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Polypipe’s C3 Alliance seeks paradigm shift

Polypipe is one of the founding members of the C3 Alliance, a group of manufacturers, contractors and developers that aims to boost productivity and value on construction projects through early collaboration.

Polypipe is founding member of the C3 Alliance, formed to deliver collaboration and choice to construction.

By bringing all those involved in a building together on day one, C3 hopes to influence design and procurement decisions to create schemes that deliver higher returns on investment and better outcomes for those using the buildings.

Steve Durdant-Hollamby, divisional managing director, Polypipe civils and infrastructure, said: “The C3 Alliance is championing one of our main goals: to be involved much earlier in the process so that we can contribute to true value engineering.

“Value engineering should not be about cutting cost in the latter stages of a project; it should be about delivering more with less through bringing together competent people early enough.”

The way that surface water is managed, collected and – where possible – re-used can have a huge impact, not only on construction costs and sequencing, but on the way that a development is configured.

By having experts on hand to help explore what is technically possible developers and designers can optimise the way a building is configured and constructed. For instance, substituting a green and blue roof for an underground water attenuation tank could free up more space for development, improve biodiversity and enhance well-being.

C3 Alliance – so called because its objective is to create an alliance that focuses on Construction, Choice and Collaboration – enjoyed its official launch in September 2019 at the Mittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park.

Mark Farmer, author of The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model, aka Modernise or Die; was one of those to speak to the 120-plus people attending the event. One of Mr Farmer’s recommendations in his 2016 analysis of the UK construction’s labour model was that the industry should adopt a more collaborative, assembly-led approach to constructing buildings.

Traditional lowest-price-wins procurement models lead to wasteful redesign, interface issues and re-work as elements of a building are specified, substituted and defined in an ad hoc, piecemeal fashion as a project advances. Component-based design removes these inefficiencies and sits far more comfortably in a BIM or digital construction environment because a development’s actual components can be plugged into the model from day one.

The C3 Alliance is part of the Allneeds Group and is led by managing director Tony Ball, formerly commercial director for Berkeley Homes. The Allneeds Group also includes IBC which uses the collective strength of its 200-plus independent builders merchant members to leverage economies of scale and price stability.

Mr Ball said: “Our goal is to enable early engagement which will benefit all, by bringing developers, contractors, manufacturers and investors together as early in the process as possible. It’s not about buying cheaper, it’s about value and buying better.”

3 December 2019

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