Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland has adopted NEC to procure its entire facilities management services requirement. Let in 2020, its eight-year NEC4 Term Service Contract (TSC) contract was runner-up in the 2022 NEC Building and Facilities Management Contract of the Year award.
In 2018 the university’s campus services team decided to pursue an integrated facilities management approach to bring together its existing fragmented services arrangements, including those provided in-house. With support from Space Solutions FM, it subsequently tendered and let a £6 million NEC4 TSC option A (priced contract with price list) to service provider Atalian Servest covering the period 2022 to 2028.
The integrated contract covers ‘soft’ services such as cleaning, window cleaning, hygiene and pest control; ‘hard’ services such as mechanical, electrical and fabric maintenance; and security services including manned guarding and front-of-house.
Bruce Laing, deputy director of campus services, says it was identified early on in the procurement process that adopting the NEC4 TSC would be the most appropriate option for the university. ‘We believed NEC4 TSC and its obligation on the parties to work in a, “spirit of mutual trust and co-operation,” would best enable us to achieve our objectives. These included integrating facilities support provision to allow a more flexible and responsive service, and engaging all parties in a collaborative working relationship to drive efficient service delivery.’
He says early adoption and implementation of NEC4 TSC ensured a highly collaborative, professional and efficient relationship throughout the contract phases. ‘We participated in regular meetings and training sessions with representatives from all contracting parties, and this resulted in a common understanding of shared goals, an ethos of team spirit and a desire to achieve continuous improvement in the output of the contract.’
Laing says a ‘one team approach’ was formally adopted as the overarching principle by which all interactions took place. ‘Performance standards have been improved as evidenced by continuous monitoring of outputs and satisfaction surveys. Initiatives such as co-location of staff, a relocated helpdesk, integrated staff training sessions, informal meetings and joint planning sessions all contributed to a collaborative environment based on good communication and trust.’
He adds that agreed NEC service level agreements and key performance indicators helped both parties measure and monitor key areas as part of a collaborative approach used to drive enhanced service delivery outcomes. ‘The collaborative approach to service delivery resulted in overall efficiency savings, underpinned by the principles of the NEC4 approach to contract management.’
Service manager role
Laing says the independent TSC service manager role helped to ensure appropriate use of all key NEC4 contract mechanisms and processes. ‘For example, the service manager ensured all documentation such as registers, logs and trackers required by the contract were updated, stored and communicated to the relevant parties in a timely manner. They also ensured appropriate and timely contract reporting and associated communications, including monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings, were used in accordance with NEC4 TSC requirements.‘
He says other roles carried out by the service manager included recording, reporting and managing key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure optimum service provider performance and client satisfaction. ‘The service manager introduced appropriate contract management software and tools to help with the process of managing the contract and monitoring service level agreements and KPIs, and their independent and unbiased auditing processes helped to ensure full compliance with contractual requirements.’
Laing concludes, ‘The TSC service manager brought the necessary expertise and professionalism to support our procurement, enabling us to transition to NEC4 TSC and benefit from its collaborative approach. With ongoing contract management support, all parties continue to meet their contractual obligations while maximising the benefits that come from efficient procedural and contractual governance provided by NEC4 TSC.’
Benefits of using NEC
- NEC4 TSC enabled the client to integrate all its facilities management services into a single, more flexible and responsive contract based on a collaborative working approach, resulting in overall efficiency savings.
- NEC4 TSC requirement to act in a, ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ ensured a highly collaborative, professional and efficient relationship between the parties.
- NEC service level agreements and key performance indicators helped both parties measure and monitor key areas as part of a collaborative approach used to drive enhanced service delivery outcomes.
- NEC TSC service manager role helped to ensure optimum service provider performance and client satisfaction.