Partnering Workshops in a P3 Context

Agree is a pioneer in the facilitation of Partnering workshops in construction settings, at all levels of government and the private sector; for military, IT, justice, recreation, transportation, energy and health care sectors.  Agree has adapted the Partnering model to relationship management in joint ventures, union/management relationship building and public‑private partnerships (P3’s).

Public-private partnerships, or P3s, are partnerships between governments and the private sector to build public infrastructure like roads, hospitals or schools. Unlike traditional construction projects, a P3 integrates all components into one contract.  Depending on the specific P3 project, it could be managed by a joint venture responsible for the design, construction, financing, operations and on-going maintenance of the facility.  This blend of stakeholders requires the architect, the builder, the lender and the maintenance and/or operations provider to form a team that works cohesively to deliver an acceptable product to the public end-user/owner. 

Partnering is a facilitated process for aligning the business interests of a constellation of firms involved in a project to assist them in leveraging their strengths and mitigating the effects of competing interests on the business relationship.  Partnering workshops were originally developed to meet the needs of stakeholders on lengthy (3-5 year) projects.  With P3 projects these relationships need to be cohesive and productive over a 20 – 30 year project lifecycle.

For these complex P3 projects, Agree can facilitate workshops at key stages of the project: design/finance, construction, commissioning, transitioning and operations/maintenance. While partnering workshops are familiar to stakeholders at the constructionphase, Agree has successfully designed and facilitated workshops at the design/finance stage, and as many recent P3 projects for which we have facilitated construction phase workshops make the transition from construction to facilities maintenance we have developed a Partnering Program to enhance the development of a long term facilities maintenance relationship amongst the developer, owner and operator/maintainer.  

Our clients have found that, by the end of the construction stage, many of the players who participated in the construction partnering workshop have moved on to other projects, or have simply changed jobs, leaving a knowledge gap about the Project Agreement (“PA”) and how it is intended to operate during the critical long term relationship that follows construction.  

In order to address this, Agree includes in its Partnering Program several additional types of workshop.  The first is the Commissioning Workshop.  It includes most of the elements of the traditional construction partnering workshop and focusses on the fresh challenges and opportunities involved in occupying and testing the building systems.  

In our experience we have seen that there are some specialized teams and tasks involved and that many of the owner’s project people step back at this point while their end users become higher profile. The Commissioning Workshop allows these folks, who are often new to one another and sometimes to the project, to communicate around their shared objectives, their expectations of one another, as well as brainstorming some of the commissioning related challenges that come to the fore at this time.  

Once commissioning is complete and hand over takes place, the project’s facilities maintenance team steps up and develops, with the owner’s end user group, a new working culture.  Agree’s Facilities Maintenance Transitional Workshoppromotes a healthy working culture between these stakeholders by: 

  • Providing a Primer on how the Project Agreement works; 

  • Educating one another about each stakeholder’s Roles and Structures; 

  • Exploring and clarifying each organization’s expectations of the other; 

  • Discovering how to best derive value from the P3 Finance and Maintain format, including lessons learned and best practices from the field; 

  • Demonstrating how to problem solve issues in a way that supports win/win outcomes that leverage each partner’s strengths and supports and remedies any weak points in the way the work in organized or administered,

  • Developing an informal Issue Resolution protocol

Agree also designs custom made Partnership Re-alignment Workshopsat any stage of a P3 project in circumstances where the working relationship has begun to suffer and people are straying from a focus on shared interests.  

The Next Best Step: We invite you to call our office to discuss your facilitation needs – 1-800-524-6967.