Centrally procured public projects
Centrally procured public projects are those public sector construction projects that follow the end-to-end purchasing methods of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS). The CCS was established in 2010 to move the Government to a system which buys common goods and services once on behalf of the whole of government and not just individual departments. The CCS is the largest public procurement organisation in the UK.
Centrally procured public projects are required to adopt the lean sourcing principles for all but the most complex projects. Complex projects are defined as those “where the specification is difficult to define or is complex or innovative, the procurement is high risk, the competition is restricted to a limited market, the contract will be based on unusual commercial models (e.g. Private Finance Initiative or a Private Public Partnership variant) or where the procurement involves spend in a number of categories”.
In May 2011, the Government published the Government Construction Strategy. It was prepared by the Efficiency and Reform Group, working with the Construction Sector Unit of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), and Infrastructure UK (IUK). The strategy was overseen by the Government Construction Board.
The intention of the strategy was to reduce the cost of public sector construction by up to 20% by the end of the parliament and to stimulate growth in construction. It acknowledged that whilst public sector construction projects accounted for 40% of the £110bn per annum expenditure on construction in the UK, the Government had not been very effective at exploiting this enormous purchase power.
Previous findings from (amongst others - see construction industry reports) the Latham Report (Constructing the Team, 1994) and the Egan Report (Rethinking Construction, 1998) had exposed poor and inconsistent procurement practices leading to waste and inefficiency. Therefore, the Government Construction Strategy set out measures by which the government could make better use of its power and at the same time, lead what it saw as much needed changes in the industry.
The strategy called for '…a profound change in the relationship between public authorities and the construction industry to ensure the Government consistently gets a good deal and the country gets the social and economic infrastructure it needs for the long-term…'
One of the major components of GCS 2011-15 was its mandate requiring fully collaborative 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic by 2016. More specifically, this established a minimum requirement for Level 2 BIM on all centrally procured public projects. BIM Level 2 involves developing building information in a collaborative 3D environment with data attached, but created in separate discipline models.
The strategy for adopting BIM Level 2 for centrally procured public projects was broadly welcomed, but there was some scepticism about whether the Government would follow it through and how the roll out of BIM would be implemented. There was also some criticism that the increasing use of large, long-term contracts and framework agreements might act as a barrier to entry to new suppliers, which might become a barrier to innovation.
Under the leadership of the BIM Working Group, there would be additional, more ambitious measures to enable departments to derive further benefits from BIM, enabling departments to gradually move to BIM Level 3. This will involve allowing team members to access and modify a single, shared project model, held centrally.
The next generation of digital standards were developed to facilitate BIM Level 3 under the remit of the Digital Built Britain Strategy. As of 2021, the efforts of Digital Built Britain to drive the next stage of BIM adoption have been picked up by the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB).
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BIM level 2.
- BIM maturity levels.
- Crown Commercial Service CCS.
- Digital Built Britain.
- Digital Built Britain v BIM.
- Government construction strategy.
- Government Construction Strategy 2011 2015.
- Government Construction Strategy 2016 2020.
- Latham report.
- Public project definition.
- Northern Ireland’s Central Procurement Directorate issues standard Z clauses for the NEC3.