The Repairs And Maintenance Sector Of The Industry Construction Essay

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The UK Construction Industry is renowned for being slow and often reluctant to adopt new ideas. This has subsequently caused it to under achieve and become less competitive, both at home and abroad. Therefore, due to the significance of the industry upon our national economy, both in terms of GDP and the numbers employed, consecutive Governments have felt it necessary to commission a number of reports in an attempt to identify the problems within the industry and resolve them.

In 1944 the Simons Report 'The Placing and Management of Building Contracts' was published. This report was undertaken by the Central Council for Works and Buildings and chaired by Sir Earnest Simon. This was followed in 1964 by the Banwell Report chaired by Sir Harold Banwell, on the Placing and Management of Contracts for Building and Civil Engineering Works. These reports expressed concern regarding the failure of the industry and its professionals to think and act together. These documents also suggested that a closer relationship between client and contractor was required to solve the separation of design from construction problems. However, although many concurred with Simon and Banwell's recommendations, few efforts were made with regard to the implementation of their recommendations.

In 1993, the Construction Industry Board was commissioned by the Government to revisit these problems by implementing a review of procurement and contractual arrangements within the UK Construction Industry. The review was undertaken and chaired by Sir Michael Latham who in July 1994 published his report 'Constructing the Team'.

Following the publication of Sir Michael Latham's report, the government set up the Review Implementation Forum (RIF) to:

Establish Working Groups and Task Forces to implement the Latham recommendations

To canvas views from all sectors of the construction industry on the possible proposals

Make recommendations as to what body should replace the RIF

(Hall 1998)

Within his report Latham made some thirty recommendations, from which the Review Implementation Forum later identified fifty-three tasks that were expected to radically change the culture and practices of the construction industry.

In October 1994 twelve working groups were established to implement Latham's recommendations and the RIF was subsequently replaced by the Construction Industry Board (CIB). Its task was to oversee the operations of each of these groups in addition to being the forum for good practice within the construction industry.

Proceeding the publication of the review, which addressed, amongst other things, the adversarial nature of the construction industry, the government implemented the contractual recommendations of the Latham Report and so in 1996 the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act, also referred to as the 'Construction Act', was born.

Although many of the problems within the Construction Industry were identified and indeed acted upon by the Government, they were not fully accepted by the industry itself. The unwillingness to adopt change unless forced to through government legislation required a fresh approach to this problem. So in July 1998 Sir John Egan was commissioned by the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR) to produce a report, which was to consider the scope for improvement, quality and efficiency of the UK Construction Industry.

Egan's report entitled 'Rethinking Construction' (1998) highlighted amongst other things that Clients are at the core of any process and that they had become dissatisfied with the level of service provided by the industry, both in the private and public sector with regard to the level of pricing and cost certainty in addition to the quality of the product.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this dissertation is to produce a well-balanced critique, identifying the need for change within the construction industry, and reviewing Latham and Egan's recommendation that Partnering is a better value and less and adversarial approach to construction. This dissertation will also be reviewing and analysing the long and short-term effects of both traditional procurement methods and Partnering within social housing, with special attention being given to the area of repairs and maintenance day-to-day repairs. In addition, it will ascertain the potential further implementation of Partnering as a Procurement method and review the extent to which it is likely to achieve.

The dissertation intends to bring Latham and Egan's recommendation and the findings to a sample of the Construction Industry, in order to ascertain their views on Partnering opposed to more traditional procurement methods, and the likely potential of further implementation within the industry, therefore evaluating the extent to which Partnering is likely to achieve and be accepted by the industry as a whole.

The goals and objectives of this dissertation are to evaluate the Construction Industry and its inherent problems, thereby identifying the need for change. The implementation, its effect and impact of change will then be assessed. The dissertation also intends to ascertain and measure the industry's response to change. This response will be evaluated, to identify the impact of Latham and Egan's recommendations, which is primarily the test of the hypothesis, as significant implementation of the recommendations from within the industry would naturally prove 'Partnering' a success. Finally, a conclusion will be drawn from the content of the study.

1.3 Dissertation Hypothesis

'Partnering will revolutionise value and performance in the Social Housing Sector'

1.4 Research Methodology

Chapter 1: This chapter includes a background setting to study, the hypothesis, and the aims and objectives of the dissertation, whilst identifying the research methodology and stating any limitations or constraints on the study, hence setting the dissertation parameters. The background to the Construction Industry as detailed in chapter 1: Indicates the failings within the industry and emphasis the general dissatisfaction among Clients, in addition to the industry's reluctance to change.

Chapter 2: This chapter includes an insight into the Construction Industry, identifying the areas causing dissatisfaction to Clients and inhibiting the healthy growth of the industry. It is intended that this chapter will also identify best value and the scope for Partnering. Chapter 3: This chapter is intended to provide a detailed insight into traditional procurement methods within the social housing sector, and highlighting its advantages and disadvantages. It will further explore its contractual control and the problems surrounding its implementation. Chapter 4: includes a detailed insight into Strategic Partnering within the social housing sector and its advantages and disadvantages. It will further explore its lack of contractual control and the problems surrounding its implementation.

Chapter 5: This chapter includes all testing methods for the hypothesis. It is intended that questionnaires, interviews and surveys carried out on a selection of clients, consultants and contractors will ascertain the effectiveness of current traditional methods of procurement in contrast to the implementation of Strategic Partnering as a method of procuring future employment.

Chapter 6: This chapter includes all results gathered from the previous chapters, and will evaluate and analyse the data to ascertain the Construction Industry's response to change. Chapter 7: This chapter includes conclusions drawn from the study as well as summarising the degree to which the 'hypothesis' and 'aims and objectives' have been tested and fulfilled. Any recommendations that might be drawn from the industry's response will also be included.

The Appendices section will include any relevant material that supports, or is referred to in the study. All quotations and citations will be documented in the references and all material researched to cover the study shall be categorically listed in the Bibliography.

The dissertation will utilise whatever resources are deemed necessary to critically evaluate and test the Hypothesis. The Study will include literature reviews including periodicals & journals, and electronic data, such as the Internet. Questionnaires will be forwarded a to sample of clients, consultants, and contractors via mail, e-mail, etc.

1.5 Limitations and Constraints of the Study

Since Sir John Egan and The Construction Task Force's Report 'Rethinking Construction' was only published in July 1998, the implementation of Partnering will be limited. The Industry sample itself has limitations as few Local Authorities and Contractors have implemented Partnering within Social Sector. However, 'Partnering' is concerned with improving the scope of quality and efficiency to the Client, therefore the interviews carried out on Clients' is a test of their general satisfaction and the suitability of Partnering as an alternative procurement method.