talks about the new form of cooperation.
One party is in control and the others follow. That's the traditional working model in the construction and installation sector. The main contractor thinks up the total concept, creates the design, sets out the lines and design lines, combines own services with sourced services and materials defined in advance and determines the final price. Subcontractors only deliver a small part of the total value and are only hired if they are needed.
Together? Yes please!
This hierarchical model is no longer tenable. ‘For sustainable construction or renovation, more custom work is necessary. It's more than about one ideal solution: it's about an appropriate combination of products and technologies.’ Supplied by many different companies, including start-ups. Technical expertise and innovative strength increasingly lie with those suppliers. Enabling them to contribute their know-how is thus becoming more and more important. A product that represents a small financial project value may well be crucial for the qualitative value. Furthermore, because of the high speed of innovation, developed concepts are not necessarily repeatable. For a new project, specialised know-how is therefore required to deliver the right solution.
All this means that a new form of cooperation is needed. In which the subcontractors are given more scope in projects. The project manager from the main contractor has insufficient knowledge to communicate all the complex material from all the areas involved to the client. Specialised partners are needed around the table to explain why something costs what it does, for example, how reliable these still unknown innovations are and what they will generate. Those partners must also be given scope to propose ideas themselves and contribute to solutions. The main contractor continues to manage the project and concept, but relies more heavily than previously on specialist partners - both for their innovative strength and for their sense of responsibility for the end product.
What is required for successful chain cooperation? Here are five conditions for good chain cooperation:
The right match
The parties join together in a strategic partnership for a specific project and share responsibility for a successful end product. Together they need to come up with a total solution and this requires a great deal of proactivity and innovation. So seek partners who not only have the right expertise, but also the right attitude. It may be necessary to find different partners for a new project. In today's turbulent market, we can no longer repeat old approaches.
Coordinated demands and expectations
There's a risk that we enthusiastically embark on the project before coming up against unclear expectations and unrealistic demands during the implementation. A small party that delivers a financially minor but technically crucial contribution, for example, cannot also be largely risk-bearing.
Scope for each partner to contribute ideas
Traditionally, the main contractor's project manager sets out all the lines while the others wait. But a unique solution may be found further up the chain and may be unknown to the main contractor. So encourage each other to be equals around the table and contribute ideas or ask critical questions. You can't always wait for each other.
Project manager as facilitator
The new way of working requires a different approach and more action from the partners. But for the main contractor, this is the biggest change. The project manager who previously allocated the tasks is now more of a facilitator who allows everyone in the chain to contribute and who monitors all the common interests.
Celebrate successes together and present yourselves as a team
Everyone in the chain is unique based on their own expertise. The sum of the parts determines the success. Parties are responsible for the product together. Celebrate the successes as a team. Also mention the unique contributions of partners in external communications. Speak in terms of 'we' and present yourselves as a team.
This blog was previously published on Duurzaam Gebouwd.