Senior cost manager David Low outlines some of the key features that make ProCure21+ a first-class way to deliver value on a scheme

The Government Construction Strategy (GCS) calls for a profound change in the relationship between public authorities and the construction industry to ensure the Government consistently gets a good deal. As a key contributor to the GCS, the ProCure21+ framework is uniquely placed for the NHS to readily access a programme of measures that will improve value for money for the NHS.

Under the GCS, ProCure21+ aims to deliver efficiency savings of 14% by 2015: in simple terms, it should be possible to build the same hospital in 2015 for 14% less than in 2010. Savings are achieved through a combination of standardisation, greater bulk purchasing and better use of technology, and all Trusts using the framework will benefit from these initiatives. How will this be achieved at key stages in a project?

Firstly, the PSCPs are specifically asked to demonstrate how they will deliver efficiency savings as part of the scheme selection process. The framework has a comprehensive database of project costs that help set robust and challenging budgets; these provide a powerful reference point to drive down costs. Savings are systematically recorded using a new project efficiency tool, meaning that they can be readily incorporated into other projects.

Central Information Repository (CIR)

The ProCure21+ Central Information Repository (StandardShare and ProjectShare) will make the process of reusing design information across the NHS much easier, with a database of project information (available Spring 2013). PSCPs will upload design and cost data that will be freely available for other NHS clients to use under the framework, free of charge. The CIR will bring significant cost/time savings to the design process and provide an opportunity to challenge PSCPs to innovate and improve on previous designs.

Standardisation and bulk-buying

PSCPs are also developing standardisation and bulk-buying arrangements with key suppliers; these will be included on ProCure21+ designs to maximise the buying efficiencies and reduce costs for the client. The areas of focus include standardised components such as general fixtures and equipment, doors, ironmongery, floor finishes and suspended ceilings. If clients wish to specify an alternative product, the cost of doing so will be more visible.

Building Information Modelling

PSCPs are now moving towards incorporating the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) as standard on all ProCure21+ schemes. As well as aiding post-construction facilities management, BIM brings benefits and efficiency during design development and construction, promoting closer team-working and reducing abortive work during construction by improved visualisation of the design. The ProCure21+ team will be running Introductory Training Courses from Summer 2013.

All this work ensures that the NHS benefits from the GCS initiatives, providing a strong VfM offer – particularly compared with traditional tendering in a depressed market with contractors fighting to preserve non-existent margins. The practice of price-cutting and unsustainable tendering have contributed to over 5,500 construction firms becoming insolvent since 2010.

The PSCPs are offering a good value, sustainable proposition, with their efforts focused on delivering value to the NHS and building long-term relationships with Trusts.