News & Insights

Collaboration is key to enabling innovation to drive value


By Richard Dobson, Morgan Sindall Construction’s London area director.

Collaboration that supports and enables innovation is at the heart of positive partnerships. Following Morgan Sindall Construction’s appointment to deliver a major expansion to Evelina London Children’s Hospital, our team harnessed this approach to drive value and enhance the project’s early design stage.

Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed to deliver a new five-storey development to provide expanded clinical services at the peak of the pandemic in August 2020. The project was procured under the Southern Construction Framework (SCF), a quality-managed collaborative construction framework for public bodies to procure major building works using a two-stage open book process to deliver best value.

The pandemic has significantly shifted the landscape for clients - throwing up new challenges and obstacles for consideration, particularly at the crucial early design stage. By working closely with the team at Evelina at the very outset of the project, we have been able to support the hospital to realise their ambition for this complex development by engaging early to shape the pre-construction phase of the development and innovate to engineer value without compromising on quality.

This early engagement allowed our team to leverage their huge experience of delivering complex healthcare developments in extremely restrictive, prominent urban locations in the capital. This meant the team was able to unlock challenging logistics and develop a detailed construction delivery plan, taking full account of live environment in which the project is being built.

We also worked closely with the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ during the vital early design phase of the development to develop detailed construction methodology plans on this logistically tight site. This meant we were also able to support the team on the design development for the project, to ensure work could progress successfully, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Communication is at the heart of effective collaboration and by harnessing virtual tools such as Zoom and Teams, we were able to host regular meetings and drive and deepen engagement throughout lockdown. This regular engagement helped to ensure optimum value through knowledge sharing and collaboration - with project partners bringing real value by leveraging their experience and insight to suggest innovative approaches which could drive cost and performance benefits.

Open and regular meetings that engaged the hospital, the project design team, and subcontractors were supported by arranging regular value engineering workshops to lower cost and enhance quality through value engineering and innovation. We also brought in a selection of our highly-experienced specialist subcontractors at an early stage to benefit from their insight and support with piling and services design.

Our team also held specific NEC (engineering and construction contract) workshops for all parties to familiarise themselves with the contract requirements, and created the Information Required Schedule with the design team in parallel so that the programme would consistently reflect any changes. Coupled with regular meetings with the client and design team, this not only encouraged greater focus on detail but also enabled open and frank discussions, which helped to drive a positive outcome, with key points agreed objectively and collaboratively.

As a result of early engagement and positive collaboration between all project partners, work on the development started on schedule, to budget, and is on track for scheduled completion, with key milestones and targets being met.

Despite the significant challenges that Covid-19 has thrown up – working closely with our client and project team to innovate and collaborate to engineer value at the critical early stage of this important development, has been an incredibly rewarding journey, where every project partner has contributed to creating a truly world class development that will provide life-changing care for children, young people and their families.

  • For more information about this news release please contact Ruth Cobban at Influential on 07814 556 567 or email