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The following are extracts from a handbook produced as part of the MoD's 'Building down Barriers' initiative which now has two live projects on site.

'Prime contracting is a systematic approach to the procurement and maintenance of buildings. It draws on the best available tools, techniques and practices, including through-life costing, supply chain management, value engineering and risk management, to achieve significant efficiency of the completed building.

'Prime contracting replaces short-term, contractually driven single project adversarial inter-company relationships based on trust and co-operation. These long-term, strategic supply chain alliances incorporate continuous improvement targets to reduce costs and enhance quality, and focus on the through-life cost and functional performance of buildings.

'For owners and occupants, the benefits are buildings that are cheaper in both initial capital and long-term running costs, that provide a reasonably accurate forecast of the annual maintenance and energy costs, and that facilitate maximum effectiveness for the activities housed within them. For the construction industry, the benefits are a radical reduction in waste and inefficiency, improved portability, non-adversarial supply chain relations, greater certainty of repeat orders and delighted clients.'

From Prime Contractor Handbook of Supply Chain Management by Richard Holti and Davide Nicolini, the Tavistock Institute, and Mark Smalley, Warwick Manufacturing Centre.

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