NEC has been used to procure a key part of a major town-centre regeneration project in Nottinghamshire, UK. Broxtowe Borough Council let the £10 million design and construction for phase 2 of the Beeston town centre regeneration scheme to contractor Bowmer and Kirkland under an NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule).
The project involved providing a steel-frame brick-clad shell for an eight-screen cinema complex and five retail and food units as part of the wider £50 million Beeston Square development. Work started in December 2019 and, despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, was completed just one month later than originally planned in January 2021. The 700-seat Arc Cinema opened in May 2021.
The architect was Leonard Design Architects and the NEC project manager was Faithful and Gould.
Collaboration and mutual trust
Rob Malik, senior project manager at Faithful and Gould, says his firm advised the council at the outset to use NEC due to the benefits of collaboration and mutual trust. ‘In terms of payment mechanism, we recommended the fixed-price ECC Option A as, together with the client and contractor, we were able to identify and mitigate all project risks and issues at an early pre-contract stage.’
He says the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 inevitably had an impact on the programme. ‘This was primarily due to lockdown limitations on site works and delays in the delivery of materials. However, through exemplary NEC-inspired collaboration and team working, we were able to confine this to just a one-month delay.’
Malik says the project team continued to meet virtually during lockdown. ‘This helped to ensure site safety and support design continuity prior to assisting the contractor with a safe return to site. We also agreed with the contractor that delay charges and extension of time requests would not apply.’
Large number of stakeholders
He says the contract was unusually complex to administer due to the large number of stakeholders, including all the prospective tenants. ‘We therefore used Sypro Contract Manager software to help administer NEC contract processes such as early warnings and compensation events.’
Malik says in total there were 38 early warning notices and 28 compensation events ‘All early warnings and compensation events were notified and resolved within the required timeframes − and well before the end of the contract. This provided the client with real-time visibility on cost and programme throughout the works.’
He adds that the contractor enthusiastically embraced the NEC clause 10 requirement to act in a, ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’. ‘In addition to collaborating fully with the delivery team, the contractor went out of its way to engage with the local community, including recruiting local apprentices and helping to set up a local heroes art trail. It has been a pleasure to work with them.’
Benefits of using NEC
- NEC obligation on parties to act in a, ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ ensured full collaboration within the project team.
- ECC Option A provided the client with the assurance of a fixed-price contract with full control of changes to scope.
- NEC early warning and compensation event processes and timescales gave the client real-time visibility on cost and programme through the works.
- Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, NEC inspired collaboration helped ensure the project was delivered within one month of the original completion date.