It’s not easy to pin it on just one thing, but there is a danger that the concept of working in partnership – particularly between the public and private sectors – is getting a bad name.
The political warfare over the Haringey Development Vehicle, the collapse of Carillion, the turmoil on the East Coast mainline. The idea of different sectors working together could become toxic.
And yet it is crucial that trust in the concept of partnership is restored, for the benefit of the UK and its economy.
At U+I, we’re committed to working in partnership and to restoring trust in the private sector’s ability to do so.
If we’re to achieve our mission to deliver long-term value through regeneration for local communities, we need the right partners to join us on that journey. Partners who share our values and ambitions, and in whom we can trust.
This commitment to fostering strong partnerships extends all the way to our approach to construction.
It is about approaching every site differently. We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to our developments – and the same applies to our partners. When choosing contractors, we match them to the size, the location and the complexity of the project at hand.
Of course, there’s a place for Tier Ones for some of our larger projects in London. But working with internationally owned giants whose authorisation comes from distant shores isn’t always in the best interests of the projects we work on in smaller cities in the UK.
That’s why we recently appointed Graham Construction as the first contractor on our £200m Preston Barracks development in Brighton. This is Graham’s biggest contract to date by some considerable margin, but it has huge advantages for us too. These SMEs have an attention to detail and propensity for innovation and fresh thinking that’s often unmatched by Tier Ones. Crucially, they also know the lay of the local land. That knowledge can be invaluable. For example, it allows us to reduce our carbon footprint through more efficient waste removal.