Construction News 25 June 2019

Keeping clients at the heart of collaboration

By Stephanie Bocking

At Downing Construction, we are passionate about placing clients at the heart of our work. We find that the richest and most impactful projects are delivered through close collaboration with the end-user and the best results are achieved when a common vision is set.

As a main contractor, we understand our responsibility to champion the collaborative process through every level of the supply chain. Effective and open conversations between all parties involved is essential and it’s in the interests of everyone involved to collaborate and ensure that mutual priorities are shared by all teams working together.

Creating distinct lines of communication from the get-go and establishing the protocols for sharing information is important and allows you to form a transparent and honest conversation with the client.

Close communication across the supply chain helps to improve the pace of decision making and, crucially, can highlight any discrepancies in the construction process before they happen.

Creating a trusting relationship that is both sustainable and creative will benefit both parties and from our experience, this approach sets the course for a positive, enduring relationships with several clients.

One example of a successful client-contractor collaboration is Downing Construction’s work with Leeds Beckett University, where we are currently on site delivering their new £80 million Creative Arts building, based in the heart of the Innovation District.

It will be home to the university’s School of Film, Music & Performing Arts, and its fashion department. Specialist facilities will include a performance theatre and 220-seat Dolby Atmos movie cinema, as well as studios for fashion, music, film and television.

This latest project is being delivered as part of our decade-long relationship with Leeds Beckett, which includes our work on the flagship, multi-award winning Broadcasting Place development in 2009, with student accommodation and teaching space.

Advances in technology have also made it easier and more practical to introduce collaboration into every day industry practices, bringing with them increased productivity, better collaboration and helping projects to complete on time and under budget.

Today, project management systems can be updated in real time and are ensuring even better communication flow. Technological developments such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Augmented Reality (AR) are transforming how we approach projects. For example, any changes to the BIM model occur in real time and are instantly communicated to all team members. This ensures everyone is working with the most up-to-date information at all times.

Embracing a more collaborative culture will deliver massive benefits for the perception of the construction industry as a whole. By adopting a more open and honest approach to communication across our sector, we can hope to see greater profitability, longevity and sustained client relationships that will allow our industry to continue to flourish.

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