Use of Best Practices in Construction
Summary of a Presentation by Hans Van Winkle
Director, Construction Industry Institute
The Construction Industry Institute (CII) is a consortium of leading owners, contractors, suppliers, and academia interested in improving the constructed project and the capital investment process. CII’s mission is to improve the business effectiveness of the capital facilities lifecycle, including safety, quality, schedule, cost, security, reliability and operability. CII meets its mission by gathering owners, contractors, the supply chain, and the best minds in the academic world to solve problems in the construction industry, including dispute resolution.
CII defines a best practice as a process or method that, when executed effectively, leads to enhanced project performance. To qualify, a practice must be sufficiently proven through extensive industry use and/or validation.
Traditional tactics will not solve the disputes of modern business. In the construction industry, organizations have begun adopting best practices, including dispute resolution, with good results. Furthermore, industry data indicate that those who use best practices reduce the potential for conflict, improve safety and business practices, and develop better project relationships. Approaches such as partnering, dispute resolution boards, and mediation are more relevant and thus part of the CII philosophy.
In pursuing its mission, CII has developed many best practices, including:
Planning for start-up,
Zero accidents techniques,
Implementation of products,
Project delivery method and contracting strategy.
If a project is conceived from the beginning with these best practices in mind, then the need for dispute resolution may be minimized or avoided altogether. The most valuable best practices are those that prevent or resolve disputes as early as possible at the project level and under the control of those directly involved.
CII’s best practices have had beneficial results for CII members and others in terms of safety, cost, and schedule. Indeed, safety has been a signature issue for CII. Safety on the jobsite is important in and of itself but also because it affects other areas such as project performance, workforce development and acquisition. CII member companies that use best practice approaches for safety fare almost seven times better than non-member companies.
Project schedule data are less conclusive and more difficult to define. The CII database indicates that best practices produce fewer results for project schedule than for other parameters. This is an issue because schedule is becoming increasingly important. Companies are under increasing pressure to produce new products, modify existing ones, and develop new processes faster than ever, all of which affect project schedules.
Saudi Aramco is a good model for how best practices produce good results. The company claims to have saved more than $500 million in 2002 at their Herod Gas Plant by incorporating best practices. They achieved such results by dedicating staff to explore the best practices of CII and other organizations and by adapting these to their industry.
It is important to educate the construction industry about the benefits of best practices. To this end, CII has an active program to help members deal with issues such as risk allocation, contracting strategy, and benchmarking. Also, good pre-project planning and good procedures and processes will diminish opportunities for disputes.
Construction Industry Institute (CII). Available online at www.construction-institute.org.
CII. Disputes Potential Index, Special Publication 23-3, CII, Austin, Texas, 1995.
CII. Benchmarking and Metrics Implementation Toolkit. Available online at www.ciibenchmarking.org/toolkit.
Dispute Prevention and Resolution Research Team, Dispute Prevention and Resolution Techniques in the Construction Industry, Research Summary 23-1, University of Texas at Austin, Construction Industry Institute, Austin, Texas, 1995.