Collaboration Model for Construction Projects

Collaborative projects and relationships are more successful, productive and open to innovation. But there are a lot of factors that improve or kill a collaborative culture and relationship.

From GO Productivity’s perspective we see collaboration as important for company success. Our mandate is to help organizations grow and optimize, and often to do that organizations rely on other organizations as well – either in a project or operations supply chain environment. This is most noticeable in construction. We will start taking a look at the different models and standards available.

In this blog, we will start with our very own model. GO Productivity invested in considerable research in partnership with the Warren Company and developed the Aligned Construction Enterprise 3-volume book in 2012-14. This model can help showcase how collaboration has been successful and the general elements that make up the process to build collaborative relationships.

First consider the value and power distribution of the different types of relationships on this trust ladder. Do you experience these different relationship types?

When the relationship is more focused on who is the boss, who gets the money and who has accountability, then the partnership is limited in what value it can create and will have the aspect of power of division – responsibilities are spread out into silos.

The more trust that can be built, the more value can be created and the collective power of everyone involved can be shared and focused on success. For example when an issue arises in a project, multiple participants can step up to perform other tasks they wouldn’t usually do in order to ensure the success of the project.













This model suggests there are 5 key elements at the top of the trust ladder: the five collaboration C’s: these include a culture of cooperation, a charter everyone signs off on, a process to bring on new people to ensure consistency, many opportunities to bring up hidden expectations and lastly a legal contract.


How this might look for a project is shown in the process map above. Instead of diving straight into the scope and bidding & selection of contractors, this process suggests to start by co-developing strategy and culture of cooperation. And instead of a simple procurement strategy based on lowest cost of bids, there is a concerted value conversation with contractors. And immediately following the award of the work, we go into more detail to build a collaboration agreement and operational plan together. Also the governance, risks, rewards and performance management are co-created. And lastly, as we often encourage of our clients, continuous improvement is important – so having an element of openness to innovate and also collection of lessons learned throughout the process will be essential.

There is much more information out there to help you on your collaborative projects.

Coming Soon! The Construction Owners Association of Alberta is working on a Collaboration Framework that will go into the details of the different models available.

Contact us at if you are interested to learn more about Collaborative Working*

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