The Road to Recovery – 10 tips for getting back on track

Rick Gray
As the world starts to adjust post-lockdown, clients, developers and contractors will be seeking ways to recover their programmes and fulfil, as much as possible, their original commitments. What are the options, and how effectively could these get us back on track? We’re having constructive dialogue on this subject and here are ten thoughts on how to approach the road to recovery.
  1. Accept the delay – We all usually resist delays, doing everything we can to avoid them. But this delay is beyond everyone’s control and should therefore be managed in a fair and reasonable way. Don’t demand the impossible—clients and their representatives have a social responsibility here, to support businesses and individual well-being.
  2. Accelerate – Is acceleration really a realistic option? If site restrictions and distancing measures are with us for a prolonged period, then increasing resources, opening extra workfaces and increasing shift patterns may not work. Calculate the cost of the delay, versus the increased labour premium, to determine what’s possible. Acceleration doesn’t always mean ‘work faster’. There may be opportunities for parallel working, where no interface or interaction is required.
  3. Revisit the original scope – Does the scope still stack up, does it reflect what you now need to achieve? Are there opportunities to reduce or defer scope, to ease pressure on the programme? What impacts would this have?
  4. Develop the design – Design practices are working efficiently now. Why not use the opportunity to develop the design of a scheme to a greater level of detail, reducing risk and allowing you to market test and develop cost certainty? Enhance the maturity of estimates in parallel, to give you a greater degree of confidence that the project can be realised within expectations.
  5. Optimise the schedule – Was it optimal in the first place? Is it as good as it can be? Were the activity durations appropriate? Was there excessive float? Is there a more efficient route to the planned outcome? It may still be possible to achieve your targeted end date by enhancing the quality of your schedule.
  6. Innovate – Did the original intentions make best use of Modern Methods of Construction? If sites are closed, is there an opportunity for off-site manufacture in a controlled environment? Can innovative tools be used to create digital twins, digital mapping or drone surveys, to understand the existing conditions of assets and align the design more carefully?
  7. Broaden your supplier horizons – Inevitably, some supply chain partners will be able to meet your requirements, and others may not. Assess the capacity and capability of alternative suppliers, including adaptable newcomers to the market, as well as international firms.
  8. Re-prioritise – Is one element of a project most important, or adding most value? Can you focus available resources on that aspect to achieve it? Rather than trying to deliver everything at once, prioritise the key elements that generate the most value.
  9. Use procurement frameworks – Do you need rapid procurement and implementation, to progress as swiftly as possible? Frameworks such as Pagabo provide an excellent pre-approved route. Approved for public sector use, frameworks allow the use of multiple organisations through one appointment.
  10. Collaborate – It’s a tough time, but there are lots of recovery options to explore. It’s vital that clients, funders and delivery partners work together to find the best solutions to mitigate Covid-19 delays and start the road to recovery. At Faithful+Gould, we are having productive conversations with our clients, to support safely returning to work, getting back on track, and adapting to new circumstances.

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