Preaching to the (nearly) converted

Today saw Provesta speaking at the Building Business For Our Region event in a windswept and wet Bridlington on the usually glorious Yorkshire coast.

Ven Management's Target initiative have organised a series of seminars aimed at SME's in the construction industry and the roomful of delegates that turned out at 9:00am in such miserable weather seemed determined to get something from the event. Hopefully the speakers left them with something to take away and utilise in their business.

Wendy Ashton from Target introduced the day after the obligatory bacon sandwiches.

Nigel Leighton, the Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council discussed what motivates his local authority when they are procuring buildings from schools to offices. He was keen to get across the message that they are open to any business as long as fulfil the requirements of quality and protecting public expenditure. The frameworks now coming into play give the council more surety that they are partnering with and employing the right people for the job.

Wendy Ashton took the podium again to outline what Target is all about and how they were set up to bring together firms in the construction sector and provide them with tools and knowledge to improve their business and find their way into projects that they might not be able to easily access or find.

Lee Parkinson of Parkinson Procurement Solutions leads the YORbuild programme that is now leading all the construction procurement for the four local authorities in East Riding, Leeds, Rotherham and Scarborough, harnessing much of the £1.2 billion of public construction expenditure in the region. Lee provided the latest position on YORbuild with a detailed explanation of how contractors, consultants and suppliers can get involved in the framework arrangements that will be used to procure in future. Interestingly it seems that YORbuild is gaining itself a reputation as other public bodies outside the original organisations are approaching YORbuild to make use of the framework.

Tony Carroll of Provesta (that's me) then gave a run down of some of the practical measures that firms can look at to improve the quality of their bids. By making their company more skilled, knowledgeable, visible and transparent they can become a more attractive prospect to potential employers by ensuring that they use the talents already within the firm, get new ability where required, and then engage with employers and clients and the community. 

Andrew McCormick of Hobson and Porter provided an insight into where future work was to be found and what was required of suppliers that wanted to work with his firm, especially regarding accreditations and skills.

Anne Chamberlain, leads the project management team at East Riding of Yorkshire Council where they have adopted the NEC form of contract on most of their construction projects. Her potted run-down of the contract and how it is implemented explained how they used it to keep on top of project progress, expenditure and amendments.

Finally, Jonathan Cheng of Resource Efficiency Yorkshire / Groundwork UK outlined the myriad legislation and practice requirements that construction businesses need to be aware of in order to meet the current and forthcoming environmental standards. Groundwork are currently running a series of environmental management programmes targeted at helping SME's devise and implement their own environmental standards.

The slides from the "Connect With Clients - Give Them What They Want" presentation can be found on Slideshare.