However, the variety of procurement and management options used to undertake construction projects and maintenance operations has increased significantly in recent years. This is as a result of contracting parties seeking to achieve a better balance between the perceived benefits and the inherent risks of using traditional contractual arrangements.

In response to this fundamental change Clayton Consult has developed a range of services that are flexible and innovative but which are still based on solid foundations, underpinned by traditional skills and experience. These skills offer a complete project management solution encompassing all stages in the development and implementation of a project and the ongoing management of an asset.

The asset life cycle diagram below has been developed to show the key areas where we assist our clients to ensure that they deliver their project as successfully as possible.

Project Management

Clayton Consult Act as Project Managers on a range of construction and infrastructure projects. This involves using a combination of our knowledge, skills and processes in order to meet the requirements of any given project.

Project Management comprises a number of core processes centred around the following project stages: Concept, feasibility, strategy, preconstruction, construction, service and commission, complete handover and post-completion. To ensure that these stages are effectively progressed Clayton Consult has expertise in:

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Safety Management
  • Project Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk and Value Management

Clayton Consult Services in the Project and Asset Life Cycle

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Planning and Programming

Clayton Consult carries out planning and programming in respect of construction projects and this includes:

  • Planning the projects and activities
  • Critical path analysis
  • Advising on and preparing submissions for extensions of time
  • Establishing cause nexus and effect in relation to delays
  • Monitoring progress and updating programmes
  • Delay analysis
  • Producing construction programmes

Planning and programming is an essential part of effective project and commercial management and our expertise and practical understanding of construction processes enables Clayton Consult to develop realistic and achievable plans and to analyse the causes of delay.

Risk Management

Clayton Consult constantly assesses and balances risks in all of the services that it undertakes. Risk is an event, positive or negative, which could affect time cost or quality. Experience in knowing how to identify, manage, monitor, mitigate or transfer risk is paramount in the risk management services offered, including:

  • Identification of risks (risk logs/workshops/risk register)
  • Risk qualification (strategy/allocation/planning)
  • Risk quantification (modelling/analysis)
  • Continuous management (risk review/re-modelling/reporting)
  • Project review and feedback

Clayton Consult can provide experienced risk managers to facilitate risk workshops and to model the combined effect of risks using computer analysis such as Monte Carlo Analysis.

Risk management is a core part of the overall management of a project and Clayton Consult are able to provide this both as part of its project management role or as a seperate service.

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Value Management

Traditionally the construction industry has been concerned with ‘cost’ but it is now widely recognised that the concept of ‘value’ provides a better and more useful measure.

The value management process provides a structured approach to enhance the value of projects, processes or products consistent with specified project or business requirements.

Clayton Consult can facilitate and manage the process comprising:

  • Value management (selecting the best overall option)
  • Value engineering (selectingthe best design options)
  • Project review and feedback

Clayton Consult strives to achieve value by ensuring Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness.

Project Monitoring and Audit

Clayton Consult provides project monitoring and audit services including the following:

  • Project monitoring for funding bodies in order to facilitate the draw-down of funds against project facilities
  • Project ‘health’ checks providing quick, accurate and independent advice on the performance of a project and the remaining risks factors
  • Forensic cost audits where payment is on an ‘open-book’ or target cost basis

The widespread use of construction contracts based on an ‘open-book’ or target cost payment mechanism has lead to a requirement for Clients to check and validate contractor’s cost records. Clayton Consult understands contractor’s accounting systems and have successfully assisted clients by ensuring that contractors only claim for costs that they are entitled to under the relevant contractual provisions.

Project Health Check

Our staff are experienced in carrying out different types of audits on a wide range of projects ranging from the relatively small to the billion pound infrastructure project.

Sitting alongside the bespoke audits, our Project Health Check comprises a one day review focussing on effective contract administration, together with project cost and time performance. We provide an Executive Summary Report highlighting issues and recommending action to mitigate risks or maximise opportunities.

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Project feasibility

Project drift is the curse of construction and infrastructure projects across the world. Examples of projects where costs have spiralled are too numerous to count. All too often these problems are exacerbated by short cuts or insufficient studies at the feasibility stage of the project. Additional care at this stage will save significant time and money later on.

Clayton Consult provide their specialist skills to assist clients in determining the feasibility of a project and in developing strategies to maximise value and minimise risk.

We work with our Clients to develop the Project Brief and to ensure that there is an understanding of the business asset, its purpose, construction, use and maintenance requirements. By studying these issues in sufficient depth at this stage it is then possible to realistically consider the feasibility of a project, how it might be most effectively designed, developed and procured. It is also possible to analyse the potential risks and incorporate effective strategies to minimise these.

