Issue details

21/00075 - Independent Cost Consultancy Services

Proposed decision

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport is requested to give approval to:

 

a)    Procure a single supplier agreement to allow independent cost consultancy services to be made available to teams within Growth, Environment and Transport.

 

b)    Provide the Director of Transportation with the delegated authority to enter into the appropriate contractual arrangements for the provisions of the Independent Cost Consultancy Services, including future extensions.

 

Reason for the decision

Approvals to allow for the procurement of a single supplier agreement to allow for independent cost consultancy services to be engaged on highways projects.

 

Background

The Major Capital Programme Team have been using independent cost consultancy services for over 10 years to ensure that costings provided through the design process are realistic, that budgets are robust and to ensure that best value is achieved from highways, transportation and other civil engineering projects. The cost consultants have also provided support in the preparation of construction contracts and provided advice on contractual matters.

 

The Major Capital Programme Team consider that it is imperative to have an independent cost consultancy available to support the delivery of large-scale construction projects. The independence from the design work provides a 3rd party check which is used to support business cases and give greater confidence in project budgeting throughout the delivery of a scheme. This is particularly relevant in the short to medium term as the team continues to manage uncertainty around inflation and project delays facing the construction industry as a result of material and labour shortages.

 

Having an external supplier provide these services is more cost effective than employing staff with the relevant expertise in-house, particularly as the work load will vary and there is no guarantee that they could be fully utilised all year round. An external company provides resilience for the service, with a broad range of experience and the ability to manage the varying demand.

 

The availability and support of a single supplier allows for consistency in approach across the large forward programme of schemes which are being delivered. It also means that KCC can react quickly to the challenging timescales that are set by Central Government for external funding opportunities.

 

• Options (other options considered but discarded)

Frameworks - The team considered a number of existing frameworks that could be used to access cost consultancy services, but none of these frameworks provided contractual arrangements that suited the requirements for the service. As a result it has been determined that KCC will prepare contractual arrangements using the NEC4 suite of contracts.

 

• How the proposed decision meets the challenges in the Interim Strategic Plan Economic Challenge - Bring forward infrastructure to stimulate economic growth. The framework will support projects bringing central government funding into the county to invest in infrastructure, supporting the construction industry and supply chain and providing opportunities for green infrastructure.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 23/08/2021

Decision due: Not before 21st Sep 2021 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Contact: Teresa Vickers, County Fostering Manager Phone number: 03000 419370 E-mail:  Victoria.soames@kent.gov.uk  teresa.vickers@kent.gov.uk.

Financial implications: Future commissions will be funded by capital project budgets and via team revenue budgets, if necessary, for projects that are awaiting capital funding. It is expected that the new arrangements will support expenditure of up to £4m over the contractual period (up to 5 years). There will be no workload guarantee. The contractual arrangements will operate on agreed rates and value for money will be assessed through the tender process through a price and quality assessment.

Legal implications: Legal support will be sought in the preparation and execution of the new arrangements. The procurement will follow the relevant procurement regulations.

Equalities implications: An EqIA has been completed. There is no adverse impact for any of the protected groups for this service.

Decisions

Agenda items