Network Rail’s Phil Bennett Celebrates “New Philosophy

Network Rail’s Phil Bennett Celebrates “New Philosophy

“The decision to adopt NEC3 marked the start of a new chapter for Network Rail, based on a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation,” Phil Bennett, Network Rail’s Finance and Commercial Director for Infrastructure Projects (Southern Region) told an audience at this year’s NEC Users’ Group Seminar on Monday.

Delivering a presentation entitled ‘Network Rail and NEC3: the story so far’ to more than 240 NEC contract users at the Institution of Civil Engineers’ One Great George Street headquarters in London, Mr Bennett added: “We wanted to achieve direct end-to-end collaboration throughout the supply chain, moving away from traditional ‘master – servant’ relationships to a more straightforward arrangement by which the best man for the job makes decisions for the collective good.

“In our experience, putting the contracts in place creates the right environment for good relationships, but it’s ultimately the people that make it work. When selecting contractors we took great care to assess both corporate and individual behaviours and looked at who showed a strong capacity to collaborate.”

Commenting on whether the implementation of NEC3 has driven positive contract administration at Network Rail, Mr Bennett continued: “We are now one year into the new framework and have already seen reduced management and transaction costs, increased opportunities to innovate, and improvements in both the quality of work and the safety of the workforce.

It was their meticulous approach to contractor selection and the resultant collaborative working across projects that won Network Rail the ‘Client of the Year’ accolade at the inaugural NEC Users’ Group Awards, presented at the end of Monday’s event.

The NEC Users’ Group seminar is the highlight of the NEC calendar and an essential diary date for members and non-members who use, or have an interest in NEC3 and its developments.

During the sell-out day-long event, a programme of keynote speeches, interactive workshops and panel sessions took place representing an unprecedented forum for project management and procurement discussion and networking.

Mr Bennett’s speech was part of a programme that also featured Dr David Hancock, Head of Construction at the Cabinet Office, Simon Rawlinson, Member of the BIM Task Group Core Team and Partner at EC Harris LLP, and Tim Cummins from the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management.

The seminar provides an opportunity for NEC users to share best practice, get the latest insights from industry studies, and network with fellow users and solutions providers.

As interest and uptake of NEC products and services continues to grow year on year, the event also offered attendees an invaluable opportunities for industry professionals to gain insight into how NEC3 is being used to invest in infrastructure both across the UK and internationally. The Hong Kong Government has recently committed to using NEC contracts for all its public works, and once again, a delegation from Hong Kong was in attendance to share best practice and learn from its UK counterparts.

The event concluded with first ever NEC Users’ Group Awards, established to recognise and celebrate the world’s finest examples of NEC3 contract collaborations.

The winning submissions will now be championed globally as the pinnacle of contract collaboration.

Rekha Thawrani, general manager for NEC: “We’re thrilled with the overwhelming success of this year’s seminar and the first ever NEC Users’ Group Awards.

“Once again, this sell-out event was a wonderful engaging mix of insightful presentations, interactive workshops, panel discussion and excellent networking opportunities for attending delegates.

“This event is a standout opportunity to publicly recognise and celebrate the world’s finest examples of NEC3 contract collaborations so congratulations to our sterling and inspirational award winners. Many thanks to all our key speakers and all the users who joined us.”


NEC Users’ Group Awards winners:

Large Project of the Year

Winner – International Criminal Court

Judges’ comment (Matthew Garratt & Matthew Symes): ‘The focus was placed on achieving mutual benefits through opportunity workshops and best value for money solutions, which generated trust between the parties. The project team also took an important leap of faith in using an NEC3 target contract for this major project in the Netherlands, in order to support the collaboration strategy.’

Runner up 1 – Happy Valley Underground Storage Stormwater Scheme (HVUSSS)

Judges’ comment (Matthew Garratt & Matthew Symes): ‘Using NEC with subcontractors, supported by the ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ workshops, really helped the whole team collaborate and overcome numerous issues, typhoons and other challenges! Measurement and analysis of Partnering Scores amongst team members with corrective action taken to keep collaboration on track is considered best practice.’

Runner up 2 – Goole Wind Farms

Judges’ comment: ‘Exceptional challenges, resulting in delays of over a year to one critical subcontract – all overcome through good collaborative use of the NEC and intense co-operation.’

Small Project of the Year

Winner – Rushden Pool

Judges’ comment: ‘Only a small project, but the application of NEC Clause 10 is exemplary. Full application of the contract led to all sorts of issues being resolved openly, transparently and with evident collaboration.’

Runner up 1 – Hadleigh Park

Judges’ comment: ‘Great use of the NEC Clause 10.1 principles to overcome all sorts of issues, including the hazardous materials and unwanted badgers! Focus on solutions providing mutual benefits.’

Runner up 2 – Kennington Park One o’clock Club and Adventure Playground

Judges’ comment: ‘Good use of the NEC on a small project, resulting in a trusting relationship and then onto further work. A reciprocal approach of fair payment and fair payment claims was established.’

Client of the Year

Winner – Network Rail – CP5 Multifunctional Framework Contracts

Judges’ comment: ‘Demonstrates how collaboration starts with the selection of the right suppliers with the right culture and capability to deliver innovation at an early stage in a project based on BS11000 collaboration principles and supported by the NEC3.’

Runner up 1 – Connect Plus M25 Renewals and Improvements Framework Contracts

Judges’ comment: ‘Demonstrates a good understanding of how the NEC3 can be used to support other tools and systems to achieve effective collaboration.’

Runner up 2 – International Criminal Court

Judges’ comment: ‘A commendable willingness to adopt a new approach in a market new to collaboration and the NEC3 and which has delivered savings of about 7m Euros.’

Contractor of the Year

Winner – Anglia Route Collaboration – VolkerFitzpatrick

Judges’ comment:   ‘The project demonstrates a strong integration of roles, incorporating Early Contractor Involvement and BS 11000 principles, to achieve collaboration supported by the use of the NEC3 to focus on delivering excellence.’

Runner up 1 – South East Multi-Functional Framework (CP5) – Costain

Judges’ comment: ‘Very good examples of tools, methods and systems used to support the development of trust and collaboration within an NEC3 environment to deliver better performance.’

Runner up 2 – Monklands Hospital – GRAHAM

Judges’ comment: ‘Good application of collaborative relationships in a technically complex environment to achieve continuous improvement under a NEC3 contract.’

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