Trust, Relationships, and Clear Objectives


“Collaboration: how Argent developed its successful way of working” was the title of the JCT Povey Lecture 2016, given by Tony Giddings at The Building Centre, London on Thursday 10 November.

Tony Giddings described how Argent’s collaborative approach has led to the successful delivery of over £1.2bn worth of construction projects, including Brindleyplace in Birmingham, Thames Valley Park in Reading, Piccadilly Place in Manchester and recently, the redevelopment of the 69-acre site at King’s Cross in London.

Tony identified a number of factors that, in Argent’s case, were crucial to ensuring that a collaborative working philosophy could be successfully implemented throughout the project team. This focused on trust, establishing good and lasting relationships, and setting clear objectives and responsibilities:

“Form the team: as the client you are the catalyst for the form of relationship that’s formed on a project […] you’re the one who’s actually going to make the team work together well.

“Too often, we as clients don’t really tell the architect how far we want them to go […] I’m quite clear about it. Similarly with the consultants […] define those duties.

“Retain them [the team] if they are any good […] you always will make mistakes on a project, if you make mistakes on that project, you’re not likely to make it again on the next one. […] And every building’s a prototype, so the more you can bring along the same team and work time and time again, the better.”

Tony Gidding’s final project with Argent, before stepping down this year, was the redevelopment of the 69-acre site at King’s Cross, London. With a significant amount of the development given for use by the local community, including areas for retail and public leisure, affordable housing, and a new building for the University of the Arts, Tony explained how a collaborative approach can move beyond just the project team, to ensure investment from all parties:

“Collaboration is not just collaboration within our industry in terms of delivery. It’s also collaborating with the local authority, the planning authority, the end users, the funders, the landowners. It’s all about collaboration. And doesn’t that make sense?”

A video of Tony Giddings’ Povey Lecture can be viewed at:

The JCT Povey Lecture is an annual event at which an eminent person is invited to give their thoughts on significant matters that are relevant to the construction and property industry. The purpose of the lecture is to stimulate thought and encourage ways of continuing to improve the quality and value of construction output.

The event was inaugurated in 2003 to acknowledge and pay tribute to Philip Povey, who served JCT for fifty years. More information is at: