According to a report produced in June by Barbour ABI and the Construction Products Association, construction activity is set to spread throughout the UK – shifting away from London and the South East. Indeed, with the first phase of HS2 due to begin, contractors will be drawn to new opportunities outside of London, as Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol become commutable destinations.
With this in mind, here Patrick Flannelly, our Pre-Contracts Manager, looks at how we approach projects in the North of England.
Whether it’s a sports stadium in London or a commercial development in Manchester, every project will face its own individual set of challenges. Regardless of whether that is time, location or financial restraints, Prater will approach every project in the same way.
Teams of individuals from various departments including operations, planning, design and estimating are all assigned to a project based on relevant skill and availability, however crucially - location is not a determining factor. Patrick explains:
“Fundamentally, we recognise the value of face-to-face meetings. As such, the individuals assigned to a project will meet at least once a week, depending on the size of the project, to discuss and collaborate face-to-face, ensuring the same high level of quality and diligence is met. We also utilise high quality video conferencing tools, to help us to remain in constant contact with the project delivery team and end client, helping us to work collaboratively from locations throughout the UK.
Furthermore, when it comes to establishing that project delivery team, the supply chain is also appointed regardless of the location, to ensure Prater is always able to appoint the best people for the job.”
Although location is not considered a key factor when bidding for or delivering projects, it is important for Prater to have a permanent presence outside of London. This provides clients with a dedicated base to discuss on-going work as well as new opportunities.
As such, this year, and with a number of projects underway in the North of England, Prater opened its new office in Manchester – highlighting its continuing commitment to investing, and working to best meet the needs of its clients regionally.
“The Manchester office was created to further our reach. With the construction of HS2 set to lead to future opportunities in the North of England, we want to be ideally placed for clients,” Patrick concluded. “In addition, we want to be able to tap into the skilled workforce available outside of London. We are a people-focussed organisation and will be working with people based on their skill and expertise, regardless of geography.”