Developing the Client’s Brief

The Clients Project Brief is the essential first step in defining the project requirements. A myriad of decisions and actions flow from the Brief and if the definition lacks clarity or is incomplete there is a real chance that the end product will be found wanting in some respect.

Clayton Consult understands the importance of the Client’s Brief and uses their expertise to assist the Client in setting down a realistic Brief that accurately matches the requirements with the available resources.

Our expertise is based on a successful track record of managing projects from inception to completion. This experience enables us to combine practical tools such as benchmarking requirements against comparable projects together with skills in specification writing to ensure that we deliver an accurately defined Project Brief.

 

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Preparing Feasibility Studies

Project Feasibility studies ensure that the project requirements set down in the Client’s Brief can be achieved both practicably and within the Client’s allocated resources.

There is always more than one way of achieving a set of requirements. Clayton Consult considers the proposals and the options that have been identified in order to select the optimal solution to the challenges set by the Client’s Brief.

The optimal solution is considered in terms of “value” to the client rather than purely ‘cost’. A consideration of ‘value’ in this sense looks at the relationship between the functionality of the proposed asset and its whole life cost.

Clayton Consult uses its skills in preparing comparative estimates and in facilitating and developing the output of risk and value management workshops to prepare feasibility studies. Concise recommendations are presented in business case format allowing the Client to make informed decisions in respect of the various options presented and the overall viability of the project.

Developing Procurement Strategies

Once the broad parameters of a project have been set, consideration has to be given to the most appropriate procurement strategy to deliver the project. It is essential that the strategy is developed at an early stage as it will effect the establishment of the project team. For example, if the contractor is to undertake both the design and construction of the project then the role of any in-house or independent professional designer will become limited.

Procurement strategies will be influenced by various factors including:

  • the extent to which any work is uncertain
  • the extent of design involvement provided to date and required by the Client
  • the level of risk that the Client is prepared to accept.
  • the conditions under which the work has to be carried out
  • the type and nature of the work
  • the time available to complete the work

Clayton Consult develops the most appropriate procurement and contracting strategy to achieve the combined Client and project requirements taking due account of the factors outlined above.

Value Management and Engineering

The objective of Value Management is to identify and eliminate those features of a design which do not contribute to the performance of an asset or which do not enhance its value when considered against the requirements of the Brief or other objective criteria.

Value is a measure of the functionality of an asset relative to the resources required to construct, operate and maintain the asset (cost, time and quality).

Clayton Consult operates a structured approach to value management. This involves bringing together key people at critical points in the development of a project to identify and analyse factors which affect the functionality and value of the asset. A workshop environment allows a full range of ideas, solutions and opportunities to be considered in a short space of time and facilitates a process in which decisions are made by consensus and ownership is with the group rather than with individuals.

The term ‘value management’ can be used to reflect the whole process but it can also be used to describe the early strategic interventions when maximum benefit can be obtained. Workshops held at the project definition and conceptual design stages can significantly influence the shape of the project and ensure that every aspect of the proposals add value.

The term ‘value engineering’ is used to describe subsequent workshops which are held at critical stages in the development of the project such as the preliminary and detailed design stages and which focus on ensuring that the most efficient design and methods of construction are developed.

In these terms, value management is concerned with ‘what’ is provided whilst value engineering is concerned with the detail of ‘how’ it is provided.

The fundamental benefit of the value management is that it provides an effective, collective and auditable decision-making process that allows the project team to focus on delivering an efficient asset that provides the Client with value for money.

Project Development

Project development is the critical planning stage in the life cycle of a built asset. The effectiveness of the work carried out at this stage will directly relate to the success, or otherwise, of the overall project.

Clayton Consult has significant experience in developing the proposals to meet the Client’s requirements prior to commencing construction work.

We can review the structure and the requirements expected of the project team. Once the project team is established we can then develop the strategic and operational plans to generate a comprehensive project programme that enables successful project management.

At this stage it is important to manage the tendering process and to set clear criteria for the selection of contractors and others within the supply chain. Value management will again be an important issue at this stage, because the cheapest proposal may not necessarily deliver the best value over the asset’s life cycle. The criteria for selection will need to reflect this.

To ensure effective management of the project we develop a range of project controls and benchmarks. By selecting the appropriate performance measures we allow our Clients to closely monitor the project and to manage the supply chain performance.

The importance of the Project Development stage cannot be overstated in achieving the final successful delivery of the asset. The links below address some the individual points raised in more detail.

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Establishing the Project Team

The tasks and functions that are necessary to deliver a project and the adopted procurement strategy determine the composition and shape of the project team.

There is no room in an efficient team for duplication of effort and resources and Clayton Consult ensures that the right team is brought together on the basis of specific co-ordinated requirements.

