Laurence Reilly, our newly appointed Head of Design Management, is an experienced and highly respected construction manager. His switch to the design camp is an enlightened and, we hope, strategically important move. Here we explain his plans for gearing our offer more closely to the needs of contractors, particularly important as the industry shifts more surely towards DfMA.
Architects know how to design good quality. Contractors know how to build good quality. Where the industry falls down is in integrating the two. This state of affairs erodes value for the head client, building users, and society at large.
As our first Head of Design Management, Laurence aims to bridge the gap between designers and builders, seeing his role as that of translator, interpreter, and ambassador.
Fortunately, Laurence speaks fluent ‘Contractor’. Coming from a family of builders, he started his career as a joiner in Manchester before graduating with a degree in construction management from Leeds University. Now with over twenty years at the construction coalface with some of the country’s biggest contractors – most recently with Kier Group in the South West of England – he is thoroughly versed in the issues that keep contractors awake at night. As he says,
Most contractors are straightforward people. They think about risks, programmes, and liability. Understand that and you have the key to what architects need to pay attention to.
That empathetic perspective will be put to good use at Stride Treglown. Already with a hard-won reputation for excellence in delivery, we are determined to iron out the more stubborn wrinkles in our relationships with contractor clients by avoiding unnecessary cost and time – with Laurence’s help.
His initial focus will be to listen and advise, visiting all of our regional offices to gain a thorough understanding of our standard quality management procedures and sitting in on project design reviews.
The senior management team is excited to make use of his unique perspective and expertise to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of the service that contractor clients experience when working with us.
Top of the wishlist is to define project targets and role responsibilities more precisely up front and to cure the perennial headaches of scope creep and being contractually distanced from key sub-consultants. For example, timely and unhindered collaboration with mechanical and electrical engineers on technically challenging laboratory or hospital projects is a cherished ambition too often thwarted under typical design and build procurement conditions.
Beyond that, Laurence will take on an ambassadorial role, building relationships with contractors and keeping the whole of Stride Treglown one step ahead of the increasingly onerous regulatory, risk management and insurance landscape.
Long-term, he will help to improve our internal quality management processes, focusing on knowledge capture, in-house sharing and learning. The system should evolve into an equitable project management framework to plan team coordination properly and feature a built-in early warning system to flag up non-performance and late delivery impacts. The initiative should give us a firm basis for taking on more design manager appointments.
With DfMA and offsite construction growing in popularity, the future of construction management faces considerable uncertainty as new entrants from manufacturing backgrounds take on unfamiliar on-site roles. With Laurence’s knowledge, experience and strategic insights, we will be ready to smooth the transition.
Ultimately, his role is about better communication, better use of resources, better results and a more enjoyable experience all round.
Our industry is about people skills and a fair economy of favours. Open, honest, and reasonable dialogue is how we resolve challenges efficiently and build stronger relationships long-term.
Let’s start building those relationships… Get in touch with Laurence if you’d like to chat about improved ways of working with us, or just to say hello!