Last edited 01 Jul 2016

OGC gateway review 4

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has now been absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office.

When it existed, the OGC produced a great deal of guidance about best practice in procurement and project management. This OGC guidance has now been archived, however, it is still cited in the new Government Construction Strategy and the revised Common Minimum Standards (to become the 'Construction Standards') and links are still provided from government websites such as the Major Projects Authority. The OGC gateway review process still provides one of the best and most comprehensive sets of guidance for public projects. It is for this reason that the project plan for public projects within Designing Buildings Wiki follows the OGC gateway review process. See Public project: outline work plan.

The procurement routes preferred by the Government Construction Strategy and described by the OGC gateway review process are private finance initiative (PFI), prime contracting and design and build (see OGC Achieving Excellence Guide 6:Procurement and contract strategies). The Government Construction Strategy states that traditional procurement routes that separate design from construction should not be used unless it can be demonstrated that they offer better value for money.

The three preferred routes involve appointing a single integrated supply team (including designers, contractors, suppliers and perhaps facilities managers) after the project brief has been prepared, before design commences. This means that the main decision to invest (i.e. to appoint the integrated supply team), takes place before any designs have been prepared.

The OGC Gateway Review process offers a structure for projects following these procurement routes, based around a series of independent peer reviews carried out at key stages to verify that projects should be allowed to progress to the next stage.

These peer reviews, or 'gateway reviews' are commissioned on a confidential basis by the Senior Responsible Owner:

There are also two additional decision points specific to building projects:

In practice, some of the design work leading up to these decision points is likely to be carried out during the tender process (or bidding process on PFI projects).

OGC state that the purpose of gateway review 4: readiness for service is to:

  • Check that the current phase of the contract is properly completed and documentation completed.
  • Ensure that the contractual arrangements are up-to-date.
  • Check that the Business Case is still valid and unaffected by internal and external events or changes.
  • Check that the original projected business benefit is likely to be achieved.
  • Ensure that there are processes and procedures to ensure long-term success of the project.
  • Confirm that all necessary testing is done (e.g. commissioning of buildings, business integration and user acceptance testing) to the client’s satisfaction and that the client is ready to approve implementation.
  • Check that there are feasible and tested business contingency, continuity and/or reversion arrangements.
  • Ensure that all ongoing risks and issues are being managed effectively and do not threaten implementation.
  • Evaluate the risk of proceeding with the implementation where there are any unresolved issues.
  • Confirm the business has the necessary resources and that it is ready to implement the services and the business change.
  • Confirm that the client and supplier implementation plans are still achievable.
  • Confirm that there are management and organisational controls to manage the project through implementation and operation.
  • Confirm that contract management arrangements are in place to manage the operational phase of the contract.
  • Confirm arrangements for handover of the project from the SRO to the operational business owner.
  • Confirm that all parties have agreed plans for training, communication, rollout, production release and support as required.
  • Confirm that all parties have agreed plans for managing risk.
  • Confirm that there are client-side plans for managing the working relationship, with reporting arrangements at appropriate levels in the organisation, reciprocated on the supplier side.
  • Confirm information assurance accreditation/certification.
  • Confirm that defects or incomplete works are identified and recorded.
  • Check that lessons for future projects are identified and recorded.
  • Evaluation of actions taken to implement recommendations made in any earlier assessment of deliverability.

Ref OGC gateway process review 4: readiness for service.

According to OGC, the tasks that should be undertaken prior to gateway review 4: 'readiness for service' should include:

  • Construction begins.
  • Ongoing regular review by IPT (integrated project team) senior management to address major issues arising.
  • Monitor and report on progress against contract programme; issue monthly project progress reports.
  • Check work against specification; test materials. Ensure implementation of quality assurance system.
  • Manage expenditure of risk allowance; maintain latest estimated cost and cash flow; initiate action to avoid overspend; issue monthly financial status reports; submit high level reports to senior management.
  • Ensure payments are made in line with contractual arrangements. Note: for PFI (private finance initiative) and PDS (Private Developer Scheme) projects, payment does not begin until facility is ready for use.
  • If required, use alternative dispute resolution procedures agreed in partnering charter to resolve disputes. See OGC guidance on alternative dispute resolution.
  • Maintain records of site activities; daily diary; site instructions; inspection and test results.
  • Establish commissioning team; carry out commissioning programme at the earliest opportunity in the construction phase and during the course of the work, rather than just before handover; check programme and coordinate with overall programme; confirm/witness commissioning. Prepare for handover and operation, including 'decant' as appropriate.
  • Check quality of work, defects, completeness and performance. Record results; and fix any defects.
  • Ensure that all specified deliverables (such as operating and maintenance manuals, health and safety file) are delivered by IPT (integrated project team) and fit for purpose.
  • Issue certificates required on completion.
  • Review the acceptability of the completed project. Aim to agree final account as close completion as possible. Handover to client (unless ongoing management of facility under contract).
  • Confirm that construction is complete in accordance with the contract. Confirm that the facility is ready for service; confirm the client's readiness to take on the facility.

ref OGC: Achieving Excellence Guide 3 - Project Procurement Lifecycle P14.

For a detailed description of the sequence of tasks necessary on public projects, see the free work plan available from Designing Buildings Wiki: Public project: outline work plan. Gateway review 4 takes place at the end of the work stage: Public project: construction. This is because OGC state that... .

..for property/construction projects, this Review takes place after the project has been approved as ready for use. Commissioning will have taken place, although this will not be completed until after occupation, as systems are re-balanced to take account of the effect of occupancy.

ref OGC Gateway™ Process Review 4: Readiness for service P8.

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