The team behind the Multiplex deal

For more than two years, a team from the Procurement Office and Estates & Commercial Services have been working to secure the right contractor for the construction of our £1billion campus development. With a deal signed last week with global contractor Multiplex, heads of the teams Jo Gallagher and Robbie Smith reflect on the process.

One partner

It has been an intensive time for those working on the procurement for the appointment of a contractor. The team did not opt for a conventional contracting service but have secured one partner who will deliver all of the buildings and infrastructure.

As with all contracts, the University followed the procurement process carefully and an advert hosted on the Public Contract Scotland portal generated seven credible notes of interest. The project team chose to use a process known as competitive dialogue and whilst this is very intensive and requires sufficient resource, it ensures that you can properly engage with the companies tendering. This was critical to ensure we secured a partner rather than just a contractor. After a rigorous evaluation process, the seven were reduced to four then two and subsequently Multiplex were selected as the number one ranked bidder. 

The strategy to procure a single programme delivery partner has meant a new approach for the University which has traditionally gone out to tender for each new building generally resulting in a different contractor for each one. The new approach focuses on making sure we meet the needs of the University; with a focus on coordination of the work minimising the impact on students, staff and neighbours.  

“We have one strategic partner who is going to take us through this whole journey,” said Jo “we felt it was worth taking the time to find the right strategic partner to allow us to focus our energy on the transformation of the campus rather than tendering for each individual building. We also believe that through this approach we can achieve economies of scale and deliver value for money for the University.”

Robbie said: “We are not locked into a set, programme of work but rather have built in a lot of flexibility.”

How they build

A key objective for the project was to build a partnership with a contractor that understood the University and aligned with the vision for the campus development.

“It is not just about what they build; it’s about how they build,” said Robbie. “Their alignment to the University vision, approach and methodology during the construction phase are crucial to a successful experience for all. Students, staff and the local community must come first during the construction and Multiplex understand this.”

Jo added: “The construction phase will bring lots of research opportunities for students from all areas of UofG. We did not just want a company that can build, but one that can also support the University community as they build. Multiplex aim to make the best of the construction period and make it a positive experience.”

One team with a shared vision

Although based in different departments, Jo and Robbie felt collaborating effectively and sharing information was essential for success.   

Jo said: “We don’t see us as being two different teams. We were one team with the same vision working towards the same goal. We recognized each other’s strengths and supported each other throughout the process.

Robbie added, “This team ethos also applied to the wider team which incorporated our external advisers such as costs advisers, project managers and legal advisers.”

An experienced governance board, chaired by Professor Neal Juster, directed the project. The board also benefited from the experience of a lay member of the Estates committee and former lead for the development of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Alan Seabourne.

This is the start

The signing marks a major milestone for the campus development, and Jo said: “This is not the end but the start of the job.”

“This is really the 'kick-off' for the expansion of the campus,’ said Robbie. “Multiplex are enthusiastic to contribute to the University vision on the build of our world changing campus.”

Ann Allen, Director of Estates and Commercial Services said: “We secured a delivery partner who I believe will engage with students and researchers where possible. However, they also understand the need to minimise the impact of the construction work on staff and students.This has been achieved because of the work of Estates and Procurement who took a one-team approach. I believe this positive and professional approach has been key to securing the right deal for UofG. There was a clear respect and confidence across every member of the team that meant they were able to test and challenge each other’s thinking.I am very grateful to everyone who has supported the team including Prof Neal Juster, Alan Seabourne and our external advisors. In particular, I would thank the team for their tenacity and commitment as it has taken many hours of focused hard work to secure this appointment. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen.”

The team behind the deal: Ann Allen (Director of Estates and Commerical Services ), Jo Gallagher (Head of Procurement), Peter Haggarty (Deputy Director of Estates), David Hall (Head of Construction and Project Management), Margo Livingstone (Office Administrator), Robbie Smith (Project Director), Kathy Watson (Purchasing Office Administrator). Alongside our technical adviser’s Currie and Brown and Faithful and Gould and legal providers CMS and with lots of helpful input from staff, students and local community groups.

First published: 30 May 2017

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