Sum

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Sum's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Sum is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.wearesum.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | AMS
Queen Alexandra Hospital
Throughout the years we have become
known for delivering ambitious
projects like these, not only within
tight timeframes but also without
causing disruption to the client’s
operations. It is because of this
reputation that we were requested
to take over from Carillion at Queen
Alexandra Hospital after their collapse
in 2018.
The urgency surrounding the project
was palpable, as Carillion had left a
multitude of incomplete projects in
an NHS hospital trying to function at
full capacity. Our priority was to pick
up these tasks immediately, without
causing any further disturbance to
the staff. Within 12 months we had
already completed approximately
135 of these outstanding projects.
Indeed, the client commented that
we seemed to have achieved more
in eight months than Carillion had in
three years.
Not only did we complete what plans
had already been set out without
break in delivery, but we also improved
upon them. One of the most pressing
and extensive assignments was the
renewal of the underground steam
duct system that had been put in place
in the 1950s and 1960s. Carillion’s
original solution was only to upgrade
the current system and at an even
shallower depth, which we knew
would cause problems in years to
come and would probably need to
be replaced again in the future. By
introducing our design and build
approach, we gave the client deeper
insight and understanding of other,
more innovative options. In September
2018, we completed the total renewal
of the water system to 68 on-site
staffing apartments over a three-
weekperiod.
We were brought into this project
on a short-term contract, knowing
that we could be trusted to stem the
discord following Carillion’s leave.
But having seen the efficiency and
effectiveness of how we work, the
client and the residual Carillion staff
have agreed that we should continue
to lead the project.
Twenty-five years in the
business
Work continues in Portsmouth at
the Queen Alexandra Hospital with
a steady team in place. Business
also takes us to the Highlands and
Islands of Scotland, implementing
new O2 networks, and most recently
to Manchester, installing a system of
government smart meters.
As we approach our 25th anniversary,
we question how much longer
before our methods become the
new traditional. We hope that future
small businesses will be given the
opportunity to prove the worth of
their ingenuity, not just for the good
of their economy but for clients,
the institutions they build and
the generations that will depend
uponthem.
What we call
smart
consultancy
Queen Alexandra
Hospital, Portsmouth
27SUM |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Founder and Managing Director
Andrew Schmidt
Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre,
Leeds North East for Leeds Local
Education Partnership
Sum offer assurance throughout all stages of a construction
project. They work across a variety of sectors but have
particular expertise in the education sector, having
completed over 65 projects with Leeds Beckett University,
alongside working with the University of Leeds and the
University of Hull. Founding Director Andrew Schmidt explains
the issues facing SMEs in trying to win work and how retention
deductions can cause cashflow issues among subcontractors.
At all stages throughout a construction project, we provide professional services
that ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness and successful outcomes. Whether it’s
a flagship university building, a new school or a commercial tower in the City,
we ensure that the contract and cost management processes of large-scale
construction projects run smoothly.
Our services are tailored to our clients’ requirements, and we have a track record
of developing talented people to work in construction via our academy. Our highly
trained professionals work in specialist teams on each aspect of our business.
In simple terms, our services can be broken down into four distinct segments:
project management, cost management, dispute resolution and niche services.
Niche services encompass our specialist knowledge in areas such as steelwork,
sustainability, measurement, and mechanical and electrical cost management.
By becoming a leading authority in specific areas, such as adjudication case
management and the resolution of payment disputes, our offer to clients is unique.
Even our competitors buy our services when they don’t have the necessary expert
knowledge in-house.
FACTS ABOUT
SUM
»Founder and Managing
Director: Andrew Schmidt
»Established in 2012
»Based in Leeds
»Services: Project management,
cost management, dispute
resolution and niche services
»No. of employees: 16
Sum
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | SUM
Expertise in the education
sector
Recent years have proven lucrative. Last
year, we worked on projects totalling
£250 million and have hit record
turnover figures for the last three
years. This is largely down to success in
both dispute resolution and education,
with both areas delivering double-digit
growth over the past sixyears.
Moving on considerably from our
early days working for developers on
residential projects, we now enjoy a
reputation as experts in the education
sector, supporting the construction
of university buildings and schools.
Our expertise is being made real
around many campuses in the north
of England in the form of impressive,
high-tech, high-value build projects.
