On Thursday I was privileged to attend a meeting of the Architects, Engineers and Constructors Network at the Building Centre in London. The event was attended by around 30 professionals with a further 14 at least joining in online through the medium of a Ustream video feed of the presentations (thanks to Paul Wilkinson aka @EEPaul), plus live twitter messages from the participants, who participated in a session run by Richard White, the Accidental Salesman, and a talk by Don Ward, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence.
Following the success of the Be2campNorth meeting in Liverpool (which I attended online) I volunteered to ‘live tweet’ the event, posting summaries of the discussion as they happened via my twitter account.
Here are a selection of the tweets (twitter messages) generated by those using the #AECNetwork hashtag at our meeting last Thursday. I wanted to edit them down a lot but left in enough to give the atmosphere of the event, so there are still quite a few!
For the uninitiated, a #hashtag allows users to search for other twitter messages containing the hashtag, and @Subutcher is an example of a twitter user – their ‘handle’. The user named at the beginning of each message is the originator.
@UKConstruction: RT @heathernorthey @gemmawent @eepaul @melstarrs @johncave: attending #AECNetwork meeting in London http://ow.ly/hSfp http://bit.ly/T2dy7
@earthexchange: @fairsnape @SuButcher Designing out waste – perhaps an informal topic for your #AECNetwork mtg today? or #Be2Camp?
@melstarrs: Great to meet peeps in the flesh at #aecnetwork including @gemmawent @geoffwilkinson @subutcher @johncave @eepaul and others
@lornaparsons: Fab, viewing you clearly with good sound now. #AECNetwork
@EEPaul: About to start, tweeps. First up is Richard White on “The accidental salesman”
Richard White: The Accidental Salesman
@SuButcher: John Cave introduces @Richard__White
@UKConstruction: #AECNetwork Richard knows people who ‘can’t sell’ can because he learned to himself.
@gemmawent: Richard White: we’re all sales people #aecnetwork
@fotofacade: Hey #AECNetwork I’m a salesman!
@SuButcher: If you are watching online get a piece of paper and do this yourself
@Bigman100: Shame I can’t be there in person #AECNetwork. Good start though – “We’re all sales people”!
@SuButcher: #AECNetwork everyone is talking in pairs about how they got into business
@SuButcher: #AECNetwork people love stories – so ask people their story, and tell them yours.
@lizmale: Big hello from Wales to all at #aecnetwork including @gemmawent @geoffwilkinson @subutcher @johncave @eepaul and @melstarrs. Have fun!
@Subutcher: @Richard__White explains the ‘Four P’s”
@robbiecat: RT @SuButcher: people love stories – so ask people their story, and tell them yours + #AppreciativeInq provides empowering frame
@robbiecat: RE storytelling: #AppreciativeInq provides gr8 frame 2 connect storytellers & listeners 2 each other & open, creative , positive states #NLP
@SuButcher: Story must be about a Person/People – see the film Adaptation
@SuButcher: Think about the drama with people you work with BEFORE you started working w them
@EEPaul: 14 people are viewing the live feed on UStream
@SuButcher: Tell a story about someone just like them ‘just like me!’ or ‘I know someone!’
@SuButcher: RT @biswasdiener: RT @robbiecat: RT @SuButcher: people love stories – so ask people their story, and tell them yours #AECNetwork
(OH LOOK, a double retweet! – means a much wider reach for us)
@EEPaul: First P = People, the second P (motivation) is “Pain”
@SuButcher: @Richard__White: Pain always a much stronger motivation to buy than Pleasure
@EEPaul: @Melstarrs telling her story about a man in Crewe (yay!)
@EEPaul: Another story-telling slot (property developer bursts into tears – but work/life balance improved)
Note: it was Liz Kentish aka @FMCoach
@EEPaul: Now @gemmawent telling a story about a recruitment consultant in the architects/designers secto
@EEPaul: Third P in the sales story-telling scenario is “Payload” = perception of your/product’s value
@SuButcher: Payload is saying ‘I’m good at what I do’ but by results – especially if someone in the story says it!
@SuButcher: 4th P is Plot – communicate the _same message_ with different stories
@EEPaul: Need short, simple, powerful sales stories that can be conveyed quickly.
@EEPaul: Session finishing promptly at about 2.45pm BST – Richard has some masterclasses soon
@ajbmorris: people, pain, payload, plot just so I remember later!
SuButcher: Don Ward CEO of @ConstructingExc is about to start his presentation #AECNetwork
Don Ward of Constructing Excellence
@SuButcher: Constructing Excellence’s aim is to improve performance in the C. Industry #AECNetwork
@SuButcher: The government have recognised the important of good buildings on good education, for example
@SuButcher: Setting targets – don’t forget you have to measure them.
