After a challenging year for construction projects, collaboration can create success in 2021

Here at ProQS, we really do want to wish our quantity surveying customers a safe and happy Christmas break and a successful and profitable New Year.

2020 has been a really tough time for managing contracts and projects in the face of work being postponed, disrupted or cancelled and clients facing increased costs to safely meet the social distancing requirements of the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact has resonated across sites and supply chains.

We’ve advised and supported clients to be more practical and pragmatic than ever and, above all, we’ve focused on how we can help them to work more collaboratively with project teams.

While we’ve all been getting to grips with collaborating over video conferencing technology, speedy and transparent discourse has never been more important to progress projects safely. This helps to ensure safe social distancing on sites and keeps projects on track when Covid constraints have led to delays and cost overruns.

Often contracts have required re-negotiation to address these time and cost impacts and we’ve encouraged clients to have an open-book approach where possible.

The more information they can provide to unravel the impact of Covid-19, including a breakdown of additional labour costs, materials and storage costs and fees, the more they can avoid disputes and delays over invoice payments. That allows them to fully focus on working around the constraints.

We’ve had clients working on sites with smaller footprints where – on the face of it – there was space to continue working in a socially-distanced way. But there wasn’t sufficient space in welfare units, from toilets and showers to canteens and locker rooms. This meant staggering which contractors were on site at any one time and had a significant knock-on effect on timelines and costs.

ProQS has worked with clients to help them coordinate projects and manage cost changes constructively in the face of this continuing uncertainty.

Those who have adapted well to new ways of working, proactively negotiating new terms and finalising accounts, will be on the front foot when new contracts are being awarded.

The prospects for the next year look promising – the new vaccine will gradually be rolled out and the Government is committed to major road, rail and infrastructure projects to get the economy back on track.

However, we do need to be prepared to carry on under Covid constraints for at least another six months. Here are our top lessons from 2020 which, we believe, will help to ensure success in 2021:

  • Be collaborative to find the best solutions
  • Be more transparent – demonstrate detailed time and cost impacts of Covid-19
  • Be prepared and constructive in finding ways to overcome challenges
  • Be practical and pragmatic when managing projects

We’ve tried to provide our customers with helpful insights throughout the year in our monthly blogs. As you plan for next year, here’s our favourites which you might like to re-read:

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to call us for RICS-regulated quantity surveying expertise on 01206 654003 or email: info@proqs.co.uk.