New Code of Practice to improve collaboration in infrastructure alliances

The Infrastructure Client Group and ICE have launched an Alliancing Code of Practice (CoP) to help infrastructure companies work together more effectively on joint projects and avoid disputes.

ICG Alliancing Code of Practice

Chaired by Thames Tideway Tunnel chief executive Andy Mitchell, the Infrastructure Client Group works with industry, Government and ICE to drive client-led initiatives, address supply chain issues, and advise on collaboration between businesses with the intention of improving delivery. The ICG–developed CoP draws on experience from industry bodies, clients, delivery teams, consultants and academics to highlight:

  • Which aspects of alliance set up are most important
  • Lessons to consider at each stage
  • Instances when they are most applicable, and
  • The building blocks that need to be in place to ensure the effective development of alliances.

The web-based CoP offers a tool to help decision makers make informed choices when deciding to establish an alliance with other construction companies. It explains how to create, deliver and sustain a successful alliance that delivers benefits to clients, suppliers and end users of assets using an interactive grid matrix, case studies and a self-assessment tool.

In addition, the CoP offers guidance on how to avoid common pitfalls that can result in costly lawsuits, and enables infrastructure clients and companies to share experiences, develop their own guidance and best practice materials to assist delivery of future UK projects.

The UK construction industry has been criticised on its ability to deliver infrastructure efficiently due to the lack of collaboration between companies working jointly on projects – typically resulting in more waste and project rework. Government’s Construction 2025 targets have challenged industry to reduce the construction costs and whole-life cost of built assets by 33%, lower carbon emissions by 50%, and deliver projects 50% faster. ICG said the ACoP arms construction companies working on joint venture projects with a user-friendly tool that helps address the underlying difficulties of working collaboratively.               

The ICG said that it considers that with the right guidance on how to work collaboratively, companies can boost their prospects of meeting the Construction 2025 targets. Government’s construction strategy and the IUK Cost Review have also identified that efficiency savings could be delivered through reforming procurement practices and effecting behavioural and culture change – both of which will rely on successful alliancing. 

The Alliancing Code of Practice can be found here:

The Alliancing Code of Practice self-assessment tool can be found here:

The Alliancing Code of Practice case studies can be found here:


·         Behavioural Assessment to aid the selection of Alliance partners, UK Power Networks

·         Network Rail's Wessex alliance selection process, choosing for collaboration

·         High Performing Teams (HPT), Anglian Water @one Alliance

·         London Underground and the use of track partnerships

·         Bank Station Capacity Upgrade, London Underground

·         Carillion's view of the GNGE Alliance as a Participant

·         Network Rail, Selecting People in Leadership Positions for Collaborative Skills

·         Aligned commercial arrangements, Anglian Water @one Alliance

·         Surrey County Council 'Operation Horizon' Savings on Road Network Maintenance Budget from Collaboration


Alliance Reference Group members:

David Holmes, Carillion

Dale Evans, Anglian Water @one Alliance

Mike Pollard, Network Rail

Geoff Gilbert, Transport for London

Jon Allan, UK Power Networks

David O’ Neil, Highways Agency

Simon Murray, Acumen7 Network

Cabinet Office

HM Treasury

Charles Jensen, Institution of Civil Engineers

John Grimm, Anglian Water, @one Alliance

Neilan Perumal, Skanska, @one Alliance

Simon Vaughan, Consultant


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Who delivers the designs, who manages the programme? Who drives quality and who coordinates the disciplines. Who pours the concrete, installs the plant and cables it up? The answer is, not those people who undergo the behaviour tests. Not those people who set up and manage the alliances, not those people who run around throwing mud at each other. All things being equal, at the end of the day the engineer doing the work is a product of the British University system, has had pretty much the same experience as everyone else and likely made the same mistakes. This engineer has probably worked for various companies, companies that at different times are in alliances and at others in competition. But the same engineers circulate around delivering the product irrespective of whose logo they wear. The spiel, the glitz, the grand promises, the contractual biting, the mistrust come from the management. Those people driven by promises of bonuses, share options and the like. So how about this. Instead of the carousel of changing alliances that shuffle the same engineers around, lets maintain a Common Talent Pool and shuffle the management. Let them fight it out for the right to run the show, let them win their bonuses for growing their businesses but let us leave the engineers out of it. They will just jump ship from the losing firm to the winner anyway (if they want to pay the bill), especially when the winning company realises they don't have the workforce necessary to deliver on all their grandiose claims. So ultimately those who deliver the work don't change, only the standard bearers and the logos they wear. So how about we drop the perpetual 5 yearly shuffling and the corresponding costs and invest the savings in training and development of the Common Talent Pool. It would save us all a lot of time and trouble, reduce discontinuities and likely improve the transfer of knowledge across industries and generations.
Simon Vaughan - Director of JCP "For over 20 years, JCP has been shaping and developing alliances. This code brings, in one place, the best practices that will show progressive company. We know from experience that companies meet challenges along the way, but the benefits are enormous."