Best Practice Project Assessment Scheme: five ordinary words that trip off the tongue so effortlessly as to belie the real power they hold for the betterment of the construction industry.
The Scheme will allow the cidb to assess 14 best practice areas for private and public sector construction clients, thus promoting professionalism and growth of the emerging sector. These standards are being phased in gradually to create a comprehensive suite of guidelines for optimum performance. Ishmail Cassiem, cidb Manager in the Construction Industry Performance Unit, lives and breathes the Scheme, which took its first step with the November 2017 publication for public comment of draft Regulation amendments.
His is a world where standards are king and all practices are the very best. And the Scheme is the ultimate arbiter. ‘It will empower us to determine whether clients have adopted cidb best practices and guidelines,’ Ishmail explains. To date, five standards have been gazetted and work is advancing on regulation amendments for phased mandatory requirements to assess compliance to each. The approach holds great promise on many levels, says Ishmail. The Standard for Developing Skills through Infrastructure Contracts, for example, could result in R380 million annual spend on workplace training, 6 000 learning opportunities a year for further education and training of learners/artisans and 1 500 opportunities for candidates, while the Standard for Indirect Targeting for Enterprise Development could see R7 billion in contracts allocated each year to developing enterprises, with 500 contractors receiving developmental support. Standards still in the industry consultation phase are the Standard for Client Performance Reports, which will consistently assess performance of a client department; the Standard for Professional Service Providers (PSP) Performance Reports, which could reduce by 10% the cost of rework on professional services and cost of poor quality by 3% over three years, while adding annual value of R150 million, and the Standard for the Design of Green Buildings, which promises an annual saving of R350 million in electricity costs for non-residential buildings.
Everyone will benefit from application of the Scheme, says Ishmail. ‘It supports all five areas of the cidb transformation framework, from growing and redistributing the spoils to delivering value, enhancing corporate governance and securing commitment from the industry to transform from within. ‘Ultimately, clients will enjoy better value for money through contractor development, skills and lower project risks.
It will impact meaningfully on black enterprise development, participation of local enterprises, sub-contractor protection, and skills and quality of work life for construction workers, and will translate into more effective use of tax-payers’ money and improved service delivery of infrastructure.’