Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Supply-led procurement

I am interested in how new developments to procurement and business practice will impact roles in construction projects. For example, I can see a strong and compelling case for distancing architects from the construction process even further than they are now, so that their focus would be more on the art and less on the technicalities of building. I am developing my research along the lines of Supply-led procurement (a more robust development of the industrialized building agenda). This basically means handing over responsibility for innovation (and the rewards for innovation) to the supply chain. Either architects become more technical and get involved commercially with innovative producers of technical solutions, or they step aside from the commercial process completely, and develop a more advisory role. The idea of an architect co-ordinating and certifying work in progress may become a thing of the past. Indeed, I would like to go further and suggest that construction work should not be based around labour and materials paid for on a work-in-progress basis. The supply chain has an opportunity to get its act together and become truly innovative and integrated. It may be that architects and the professions are the main obstacles to developing new models of finance, new contracting methods and new business models. What would a fit-for-purpose construction sector look like in the Third Millennium? What kind of obligations are suppliers willing to take on, in return for a closer relationship with construction clients and users, and the opportunities to introduce technological innovations without having to route their work through layers of intermediaries?

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