On 31 July, VicWater hosted interviews with law firms bidding to draft a whole of water industry construction contract. The water industry is embarking on a process to draft a common construction contract to comply with the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Directions for Public Construction Procurement.
VicWater is coordinating a reference group, chaired by Adam Cunningham (Barwon Water) and with representation from all water corporations to ensure compliance with the construction procurement reforms is achieved efficiently and minimise red tape. VicWater and the reference group has already had success in this regard, by coordinating the approval process within the Directions that allow the use of existing precedent contracts on a transitional basis. This has supported all water corporations meet this item under the annual attestation to the Minister for Finance.
Following the evaluation process, and approval by all participating water corporations, it is anticipated the successful firm will be formally appointed during September. The process to draft the new contract will continue into early 2021, and require significant input from reference group members to ensure the contract suitably reflects the diverse needs across the sector. Nevertheless, Adam Cunningham believes “this is a great example of working together rather than attempting to manage the new DTF requirements independently, or being required to use a whole of government standard contract which doesn’t meet the needs of water businesses.”