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Wates PCSA Playbook

A digital solution to produce a step change in collaboration with the client during the pre-construction services award phase of a project.

Our Experience

Wates PCSA Playbook

4 minute read

The challenge

The Pre-Construction Services Agreement (PCSA) phases typically last between 12 and 25 weeks and focus on agreeing a fixed price and programme for the project to be agreed with the client. The PCSA phase is intensive and fast moving, but is often resourced by construction-focused staff with little experience in bidding or commercial negotiations. To support the client, a long list of project management processes and deliverables must be in place in readiness for the main works to start. Tracking the delivery and readiness of these project management artefacts is a key requirement for the client.


Issues with the previous approach:

• Inefficient and slow reporting processes, resulting in long periods without updates to the client
• Inconsistent use of tools and templates, each PCSA project have different ways or working and reporting
• No single source of truth for procedures and best practices, creating reliance on experience and ‘heroes’ in the organisation
• Use of legacy schedules and templates restricted the ability to innovative or think creatively
• Too much internal focus on reporting, with client deliverables are not sufficiently prioritised

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We established that a Project Controls Portal would bring to life reporting on project performance to the client. We created a standard set of dashboards updated on a live basis. A web-based SharePoint site was set up for the client team to view and access project data and performance.


Project reporting was automated using standard data inputs linked directly to live project documents. Improved reporting allowed trend analysis from week to week, and month to month.


A complete overhaul of business process around handling project data and documentation created a system that improved internal project team collaboration, with optional sharing with the client.


Problems the portal has resolved are:

  • High resource effort on generating reporting as reports now automated

  • Inefficient and non-standard approaches to reporting as standard templates and lists have been introduced

  • Out of date or retrospective reports, now replaced with live instant-access dashboards

  • Snapshot data had no ‘direction or travel’; metrics now include historic trends

  • Difficulty in prioritising decisions and management actions, the team can now escalate decisions and risks that require action

  • Transparency and consistency of information and communication, the client can now self-serve performance data and access documents shared by the team directly

  • Client was unsighted on progress for extended periods; the client now receives regular timely and high quality reports in a consistent format

The solution

The impact

The new portal transformed the way that the Wates project team interacted with its client during the PCSA period. An open book relationship created a sense of ‘one team’ and allowed for closer collaboration on the project risks and opportunities in a shared space.


Benefits for the Wates pre-construction team included:

  • Improved collaboration and communication with the client includingshared documents and calendars

  • Increased focus on critical activities and more priority on performance and decision making

  • Improved data transparency and consistency including open sharing with client on key performance data

  • A single version of the truth for the project, no offline working or information storage

  • More efficient use of resources, with more time now spent on planning and delivery instead of reporting


The portal has subsequently been deployed on multiple projects in the region, creating a templated and standardised approach to managing the pre-construction phase.


It has been designed and built to provide a view of individual projects as well as a combined view of portfolio performance across the region.

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