On Monday 17 June, NEC welcomed delegates from around the globe to its Users’ Group Annual Seminar 2019. With a fantastic line up of speakers it promised to be a great event. The day proved this was the case. Dr. David Hancock opened the event by welcoming a global audience from Australia, Hong Kong, Belgium, South Africa and New Zealand. He outlined the challenges the UK construction industry currently face with the imminent exit from the EU and shared his optimism that, with the resiliency of the UK market, these challenges can be overcome.
Mr S. H. Lam, Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Development Bureau, HKSAR, was our first guest speaker discussing the 10-year journey of NEC in Hong Kong. He said NEC had brought the words “trust” and “collaboration” into the Hong Kong construction industry. Since then there has been an evolution in the mindset towards a culture of collaboration and over the 10 years, Hong Kong has had 158 NEC contracts launched.
Following on was Albert Cheng, Executive Director of Construction Industry Council (CIC) Hong Kong. Albert shared that CIC had a long “mutual and collaborative” partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers. He touched on the challenges faced by the local practitioners and highlighted that over 65% of companies have been or are currently involved in NEC projects in the Hong Kong Construction market.
Ian Cowling, Head of Commercial Services, BAM Nuttall Ltd, talked through the previous adversarial climate of construction and how NEC has addressed this. However, even with NEC3 he used several examples of his time as the President of Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors working with contractors and the creative ways people within the industry utilised Z clauses to shift the risk allocation that was considered bad behaviour. He also stated the changes in NEC4 which helped negate some of these previous bad behaviours.
Mark Enzer, Chief Technology Officer, Mott MacDonald followed with the importance of digital transformation and stated statistics from McKinsey research that the construction industry currently has some of the lowest rates of digitisation, along with agriculture and hunting. He quotes that “productivity in manufacturing has nearly doubled, whereas in construction it has remained flat.” He spoke in detail what digital transformation looks like and could mean for the construction market.
After the morning networking break, NEC featured three spotlight case studies from building, transport and water. The building spotlight was delivered by Nisha Desai and Frank Randles from Mace, with Andrew Wilkson from Arup on the use of NEC for the Lima 2019, Pan American and Para Pan American games. The project overcame tough challenges with 19 new venues needing to be built with an immovable deadline of 18 months with the support of NEC contracts.. The transport spotlight was from Phillip Bennett at Network Rail on using NEC to deliver a digital railway. The new digital railway will pave the way for the future and NEC4 helps Network Rail set the right environment for the works. Our water spotlight was from Jackie Roe at Thames Tideway Tunnel, who discussed the importance of the new Super Sewer, the complications of drilling into four different types of rock and what it will mean for London’s growing population when the new sewer is built.
Dafydd Wyn Owen took the stage next to shed light on NEC in Australia. He spoke about the new Partnering 4 Success program Sydney Water has launched and the reasons behind choosing to use NEC4 in the new program. His presentation outlined the level of investment in infrastructure from the Australian government on the east coast and the opportunity for NEC in the near future.
Anne Kinder, Senior Consultant, Nodus Solutions Ltd, and Ross Hayes, NEC4 Consultant, drafter and trainer updated the audience with the upcoming Facilities Management Contract and its importance in boosting productivity.
In the afternoon, the delegates were invited to join a breakout session of their choice. The workshops covered topics ranging from subcontracting with NEC, managing change under NEC4 TSC, building a digital contract tool for NEC, and gave the delegates the opportunity to meet the drafters of NEC4.
The day was closed by Debbie Abrahams MP on late payments to SMEs. She mentioned the collapse of Carillion with many on the brink is a signal for change. She believes that the use of a project bank account should be mandatory for projects over £500,000.
NEC want to thank everyone who attended, sponsored, supported and spoke at the event. We will continue to showcase NEC’s global reach via our interactive world map which debuted at the seminar and will be launched on our website soon. We look forward to seeing everyone in 2020. View more upcoming events here.