Each member of the project team must be aware of his or her responsibilities and empowered to deliver without encumbrance. This is achieved by developing a co-ordinated programme for all project activities linked to the main construction programme from which a schedule of deliverables can be developed for each of the main project team disciplines. Procedures are developed or reviewed to ensure that they focus on delivery and effective project controls rather than imposing needless bureaucracy, paperwork and governance.

Programme Management

The process of construction involves carrying out a myriad of activities. It is essential therefore to logically plan the sequence and timing of these activities in order to arrive at the optimal programme for any project.

Project planning is carried out at a number of levels but can be categorised as ‘strategic planning, which provides a broad outline of what the project has to achieve and how it will be achieved, and ‘operational planning’ which details the activities, resources and durations required to deliver the strategic plans.

Clayton Consult work with the project team to ensure that all programme activities are actively managed and this includes those activities relating to the provision of information as well as the physical construction activities. This requires properly developed programmes using tools such as network and critical path analysis and the implementation of control mechanisms such as earned value analysis.

The planning process can be developed to meet the demands of Clients carrying out large programmes of work. This is a common scenario for Clients responsible for managing and developing infrastructure assets whether this is in the construction, process or transport sectors.

In these circumstances programme management includes the development of asset management plans together with procurement and contracting strategies that consider the packaging of similar projects into programmes of work together with supply chain management to secure long term efficiencies. The planning process must take due account of the asset management plan and the sensible use of the available resources both physical and fiscal.

Cost Planning and Control

Effective cost planning and control is a vital component in the success of a project.

The Client’s budget or business plan appraisal will dictate the amount to be spent on the project. The cost plan will provide the basis for establishing whether the Client’s requirements can realistically be satisfied within the budget.

To be of ongoing value the cost plan must be prepared in an elemental format in sufficient detail to allow comparative analyses to be prepared to assess the implications of design development and changes in the requirements. The cost plan forms the basis for effective cost control particularly where the elemental format is co-ordinated with high level activities shown on the programme.

Clayton Consult use their knowledge and understanding of construction and engineering costs and the requirements for effective project controls in order to develop realistic cost plans that reflect the Client’s requirements and take account of any risks associated with undertaking the work The cost plan then form the basis for cost control throughout the life of the project.

Managing the Supply Chain

For Clients who are undertaking a programme of work it is important that consideration is given to their ongoing market requirements in order to establish the benefits that can be obtained from a structured approach to managing their particular supply chain.

Traditionally Clients have let work to main contractors on the basis of tenders received. The main contractors then use their own suppliers and subcontractors to provide materials and equipment or to carry out the work on site. May lead to a lot of ‘one-off’ relationships and does not provide for benefits which are obtainable from long term relationships

The most effective procurementis achieved through supply chain management. This approach starts with an analysis of the Clients ongoing requirements looking for repetition in terms of the processes, designs, materials, and resources used. From this a strategy can be developed to achieve efficiencies through standardising requirements and rationalising the supply chain.

The strategy must aim to develop key suppliers and, by working with these suppliers, to ensure that designs are efficient; that standard solutions are used wherever possible; that demand is considered against production; and that competitive advantage is gained through the offer of long term commercial relationships.

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Tendering and Contractor Selection

Having developed the optimum procurement strategy for a project, the most important step that a Client takes is the selection of the contractor or contractors to carry out the work.

Whether this is by a one-off tender or as part of a long term business relationship it is essential that the tender documents accurately reflect the project requirements and the contractual arrangement that has been selected.

Conflicting or inadequate requirements set out in the tender documents are one of the most common causes of problems experienced in carrying out construction projects.

Clayton Consult has extensive experience of preparing tender documents for the full range of contract alternatives including consideration of the following (or a combination of the following):

  • basis of reimbursement
  • responsibility for design
  • single or two stage tendering
  • traditional or collaborative approach
  • private finance initiatives (PFI)
  • extent of claims for E.O.T and money
  • site constraints
  • particular project risk
  • collateral warranties, bonds, p.c.g.

We also understand the requirements of European Public and Utilities Procurement Directives.

The experience of Clayton Consult means that we can advise on all contractual matters and, if required, arrange for / prepare amendments to standard forms of contract or bespoke conditions to suit particular needs.

Having been out to tender, it is important that the responses are assessed on the basis of objective criteria and, where this is not simply on the basis of price alone, Clayton Consult can develop a weighted scoring matrix to reflect the relative importance attributed to parts of the tender.

This forms the basis of a concise tender report, which allows the Client to participate in the selection of the contractor to be entrusted with carrying out the work on his behalf.

