Construction Thought Leadership Seminar Series - June 2019

At the latest construction thought leadership seminar on, our panelists – Jeremy Hay, Simon Barnes and Mark Crosbie – shared their views on the current issues affecting construction projects in New Zealand, and discussed the framework for strong project governance, management and administration.

Key points include:

  1. Find the project sponsor – the person who has skin in the game. Someone who is invested and can make and own decisions when needed.

As with all people in the project team make sure they have the leadership skills or are otherwise supported in getting them – with training or additional resource – people or systems to fill in what’s missing.

2. Define measurable project objectives early, get sponsor agreement, and continue to assess performance against these goals.

You cannot measure project success if you do not define it.

3. The big three for a project governor:

  • Information – getting the right information at the right time
  • Systems and controls – set-up, audit and ‘testing’/challenging
  • Accountability – ‘owning’ the project

All in aid of overseeing, controlling and decision making in the project

4. Invest in the project structure and team – both in the time to set up the structure, as well as the money to get the experience (fair and proportionate). You (should) get what you pay for.

Appoint the best team (not cheapest) to design and deliver your project, they will cost 10-15% of the project budget, but define 85-90% of the project outcome.

5. Set projects up to succeed, or at least don’t fetter them from the outset.

Set realistic programmes, this (should) produce complete design documentation, which will give your contractor the best chance of succeeding.

6. Create a positive culture that is focussed on the project’s success, and a project team that is able to deal with project challenges together.

Where there’s not – or where there’s a project issue – then make sure that the project team is empowered to call it out. Wouldn’t you want to know if your project is in a sub-optimal position as soon as you could and be able to do something about it?

7. Get an experienced and effective Engineer to the contract (relative to the scale and complexity of your project).

Don’t believe that ‘you can’t buy experience’; you can and you should.

8. Make sure both parties understand what the Engineer’s role is in the project, and which role the Engineer is performing at any given time.

This can be the single biggest cause of misunderstanding of the Engineer.

9. Ensure that the Engineer earns the respect of both parties and treats them fairly and with respect.

This can allow the Engineer to earn the trust of the parties, and so defuse disagreements before they become disputes, among other things.

10. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata !  (It is the people, it is the people, it is the people !)

It’s the most important thing in the world – and in projects; invest in people so they can invest in the project.

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