UK government housing-delivery agency Homes England has used NEC contracts to clear and remediate a former industrial site in Havant, southern England for a development of up to 100 new homes.
Owned for over 50 years by building services equipment manufacturer Colt International, the 3 ha site was acquired by Homes England in 2017. Site clearance works were then let in two phases, each of which was under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule). Homes England’s delivery partner Drew Smith Homes, part of Galliford Try, is now building at least 95 new homes on the site in a £22 million development known as Colts Brook.
The £1 million first phase of the enabling works included asbestos removal and disposal, demolition of existing above-ground structures, crushing and grading of demolition material for re-use and ground investigation. This was let to demolition contractor Hughes & Salvidge in January 2018 and was completed on budget and programme in October 2018. The £0.6 million second phase involved an archaeological dig, demolition of below-ground structures, crushing and grading of demolition material for re-use and ground remediation. This was awarded to Drew Smith Homes in August 2019 and was completed on budget and programme in March 2020.
Consulting engineer CampbellReith was appointed as NEC project manager and supervisor on both phases of work. Its success led to the scheme being highly commended for the 2020 NEC Building/FM Project of the Year award.
Clarity and Simplicity
Project manager Michael Chester says NEC3 ECC Option A was chosen due to its reputation for stimulating good communication and management from the outset, as well as giving the employer certainty that the work would be carried out at the agreed prices.
‘NEC’s clear and simple language made the contract easy to follow and administer. In particular, the clarity on the duties of team members and the clause 10.1 obligation to work in “a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation” resulted in a great working relationship between the employer, contractor, project manager and supervisor.’
He said the use of NEC early warning notices added considerable value to the works. ‘Any matter that could affect the time, cost or quality was quickly picked up and discussed in a proactive rather than reactive manner. Also, the clear procedural steps and proactive approach to managing compensation events meant any time and cost issues were dealt with quickly and fairly as they arose.’
For example, he says that in response to comments from the local planning authority, the works information of the first phase was changed to include ground investigation. ‘This change was managed effectively and efficiently under ECC clause 60.0(1). Working collaboratively, the revised scope was quickly defined by our in-house geotechnical team and the contractor rapidly mobilised a geotechnical sub-contractor on site, enabling the investigation to be successfully completed with minimal overall impact on the works.
Supervisor Dicken Maclean also acknowledged the value the NEC brought, particularly clause 10.1. ‘The contractual obligation to collaborate and the clarity on duties of team members really did make what can be a challenging role clear and straightforward.’
Benefits of Using NEC
- NEC3 ECC Option A’s clear and simple language made the contract easy to follow and administer, and gave the employer certainty that the work would be carried out at the agreed prices.
- NEC obligation to work in “a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation” ensured good working relationships between team members.
- NEC early warning process ensured that any matter that could affect time, cost or quality was quickly picked up and discussed proactively, and the compensation event process enabled any time and cost issues to be dealt with quickly and fairly as they arose.