Voluntary arrangements for collaborative working in the field of construction services Construction services: voluntary arrangements
COM(97) 539 on the competitiveness of the construction industry and the Lead Market Initiative "Sustainable Construction" have raised some concerns about the traditional structures of responsibilities and the related performances of the sector.
Within this context, the Commission has financed a study aimed at assessing the benefits of specific types of collaborative approaches to project delivery and their compatibility with EU policies and legislations (public procurement, competition rules, SMEs policy, etc.). The action was based on an analysis of the initiatives already undertaken and the experience gained in 7 countries to promote collaborative approaches. A good practice guide, including 21 case studies, was developed during the course of the project.
The study showed that 40% of the construction turnover, representing the larger and more complex projects, could in principle benefit from the introduction of collaborative relationships. The potential direct impact could be equivalent to 3-4% of the construction turnover in the EU or 0.2-0.3 % of the EU GDP. Collaborative approaches could provide greater assurance of delivery on time and budget, address difficulties and conflicts in a more efficient manner, and better enforce quality and sustainability objectives in construction projects.
About the compatibility with EU policies and legislations, the analysis of national experiences and further consultation did not reveal any significant risk of collusion with respect to public procurement requirements. One specific consideration is that the openness associated with collaborative ways of working is itself a defence against inappropriate behaviour. However, there is a strong perception in some Member States that the local interpretation of public procurement requirements could inhibit the use of collaborative approaches. The interests of SMEs can be safeguarded and even some forms of arrangements may offer them a more secure business environment than in normal business practices.
Through the consultation of a number of stakeholders, it was possible to identify the schemes which attract greatest interest in countries where collaborative approaches are not widespread. The main features of a promotional campaign were identified and developed, including for countries where there is already a good awareness of collaborative approaches. The promotion of these approaches would require a full understanding of regulatory and commercial practices in the respective countries. Moreover, it is essential to integrate this promotion into the development of a wider competitiveness agenda and a core set of indicators to monitor and assess the performances of the construction supply chain.