@SuButcher: How are we doing? The Construction industry is 33% safer than 10 yrs ago
@SuButcher: How are we doing? Client Satisfaction – projects awarded 8 out of 10 rose from 75% to 90%
@SuButcher: How are we doing? Contractors have worked hard to get closer to their clients
@EEPaul: Don Ward (@constructingexc) highlighting progress on industry KPIs in past 10yrs: safety, client satisfaction, VFM, etc
@SuButcher: How are we doing? Industry is more profitable and clients are getting better value for money
@EEPaul: Don Ward: cst predictability no improvement in past 10 years
@SuButcher: Of course client decision changes counts for 50% of those failures to deliver on cost/time, but industry accounts for rest
@EEPaul: Don Ward reviewing pioneering clients (BAA, Glaxo, MoD Building Down Barriers). Andover North prime contract good example
@SuButcher: The @ConstructingExc identifies demonstration projects to show best practice – about 100 at any time
@SuButcher: How do the demonstration projects compare against a rising industry baseline? They outperform (by trying harder)
@EEPaul: Don Ward showing comparisons between demonstration projects and rest of the industry: predictability and productivity big gains
@EEPaul: Don Ward – it’s about improvements in collaboration\\integrated working, leadership, value and sustainability
@SuButcher: If you don’t have the social and economic side sorted then achieving sustainability can be difficult
@SuButcher: … So what’s changed – the last quarter 2008 dramatic reduction of new orders, up to 40% down.
@SuButcher: Quite a lot of regional variations in the effect of the recession e.g. North West suffered a lot due to housing
@SuButcher: Will new housing and private sector pick up enough to offset public expenditure cuts? If not double dip recession
@SuButcher: What are you going to do? business as usual? (NO) #AECNetwork
@SuButcher: How about the U-Turn – back to the old ways? e.g. single stage lowest price tendering and claims culture?
@EEPaul: Don: how to survive the AEC recession. Business as usual is not an option. U-turns happening. But collaboration is an option
@SuButcher: RT @neilfairbrother u-turn if you want to… //LOL
@SuButcher: In no sense has true collaborative working been anticompetitive
@SuButcher: The alternative to the old way – lean, environmentally sustainable collaborative working
@EEPaul: Collaborative working = leadership/vision + people (‘soft’ issues) + processes (‘hard’ measures)
@SuButcher: Critical success factors to collaborative working: 1. Early Involvement (appropriate, paid for and not mickey-mouse)
@EEPaul: Don Ward: Early involvement, selection by value, common processes/tools, measurement, relationships, mod comm’l terms all vital.
@SuButcher: Critical success factors to collaborative working: 2. Selection by Value, not best price
@SuButcher: Lowest Price Tendering leads to a 20% average overrun: Don Ward @ConstructingExc at #AECNetwork
@James_Rock I have figures thatshow housing/infrastucture projects will grow building overall by about 5-7% in next 5 years..#AECNetwork
@EEPaul: Common processes and tools includes Building Information Modelling:- cultural and process issues the main barrier
@James_Rock: Hey #AECNetwork Best Value = Price Total Acquisition Costs (Management/Time/Quality/Warranty)
@SuButcher: Got to get over the reluctance to share. A contract is there to allocate risk, don’t leave it in the drawer.
@SuButcher: Understand a shared process as an audit trail and not a sledgehammer
@EEPaul: Don Ward promoting CE/JCT collaborative contract, also PPC2000 as alternatives to old-style contracts
@James_Rock: Hey #AECNetwork Refer to work done by Construction Manufacturers Partnering Association (COMPASS)
@SuButcher: Long Term relationships mean we know how to work together, and we work together better
@SuButcher: PI Insurance – new categories of insurance – insure the whole team for financial loss. Should lead to a reduction in risk
@EEPaul: “Integrated project insurance” to cover the whole AEC team – case still to be made to insurers’ satisfaction
@SuButcher: If architects thought they could reduce their PI Insurance premiums they might be more interested in collaborative working
@James_Rock: #AECNetwork the Egan report covered all this partnership benefits stuff about 10 years ago…
@SuButcher: Historic procurement would take longer to ‘start on site’ – aim then to shorten the programme – led to popularity of Frameworks
@EEPaul: Frameworks not all due to Egan agenda. OJEU process has been a factor, also pragmatic speed up ‘start on site’, cut waste
@SuButcher: >@James_Rock Don Ward is saying that the industry hasn’t really faced a crisis in 10 years. Now its much more relevant.
@EEPaul: National Audit Office has identified potential for further VFM savings in public sector – £2.6 billion pa #AECNetwork
@James_Rock: #AECNetwork is the industry just too fragmented and lacking in good management skills to change?
