The December 2020 Construction Playbook provides government guidance on improving performance and outcomes from the procurement of public sector construction projects. It states that the ACA’s FAC-1 Framework Alliance Contract ‘is a good example of a standard form framework contract that can achieve… many of the ambitions set out in this Playbook’.

The Playbook shows how construction procurement can deliver the outcomes required by clients, including improved value and reduced risks, improved safety, social value and achievement of net zero carbon targets. It highlights the need for a sustainable pipeline of works and services, for the equitable treatment of risk and for the agreement of fair returns for consultants and contractors. The Playbook’s recommendations are supported by a ‘Compact with Industry’ which is signed by 48 leading consultants, contractors and industry bodies, including the British Property Federation and the Construction Industry Council.

Support for FAC-1 reflects the Playbook’s recommendations that ‘a successful framework contract should be based around principles that align objectives, success measures, targets and incentives so as to enable joint work on improving value and reducing risks’. This approach has been adopted in the framework alliances created by Crown Commercial Service, LHC, NHS Shared Business Services and Ministry of Justice, which between them have used FAC-1 for procurements with a total projected value of over £57 billion.

The Crown Commercial Service FAC-1 procurements include construction professional services with a total potential value of £ 1.3 billion in six lots (built environment & general infrastructure; urban regeneration; international; high rise; defence; environmental and sustainability technical services). The services in all lots include architectural, project management, cost consultancy, BIM, building services and civil and mechanical engineering.

The LHC procurements include Housing Construction Scotland consultancy services with a total potential value of £150 million and Housing Construction Southwest and Wales consultancy services with a total potential value of £70 million.

An example of FAC-1 being used to improve value on a specific works programme is provided by Ministry of Justice, who are working on a Playbook pathfinder to procure four new prisons worth approximately £1 billion. Their FAC-1 alliance will integrate the work of Mace, Kier, ISG, Laing O’Rourke and Wates and will support the use of early supply chain involvement, BIM and modern methods of construction to agree optimum designs and create strategic relationships with key tier 2 supply chain members.

The FAC-1 alliance will agree strategic commitments with tier 2 supply chain members for each key work package, bringing them into the alliance and preserving collaborative commitments to efficiency and improved value before and after the award of successive construction phase project contracts. FAC-1 will also create an ‘integrated information management contract’ that connects the IP licences and BIM contributions of the suppliers and supply chain members across the four prison projects.

Professor David Mosey, Centre of Construction Law, King’s College London ©David Mosey 2021