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DCS Chair discusses ICMS and Supplier Diversity with the City of Atlanta

A recent visit to the City of Atlanta, Georgia, USA presented fruit not quite ripe for the picking, but the continued observation [over a well-documented period of 18yrs] amidst other peripheral conversations, has in fact yielded timely low hanging ‘fruitful’ opportunities. The decision to miss the RICS’ 150th Year Celebratory Dinner – following kind invitation from Sean Tompkins, Chief Executive, RICS – left me torn and somewhat indecisive but simply put, one had to be in Atlanta for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, there was a firm commitment to the positive dialogue with the School of Building Construction at Georgia Tech concerning our new offer - Advanced Construction Cost Management with possible RICS accreditation of same as a future aspiration (duly proposed to Neil Shah, MD - RICS Americas and his team over in New York). Of equal importance, a second, key presentation [more of an informed discussion really] which had been brought forward by a month by the Office of the Mayor, City of Atlanta, which proved to be a highlight and the main event.

Working closely with Alan Muse, Global Director of Built Environment Professional Groups, at RICS HQ in London, I was invited by the Office of Contract Compliance, via the Office of the Mayor, City of Atlanta to present the wider business case for ‘professional’ construction cost management with regards public body CAPEX and OPEX, across their real estate portfolio.

The presentation to the Office of Contract Compliance (OCC) about the role of cost managers (QS’s) and discipline of construction cost management (with reference to the recent launch of ICMS) has now been established and was warmly received by those present on the day. To this end, my conversation with the Senior Management Team at the OCC, led by Larry Scott, has successfully established an exciting, meaningful and sustainable working relationship. Notably, the wider work of the award winning pan-London, Moving On Up initiative [working with the Mayor’s Office in London] has also fuelled much in the name of trans-Atlantic partnerships, given the common ‘socio-economic’ denominators.

The City of Atlanta currently spend in the order of $2.4billion per annum, buying goods and services with an (on average) minority participation – across their public dollar spend – of some 33%. The legacy of such a measured corporate approach to Supplier Diversity, not yet seen anywhere in Europe, (specifically the UK) is that a legislative targeted commitment has been designed to suit the myriad needs of the ‘hard to reach, minority, women and veteran owned’ business community – and has made the City of Atlanta, located within the State of Georgia, one of the most successful bastions of diverse Supply Chains. It is worth noting that the success of the local economy, in Atlanta, is largely due to the activities, instigated solely by one man during the late 1970’s, the revered Maynard Jackson. May his blessed soul rest in peace.

Yes, anything is possible if you believe in it, so less talk and more action – #BeTheChange

For more information on the International Construction Measurement Standards [ICMS] click here

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