VOSA, Bristol

VOSA, Bristol

The Vehicle Operator and Services Agency’s (VOSA) £5.8m heavy goods vehicle testing centre outside Bristol

This is the first project constructed in the UK using the JCT-Constructing Excellence (JCT/CE) contract. Developed by JCT in collaboration with Constructing Excellence, the contract promotes collaborative and integrated working, providing a single contract form to regulate all the relationships involved in a project. It makes the delivery of a project the joint mission of the entire project team.

“Wow, we finally have a contract that is small, in plain English and suitable for all appointments,” said Joanna Davis, VOSA’s estates modernisation programme manager. “Although small, it has a far greater might in the form of ‘collaboration’ which is at its heart. The collaboration ethos runs throughout the contract and is suitable whether you are a contractor, consultant or sub supplier.”

The heavy goods vehicle testing centre at Bristol is one of VOSA’s largest projects to be completed to date, explained Joanna Davies. “Predominately I have been using this contract on a four year framework of new builds and major refurbishments for VOSA. The project was externally audited by Franklin Andrews with the results giving a startling 13 per cent reduction in cost and a 10 per cent reduction in construction programme from that of a traditional procurement route.

“If that wasn’t enough, the unit cost per square metre has been dropping by 10 per cent over the span of the framework. All the projects were delivered within budget and on time. More importantly, sustainability benefits have been enormous and the building whole life costs for refurbishments has been slashed by 50 per cent. The contractors were set a very difficult target but also managed to reduce construction waste again by 50 per cent over the period of the framework.”

The value of using the JCT/CE contract was underlined when the VOSA project won the Integration and collaborative working award at the national finals of the Constructing Excellence Awards last November.

Joanna Davis concluded: “The new JCT/CE contract will no doubt play a big part in the future of construction as the tide is beginning to turn away from traditional procurement and looking to provide more sustainable construction that is value for money. I would expect a big take-up from government bodies, local authorities and the like, as this is a great way to follow the course that central government has set out. It’s an area where the private sector might learn a few tricks from their government opposite numbers.”