Issues arising from collaborative working - an introduction

Issues arising from collaborative working - an introduction
What are the key issues to consider when approaching collaborative working? Ben Mullard, an associate at Beale & Company, explores the challenges of collaborative working.

What has led to the development of collaborative working?

Over the last several years we have seen increased attention on various collaborative working methods, although their use remains the exception, rather than the rule.

Collaborative working covers a wide range of working practices, both contractual and non-contractual. Many of these, such as joint ventures and partnering, will already be familiar to parties in the construction industry, whereas others are more recent developments or are not yet widely adopted.

The push towards greater collaboration comes partially from government initiatives (including the Construction Strategy, Construction 2025 and the adoption of BIM/Government Soft Landings (GSL)), as well as from the adoption by major industry clients of new forms of procurement such as alliances and collaborative framework arrangements. A key feature of many of these is the greater involvement of the client in the development and delivery of the project than has traditionally been the case. This greater client involvement brings a number of potential benefits. For example, the client is more likely to get exactly the project it wants, potentially significant time and cost savings may be possible and risks and rewards can be shared between more parties.

What are the main approaches being taken to collaborative working?

Construction contracts are traditionally adversarial, with very little, if any, alignment between the client and the contractor’s or consultant’s interests. However, collaborative working methods represent a break with this tradition and have the potential to benefit all parties involved.

Collaborative working can take various forms. For example, at the more traditional end of the collaborative working spectrum, parties may include contractual commitments to act in a collaborative manner or in good faith. These may be provisions which are ‘bolted-on’ to existing forms of contract,

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About the author:

Sarah specialises in non-contentious construction law. She has extensive experience advising contractors, public- and private-sector employers, consultants, developers and banks on construction projects and in relation to construction contracts and their associated documents. Sarah also has experience advising project companies and construction contractors on PFI projects in various sectors. She qualified at CMS Cameron McKenna before joining Trowers & Hamlins. She subsequently spent nearly five years in the construction & engineering team at Pinsent Masons. For three years prior to joining LexisNexis, Sarah was Commercial Legal Adviser at Wates Group Limited, a major contractor, where she provided legal advice to the business units in relation to pre- and post-contractual commercial activities.