Most recently, we have been working
with Leeds Beckett University on their
new £90 million Creative Arts Building,
which will be home to their School of
Film, Music and Performing Arts, and
their £45 million Carnegie Teaching
and Research Building, the home for
the Carnegie School of Sport. We
have held framework agreements with
Leeds Beckett University for several
years, partnering on 65 successful
projects to date.
We are also working with the
University of Leeds after securing a
place on their professional services
framework, delivering quantity
surveying services on projects until
2020. The scope for this work is
considerable, with the university
committing more than half a billion
pounds towards their current capital
development programme. Completing
our hat trick of university clients is
the University of Hull, who we are
working with on a new engineering
faculty building and a further project
of national importance.
The public tendering
challenges that face SMEs
While we have been fortunate in
securing work in the education
sector and local government,
significant barriers to entry exist for
SMEs in terms of winning work for
government departments. The work
is often awarded to the big national
or international players, which
ironically often subcontract elements
to smaller firms with more detailed
localknowledge.
From our perspective, choosing firms
local to the project can have important
benefits and reduce cost and risk.
Smaller firms like ours tend to have
owners with a vested interest in their
projects and will go above and beyond
to ensure client satisfaction. In terms
of risk, the demise of large providers
like Carillion proves that size is no
guarantee of stability. In our view,
companies’ balance sheets should
become increasingly important in
procurement. This may benefit smaller
companies like ours, who must keep
a tight rein on finances, maintain
decent cash reserves and have no
debt. Conversely, some of the largest,
best-known companies have significant
levels of debt on their balance sheets,
which may work against them in the
tender process, particularly if interest
rates rise in the future.
Work underway at Leeds
Beckett University’s new
£90 million Creative Arts
Building
Our expertise in
steelwork was
employed on this City
of London landmark
The
introduction
of graduate
apprenticeships
is proving
beneficial for
candidates and
employers
29SUM |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Another challenge is the lack of
investment in technology. While
building information modelling should
improve operational and estate
efficiencies, IT in construction lags
behind that in other sectors. There is
scope for considerable industry-wide
improvement and disruption through
the use of better tech.
A significant percentage of our annual
revenues comes from university
capital investment programmes,
so news that international student
numbers and potential fee incomes
could be declining due to perceptions
around Brexit is concerning. More
positively, the introduction of graduate
apprenticeships in quantity surveying is
proving beneficial for candidates and
employers. Our industry continues to
struggle with recruitment and skills
shortages, so this initiative has been
well received.
The impact of retentions
One area where we would welcome
change is retentions. Retentions are
the percentage of the total payment
due to a contractor that is retained
by the client to ensure that work is
properly completed. Retentions are
often imposed on subcontractors
throughout the supply chain too. This
can cause cashflow issues, particularly
for SMEs, who can have payments
withheld due to issues caused by other
suppliers over which they have no
control. TheConstruction (Retention
Deposit Schemes) Bill 2017-19, a
private member’s bill introduced in
January 2018, is to be commended
for raising awareness of the issue, but
we would like to go further and see
retentions abolished altogether.
We would also like to see the
adoption and promotion of project
bank accounts to ensure the smooth,
timely movement of funds throughout
the supply chain during what can be
extremely lengthy projects. Otherwise,
large contractors can effectively use
SMEs as a free credit supply.
Finally, the process of adjudication is
an excellent way to resolve disputes
in construction projects quickly and
easily. It has also created a revenue
stream for us, being formally qualified
to represent clients in adjudication.
However, the restrictions around
which sectors can use adjudication
could be relaxed. For example, a
dispute around the building work
for a power station is exempt from
adjudication and must go through
lengthy legal proceedings, even
though the dispute could be a
straightforward construction issue.
The close of this decade looks set
to be an exciting period for us, with
plans well underway to open an office
in Manchester to target civic projects
and universities in the North West.
Our aim is to become a truly national
player and expand our work both
geographically and across sectors
while maintaining our foothold in
the areas in which we are now well
known and respected.
Smaller firms
like ours tend to
have owners
with a vested
interest in their
projects and will
go above and
beyond to
ensure client
satisfaction
Artist’s impression
of Leeds Beckett
University’s £45 million
Carnegie Teaching and
Research Building
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | SUM
Expertise in the education
sector
Recent years have proven lucrative. Last
year, we worked on projects totalling
£250 million and have hit record
turnover figures for the last three
years. This is largely down to success in
both dispute resolution and education,
with both areas delivering double-digit
growth over the past sixyears.
Moving on considerably from our
early days working for developers on
residential projects, we now enjoy a
reputation as experts in the education
sector, supporting the construction
of university buildings and schools.