@EEPaul: lead times thru early involvement can be dramatically cut; designs can be improved with associated cost savings
@SuButcher: Don Ward is giving examples of how early involvement can save time, product, money
@SuButcher: Really important to understand manufacturer’s cost base to understand why they would offer a reduced quantity of product
@SuButcher: Breakdown of the ‘right price for the job’ includes huge proportion of cost and waste.
@EEPaul: Looking at “right price” versus lowest price tendering model – horror story of project tendered 20% under cost = claims
@SuButcher: Some brilliant graphs – we’ll try and get them on the http://aecnetwork.ning.com site
@SuButcher: Price is what you pay. Price = Cost + Profit. You will be paying the profit. The supplier must be able to make a profit.
@James_Rock: Hey #AECNetwork sounds logical doesn’t it – but emotions and ego’s create lose/lose situation
@EEPaul: Understand difference between project ‘price’ and ‘cost’. Understand what is ‘value’.
@SuButcher: Not enough people in construction are advising clients of the benefits of partnering and collaborative working
@SuButcher: Buildings tend to cost more today – partly due to them being much more engineered than they were
@SuButcher: The only value of construction to the client is the use of the built facility (not the process of construction itself )
@EEPaul: CE report “Be Valuable” written by Richard Saxon advocates whole life value approach to construction. Start from “need”.
@Subutcher: Don Ward talking about 1:5:200 model – key for clients is the business costs not the upfront design, construction, O&M costs
@SuButcher: If it costs £1m to build an office building, cost £5m to operate it, Business cost to client £200, business outcomes £2000m
@SuButcher: i.e Construction is a Strategic Investment – invest in a better built environment
@SuButcher: So ratio of value to design costs could be 20,000:1 but the value is created in the design part of the process
@EEPaul: “Lots of failed architects ought to be retraining as Facilities Managers” says Don Ward, tongue in cheek?
@SuButcher: If the architect can understand the business and understand strategic Facilities Management then they can really deliver Value
@EEPaul: Evidence-based good design shows well-designed hospitals dramatically improve healthcare outcomes; ditto in education
@KirstieMAllsopp Look! for all of you who think I Tweet too much follow @SuButcher, then you’ll learn what mega Tweeting is!
@EEPaul: St Francis of Assissi Academy, Liverpool – teaching environment boosts education achievement
@SuButcher: We have questions #AECNetwork
Questions/Discussion with Don Ward
@SuButcher: @MelStarrs asks how SMEs can break into teams
@SuButcher: Don Ward says many frameworks don’t operate in the SME sector but clients can segment their frameworks for suitable firms
@SuButcher: SME’s can also collaborate says @GrahamNewsome
@SuButcher: Its important for clients to understand what is really important to them (including if they want to use SME’s)
@SuButcher: @AlanRae (online) asks – what can be done about clients not getting advice about the benefits of collaborative working?
@EEPaul: How do we sell the benefits of collaborative working to our clients? Don says use CE resources (listen to the stories)
@SuButcher: Don ward says – serious large client are doing ok, its the one off clients who are more difficult
@SuButcher: Resources to convince clients – Don’s slides, @ConstructingExc website (join the regional clubs) and have a go.
@SuButcher: Resources to convince clients -Demonstrate good value of your design fees. Try some of @Richard__White’s storytelling techniques
@EEPaul: Tell the Tale of Two Cities: compare Wembley and Heathrow T5 projects – #AECNetwork
@SuButcher: If the argument is single stage, ask for proof it is cheaper than collaborative working (the contrary proof is available)
@SuButcher: Tell a story of a client who ‘turned back’ to old ways and regretted it – @Richard__White #AECNetwork – reminder to Don at @ConstructingExc
@SuButcher: Don Cooke of @Enhanced_Teams is pointing out psychological issues between collaborative working – what strategies would you recommend?
@SuButcher: There is nothing cosy about collaborative working – so many things need to be unlearned Don Ward
@SuButcher: Comment that the biggest barriers are cultural. Everyone is supposed to be working to clients definition of the common purpose
@SuButcher: Reduce the issues to simple ideas to get behind the common purpose – Don Ward
@SuButcher: Need to convince client that risk can be managed throughout the process rather than omitted at the beginning
@fairsnape: I like Dons comment on architects to FM’s – needs to be more feedforward feedback
@SuButcher: Need some measures of how team will perform – use of tools e.g. weekly marks out of ten how do you feel about the project team?
@SuButcher: Constructing Excellence have published a book about how to involve SMEs in Frameworks
@SuButcher: Don Ward – Risk is a mindset thing. Keep it, give it to consultant to manage, or share it. Not my problem or yours – OURs.
