John Linsdell, General Manager of BA Consult, took to the Main Stage at the NEC as a panellist discussing collaboration within the commercial construction supply chain on 18th October, the first day of UK Construction Week 2016.

The panel had a bias towards the early stages of a project with architects and professional standard setting bodies forming the majority of the panel.

John brought a “real life” edge to the discussion citing his early involvement in the Building Down Barriers project in the late 1990s as a first step towards collaboration within the construction industry.

Barriers to collaboration were debated, including tender awards being made on cost rather than quality of supply chain, and trust being a difficult barrier to overcome.

A brief discussion on BIM was held as a good example of the whole construction industry working collaboratively together, although it still has some way to go.

Each panellist was then asked to give a real life illustration of collaboration and John gave the only example explaining how, when work on the British Museum was announced as entirely accident free, a celebration get together was held. The interesting thing was that operatives from all trades, seemed to know and get on with each other; collaboration as a natural occurrence of working alongside each other on site.

Much of the discussion focussed on collaboration being led “top down” and this is absolutely essential. Maybe, though there is also something to be learnt from the British Museum example of “ground roots” level collaboration.

As John said, “Everyone needs to buy in and work together.