Our expertise is being made real
around many campuses in the north
of England in the form of impressive,
high-tech, high-value build projects.
Most recently, we have been working
with Leeds Beckett University on their
new £90 million Creative Arts Building,
which will be home to their School of
Film, Music and Performing Arts, and
their £45 million Carnegie Teaching
and Research Building, the home for
the Carnegie School of Sport. We
have held framework agreements with
Leeds Beckett University for several
years, partnering on 65 successful
projects to date.
We are also working with the
University of Leeds after securing a
place on their professional services
framework, delivering quantity
surveying services on projects until
2020. The scope for this work is
considerable, with the university
committing more than half a billion
pounds towards their current capital
development programme. Completing
our hat trick of university clients is
the University of Hull, who we are
working with on a new engineering
faculty building and a further project
of national importance.
The public tendering
challenges that face SMEs
While we have been fortunate in
securing work in the education
sector and local government,
significant barriers to entry exist for
SMEs in terms of winning work for
government departments. The work
is often awarded to the big national
or international players, which
ironically often subcontract elements
to smaller firms with more detailed
localknowledge.
From our perspective, choosing firms
local to the project can have important
benefits and reduce cost and risk.
Smaller firms like ours tend to have
owners with a vested interest in their
projects and will go above and beyond
to ensure client satisfaction. In terms
of risk, the demise of large providers
like Carillion proves that size is no
guarantee of stability. In our view,
companies’ balance sheets should
become increasingly important in
procurement. This may benefit smaller
companies like ours, who must keep
a tight rein on finances, maintain
decent cash reserves and have no
debt. Conversely, some of the largest,
best-known companies have significant
levels of debt on their balance sheets,
which may work against them in the
tender process, particularly if interest
rates rise in the future.
Work underway at Leeds
Beckett University’s new
£90 million Creative Arts
Building
Our expertise in
steelwork was
employed on this City
of London landmark
The
introduction
of graduate
apprenticeships
is proving
beneficial for
candidates and
employers
29SUM |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Another challenge is the lack of
investment in technology. While
building information modelling should
improve operational and estate
efficiencies, IT in construction lags
behind that in other sectors. There is
scope for considerable industry-wide
improvement and disruption through
the use of better tech.
A significant percentage of our annual
revenues comes from university
capital investment programmes,
so news that international student
numbers and potential fee incomes
could be declining due to perceptions
around Brexit is concerning. More
positively, the introduction of graduate
apprenticeships in quantity surveying is
proving beneficial for candidates and
employers. Our industry continues to
struggle with recruitment and skills
shortages, so this initiative has been
well received.
The impact of retentions
One area where we would welcome
change is retentions. Retentions are
the percentage of the total payment
due to a contractor that is retained
by the client to ensure that work is
properly completed. Retentions are
often imposed on subcontractors
throughout the supply chain too. This
can cause cashflow issues, particularly
for SMEs, who can have payments
withheld due to issues caused by other
suppliers over which they have no
control. TheConstruction (Retention
Deposit Schemes) Bill 2017-19, a
private member’s bill introduced in
January 2018, is to be commended
for raising awareness of the issue, but
we would like to go further and see
retentions abolished altogether.
We would also like to see the
adoption and promotion of project
bank accounts to ensure the smooth,
timely movement of funds throughout
the supply chain during what can be
extremely lengthy projects. Otherwise,
large contractors can effectively use
SMEs as a free credit supply.
Finally, the process of adjudication is
an excellent way to resolve disputes
in construction projects quickly and
easily. It has also created a revenue
stream for us, being formally qualified
to represent clients in adjudication.
However, the restrictions around
which sectors can use adjudication
could be relaxed. For example, a
dispute around the building work
for a power station is exempt from
adjudication and must go through
lengthy legal proceedings, even
though the dispute could be a
straightforward construction issue.
The close of this decade looks set
to be an exciting period for us, with
plans well underway to open an office
in Manchester to target civic projects
and universities in the North West.
Our aim is to become a truly national
player and expand our work both
geographically and across sectors
while maintaining our foothold in
the areas in which we are now well
known and respected.
Smaller firms
like ours tend to
have owners
with a vested
interest in their
projects and will
go above and
beyond to
ensure client
satisfaction
Artist’s impression
of Leeds Beckett
University’s £45 million
Carnegie Teaching and
Research Building

www.wearesum.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Sum. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster