Sep 05 2014

National Grid deal reinforces CONJECT’s success in infrastructure

Electricity Grid

Earlier this week we announced that National Grid plc has selected CONJECT to administer construction contracts supporting a UK wide framework of gas & electricity projects.

National Grid has joined a group of customers who use CONJECT to plan, build and operate infrastructure and utility assets in the UK, across Europe and in North America and Asia-Pacific. These include amongst others: Connect Plus, the consortium who manage and deliver upgrade projects on the M25 motorway, Transport for Greater Manchester, and Atlanta Gas.

With confidence returning to the UK economy owner/operators continue to invest in the upgrade, expansion and refurbishment of their built asset portfolios to ensure that UK Infrastructure is ready to meet future demands.

However, delivering and managing large-scale capital investment programmes is a risky business. Like all other businesses there is never enough money to go around, so keeping a tight control over outsourced activities, in a heavily contractualised industry, can make a big difference.

For infrastructure owner/operators, two important factors stand out:

Ensuring reporting is accurate, timely and up to date

Monthly progress reporting typically involves the gathering and consolidation of data across multiple spreadsheets and systems from various delivery partners and suppliers. Prior to using Project Control by CONJECT, Connect Plus experienced a number of challenges in determining an accurate position across their work streams. Their Commercial Manager Simon Wilkinson explained:

“Data collection was via a combination of spreadsheets and emails. We spent a great deal of time dealing with clerical errors and mismatched data. We had two people spending several days each month re-keying data and re checking spreadsheets to ensure there were no mistakes.”

Accurate, timely and consistent real-time reporting is an essential requirement to ensure effective project management. If a structured system is put in place, all project stakeholders can comply with the reporting timescales and format. As a result of better quality data, the commercial teams have greater visibility on the potential impact of change on a project or programme basis, helping to improve business intelligence to make better decisions.

This approach applies whether the requirement is to develop new assets or to maintain / enhance existing assets.  In both cases there is a fundamental need for accurate progress information to support high quality decision-making.

Effective managements of contracts with delivery partners?

Capital investment programmes, whether for new build or asset improvement can be led under different contract types, including. NEC3, JCT, FIDIC & EPC.  Often these contracts are highly prescriptive, guiding behaviour and often mandating tightly structured communications procedures.  Even on a medium investment programme the volume of contract communications can be overwhelming.  If not managed effectively lack of contract compliance often leads to an increase in risk, potentially causing project delays and increased costs. Administering and managing these communications, in detailed compliance with the contract, can become very resource intensive.

This administrative/management workload can be alleviated by using a contract management application, such as provided by CONJECT, where the exact terms of the contract are codified within a series of integrated workflows. All project stakeholders can work together online, with the confidence that they will be working in accordance with the specified contract.

In addition to reducing the risk of delay, substantial savings can be achieved by reducing the resource needed in each contracting party.

If you would like to find out more about CONJECT’s experience and expertise in the infrastructure sector please contact Michael Bull on 01483 712620.

Alternatively read one of our infrastructure related case studies by clicking on the links below:

Atlanta Gas deliver their largest ever infrastructure project on-time,& in-budget

Online project control on a small civil engineering scheme

Cambridgeshire Highways drives NEC contract success

Connect Plus – keeping the M25 fit for traffic

Managing a local authority multi-project programme

The Clarkson Alliance – London Borough of Hounslow



About the author

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper is Managing Director of Conject Ltd. He has spent over 25 years within the construction and engineering software markets, successfully running sales and marketing teams. He spent a number of years at SAP within their E&C practice, set up and managed a distribution channel in Asia Pacific for a division of Misys and ran a sales and marketing team within CSB COINS. In 2000 he gained an MBA from Henley Management College.

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