Benchmarking and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Benchmarking and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) may be components of a performance management framework. Such a framework includes:

  • determining what constitutes success
  • determining how success can be measured
  • planning activities to achieve success
  • performing activities and measuring performance
  • comparing performance against the success criteria
  • establishing learning points and improving the process

Clayton Consult establish KPI’s which reflect the agreed success criteria and which are straightforward to measure. The focus must be on improving the overall performance. KPI’s should be a prompt for managers to alter, process and achieve greater efficiencies rather than on measuring KPI for the sake of it.

It is important that the measured performance is analysed to improve understanding and to provide feedback that can used to enhance the process and achieve continuous improvement.

Value Management and Engineering (see above)

The continuation of value management is beneficial to the project even after the contract has been awarded. Clayton Consult strives to ensure that, irrespective of blame or risk, betterment, time cost or quality, is achieved for both parties.

Project Implementation

Project Management and Commercial Management of construction projects is the core of the services offered by Clayton Consult. Our focus is on driving the construction work to achieve the Client’s objectives to time and in accordance with the budget.

To achieve these goals it is important that the overall contract is properly managed according to the requirements of the particular contract. As the industry develops a more collaborative working approach, the way that these contracts are managed must change to reflect this. Clayton Consult have significant experience in successfully managing a wide range of contract arrangements and we are able to work with our Clients to effectively manage the supply chain.

In all cases it is essential to ensure appropriate Project Control, Financial Control and Change Control mechanisms. To be effective these controls must provide timely and accurate management information to facilitate good decision making for the benefit of the project.

Clayton Consult has the experience to ensure that these controls together with any Benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators that are established are appropriate to the project requirements.

The importance of proper payment within the construction industry has been recognised by government and reflected in the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and the Local Democracy Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. Clayton Consult understands this and takes the requirements into account together with the specific requirements of the contract when preparing Interim Valuations and agreeing Final Accounts.

By addressing issues that arise at the earliest opportunity Clayton Consult aims to maintain constructive working relationships between all parties involved in delivering the project.

Managing the Contract

The parties involved in carrying out a construction project generally have a contractual relationship which sets out the things to be done, the benefits to be received and the framework for administering the relationship.

It is important that this relationship is properly understood and managed within the established framework otherwise problems may arise which have a detrimental affect on the project and the relationship between the parties.

The proper management of the contract should not be confused with an adversarial approach. On the contrary, proper management requires that the people referred to in the contract understand their responsibilities and fulfil these to the benefit of the project. Modern construction contracts set out a project management approach and it is important that the procedures are adopted and complied with.

Maintaining Project Controls

Project controls provide management information and systems that regulate the way in which the design is developed and that changes are managed.

The purpose of such controls is to allow for proactive rather than reactive management and decision making.

Clayton Consult implement project controls that are relevant to the chosen contractual arrangement and which are developed from co-ordinated baseline information including the programme, the cost plan and the specification. The range of controls include as appropriate: schedule and cost management using earned value techniques; resource utilisation; risk management; change and configuration control; and performance indicators.

It is important that the controls are planned at an early stage to allow for the baseline information to be co-ordinated. Once in place the control processes should be robust and responsive. They should not hinder the implementation of the project but highlight trends that allow effective management decisions to be taken at the earliest possible stage.

Controlling Project Cost

Effective cost planning and control is a vital component in the success of a project.

The Client’s budget or business plan appraisal will dictate the amount to be spent on the project. The cost plan will provide the basis for establishing whether the Client’s requirements can realistically be satisfied within the budget.

To be of ongoing value the cost plan must be prepared in an elemental format in sufficient detail to allow comparative analyses to be prepared to assess the implications of design development and changes in the requirements. The cost plan forms the basis for effective cost control particularly where the elemental format is co-ordinated with high level activities shown on the programme.

Clayton Consult use their its knowledge and understanding of construction and engineering costs and the requirements for effective project controls in order to develop realistic cost plans that reflect the Client’s requirements and take account of any risks associated with undertaking the work. The cost plan then form the basis for cost control throughout the life of the project.

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Controlling Project Change

Having established the baseline requirements and cost plan it is inevitable that changes to the baseline will arise as a result of design development, co-ordination, changes to the requirements and site factors.

As changes are inevitable it is essential to plan accordingly and to establish control mechanisms that establish whether a proposed change is essential and, if so, to understand and control the effects of the change.

Clayton Consult implement change control procedures that compare any changes against the agreed baseline requirements. The design is developed in accordance with the requirements and any proposed change requires formal approval and sign-off once the effects of the change have been properly considered and documented on a change request form. Once a change has been approved the baseline information is amended accordingly.

Once a contractor is engaged, consideration must be given to the extent of their involvement in the change control process. All standard forms of construction contract provide a mechanism for valuing changes and most now provide a means by which the Client can obtain quotations from the contractor in advance of carrying out the work. However, the cost control process will require initial consideration of a change as soon as it is proposed and this is generally earlier than envisaged by the standard forms.

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