Oldcastle Building Solutions won the 2017 Best Construction Blog competition for good reason: It is well-designed, with solid content and frequent relevant updates. And the quality remains as good now as it was this time last year.
Consider, for example, the top three posts (at time of writing this review). Building Solutions Construction Data and Trends provides Oldcastle’s own research; and Canadian Outlook and Construction Forecasts for 2018 touches close to my Canadian heart (and location). The third post: Construction Safety – A closer look at overconfidence in equipment addresses an obviously important issue.
But the post a little further down in the hierarchy caught my attention because of its relevance and importance both to the industry and Oldcastle’s own interests: An Introduction to Early Supplier Involvement (ESI) in the Construction Industry.
In simple terms, this is setting “a mechanism for involving preferred suppliers in the early phases of project design and development.”
Clearly, Oldcastle would like to be the preferred supplier but the key here is that the company outlines both the challenges and advantages of ESI in the design process. Notably, it is relatively hard to do in traditional fixed price contracts, where innovation can be a challenge in the risk-management process.
Procurement processes vary in construction and some, more than others, encourage innovation.
Among others, traditional lump sum (fixed price), design-build, design-bid-build, project management, full cost reimbursement, build, Public-Private Partnerships (P3), own-operate, and transfer are all types of procurement processes.
The traditional lump sum method may be the least conducive to innovation. Of course, one of the greatest challenges in bringing innovation to construction is the potential risk in doing so. Relationship management, the collaborative approach to solutions and partnering to share risk, seems to be the best way to integrate change into project delivery.
ESI implies the establishment of cross-functional project teams composed of buyer and supplier’s members. Also, the existence of long-term relationship between buyer and supplier is considered as a key prerequisite for successful ESI.
The post goes on to describe how ESI can be practical in helping with design choices for commercial projects, and more importantly, as outlined below, for infrastructure work:
During a typical infrastructure project, the supplier can bring in many solutions specific to each project phase. These can include:
- Suggesting unique materials and products early-on during conceptual stages
- During the project pursuit stages, providing optimal means and methods such as types of materials, new and improved safety systems, or coordinated delivery schedules
- Supporting sustainable solutions
- Assisting with specification writing and performance criteria
- Recommending trusted and capable subcontractors, including disadvantaged subcontractors
- Supplying budgetary pricing and value engineering ideas
- Reducing unforeseen material escalation risks by strategic planning
- Coordinating consistent material delivery
There’s a link to a landing page where owners and contractors interested in following up with Oldcastle’s sales staff can start the ESI relationship-building process.
What I like about this post and others similar to it is the effective combination of providing practical and insightful information, and a real-time connection to the company’s business development process. That’s an ideal framework for an effective blog, in my opinion.
You can vote for Oldcastle or other blogs of your choice here until March 31.