@SuButcher: Subcontractor: “Its a very nice idea but very difficult to manage- architect wants us to solve all his problem for nothing – we keep giving”
@SuButcher: “Architect can’t pay us because he can’t, contractor has no leeway…”
@SuButcher: “Its not just complicated, its unethical” – Don Ward
@SuButcher: Don Ward suggests you have to make specialists get involved early and tells a story of clients not knowing their suppliers
@fairsnape: RT @SuButcher: Everyone working to clients definition of common purpose / as long as thats the users definition – so often not!
@SuButcher: All about the early stage of the project – long before the subcontractor was involved – things set up wrong
@SuButcher: Our records show 80% of projects set up on collaborative lines come in on cost and on time – Don Ward
@EEPaul: @geoffwilkinson talking about building control where early involvement has worked to improve long-term value
@SuButcher: Client-1st tier design and Client-Main Contractor – very good on early involvement, not so lower down
@SuButcher: Very difficult for specialist to make changes over a short time period – @HNorthey
@SuButcher: Example of how contractor not collaborating will have to price in the risk of confrontative traditional methods – see the slides
@SuButcher: Not enough companies maintain the evidence of what they have done successfully Designers avoid looking at post occupancy value
@SuButcher: Do you know if your fantastic school building actually works 10 years on? Why not take a look?
@SuButcher: Go back to previous clients on the pretence of finding out how the old projects are doing… (but learning on the way)
@EEPaul: There are no incentives to designers to do post-project evaluation – but this could be good business development!
@SuButcher: How about if a main contractor had to run the building? @HeatherNorthey
@EEPaul: RT @constructingexc: The guide on SMEs accessing frameworks is here: http://bit.ly/f4X9X @SuButcher #AECNetwork
@SuButcher: RT @fairsnape: often client rep construction/building focused, not on the business or real needs of users=reduced business value
@SuButcher: @fairsnape Don said you should be doing some real work!
@fairsnape: I am working and listening Don
@eclipsedesignuk: Hey #AECNetwork thanks for an interesting seminar. Sorry that i couldn’t be there
@SuButcher: Excellent session everyone! Now for some talk #AECNetwork
After the Event
@SuButcher: @earthexchange some of Dons graphs showing cost breakdowns make a good point about waste. Slides will be on http://aecnetwork.ning.com
@heathernorthey: How about if a main contractor had to run the building? #AECNetwork. Or even every arch/eng/qs as part of cpd. Live with ones mistakes!
@GeoffWilkinson: heading home from great #AECNetwork event – hopefully didn’t bore too many people when I got on my soapbox!
@Richard__White: @JohnCave Thanks John – it was great fun presenting at #AECNetwork this afternoon. Heard some great stories which is always fun!
@melstarrs: Anyone I met at #aecnetwork and didn’t namecheck – sorry! And if anyone wants to connect on LinkedIn, happy to connect!
@Richard__White: RT @JohnCave: #AECNetwork Special thanks also to @EEPaul for the webcasting and @SuButcher for the twitter commentary
@constructingexc: @SuButcher Info on Building Down Barriers http://bit.ly/lM4Qe. CE has BDB tools available to members available online http://bit.ly/Tk7zs
@SuButcher: @constructingexc thankyou for your replies, is that Jon D’S?
@constructingexc: @SuButcher Yes, it’s Jon. I was tweeting from the office while watching Don present online. Thought the event looked excellent.
@SuButcher: @constructingexc it really was so good and so much value packed into a short meeting…
@constructingexc: @SuButcher Which is exactly what happened with Building Down Barriers
@EEPaul: Reviewing Ustream stats from y’day’s #AECNetwork event: Unique viewers: 53, peak unique viewers: 24. Sadly, Don Ward talk not recorded 🙁
@SuButcher: My #followfriday this week must be @ConstructingExc and @AECNetwork to keep up the debate http://aecnetwork.ning.com 🙂
@FMCoach: suggests @AECNetwork for my very first follow friday! Great event yesterday!
If you want to see all the tweets they are searchable via the hashtag like this using Twitter Search: http://tinyurl.com/mkjqkq
You can see a UStream video of Richard White’s presentation and follow him on twitter at @Richard__White
You can see Don Ward’s presentation slides on the AEC Network and follow Constructing Excellence on twitter at @ConstructingExc
The #AECNetwork is an informal, free of charge, global network for the construction sector. Why not join?
Attenders at the AEC Network (not in person) included the following. Why not comment below if I missed you out?
ConstructingExc (Jon DeSouza)
John Cave says
Thanks Su, a great writeup of the afternoons’ events. It’s great to see the AEC Network taking on a life of its own!
For anyone reading, the AEC Network is totally free and informal and is open to all in the Construction sector or those who have an interest in the built environment.