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Procurement 'Sets The Tone"


Construction and building project materials have issues that can become risks; and risks become disasters if not identified and prevented.


Dame Judith Hackitt’s 2018 review of the Grenfell Tower disaster identified procurement as “setting the tone” for relationships between clients, designers and contactors. She writes, “inadequate specifications, focus on low cost or adversarial contracting, can make it difficult (and most likely, more expensive) to produce a safe building”.

Procurement has emerged from the review as a key leader and influencer in the construction and building process with its role as supply chain experts and specialists elevated.


The recent CIPS investigation into the Grenfell Tower Disaster has raised significant areas for improvement, with procurement as a key leader and influencer in the process. This has raised procurement’s role as supply chain experts and specialists (see the full CIPS article here)


In the wake of Hackitt’s review an Industry Response Group was set up to focus on improving competencies across various aspects of tall buildings, and last summer CIPS’ Group Director, Duncan Brock, was invited to chair the procurement working group. He was shocked at the culture of low-cost, low-margin, late-payment procurement, with no trust in suppliers and contractors. “Terrible practices I shudder at,” he said. “When you cut corners in construction you’re compromising safety.” 


From the Group’s work CIPS produced a ‘competence framework’ that states “there must be someone with a comprehensive level of procurement competency in decision making at every stage of the building process”. New regulations are expected from government to support this. They will require people carrying out procurement for high risk residential buildings to be accredited.


“We’ve got to get to a more balanced approach to decision making, not just one that’s driven by cash and profit. If you do it right, you protect people, and you can include sustainability and social value. You can make a difference through good procurement,” Brock explained. 


Procurement Central offer a 10 point audit plan to assess your procurement and buying functions including Compliance, People Skills, Disruption

We also provide training courses and solutions to manage these risks, you can find more information on this here:


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