Article Business Practice

Benchmarking Survey Results

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The Business Practice WG would like to thank all those who contributed to the site investigation benchmarking survey initiative.

The survey ran from June 2005 to March 2006 and included 58 projects, evenly split between the public and private sectors and ranging in value from £2.5k to £400k.

Members were asked to complete a ‘tick box’ questionnaire developed by the Working Group to cover eleven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPI categories are summarised below:


KPI (1)           Appointment (Personnel, Responsibilities)

KPI (2)           Preparation (Desk Study, Walkover Survey, Reports)

KPI (3)           Design (SI Design, Laboratory Testing)

KPI (4)           Risk Management (Risk, Availability of Information)

KPI (5)           Procurement ( GI Procurement Route , SI Award, Method of Measurement, Conditions of Contract, Specification)

KPI (6)           Management (Project Management, Quality Management, Environmental Management)

KPI (7)           Supervision

KPI (8)           Reporting (Factual)

KPI (9)           Reporting (Interpretative Report, Ground Model)

KPI (10)         Outcome

KPI (11)         Client Satisfaction


The results are presented below in the form of a series of spider diagrams selected to filter the data so that potential trends / anomalies can be identified. The accompanying comments are made as observations only.

All Data

Highest scores were recorded for KPI 1(Appointment), KPI 4 (Risk Management), KPI 8 (Factual Reporting) and KPI 9 (Interpretative Reporting). No scores dropped below 5 and the lowest score was recorded for KPI 2 (Preparation), see Consultant / Contractor split below. The results are presented as the pink line in Figure 1.

Consultant / Contractor Split

An approximately equal number of responses were received from Consultants, Contractors and Contractor Consultants. Figure 1compares the results returned from Contractors and Consultants.

KPI 2 (Preparation) shows greatest variation in responses and shows Contractors recorded an average score of just over 2 for this KPI. The reason for this is unclear but may have been influenced by the ‘tick box’ options which would return a low score if a desk study had not been seen.

For KPI 5 (Procurement), KPI 6 (Management) and KPI 11 (Client Satisfaction) Contractors scored projects more highly than Consultants. All other KPIs were scored more highly by the Consultants.

Small and Large Project Split (£20k)

Approximately half the projects in the survey had a value of more than £20k. The results for the £20k split are presented in Figure 2and indicate that projects with a value of a more  than £20k attained a higher score for KPI (1) (Appointment), KPI 2 (Preparation), KPI 9 (Reporting) and KPI10 (Outcome), but surprisingly scored lower for KPI 11 (Client Satisfaction).

Geotechnical / Geoenvironmental Split

It can be seen from Figure 3 that for KPI 3 (Design) and KPI 10 (Outcome) investigations undertaken for geoenvironmental purposes scored more highly than those undertaken for geotechnical purposes, but attained a lower score for KPI 4 (Risk Management) and KPI 5 (Procurement). This is interesting as a greater score would be obtained for KPI4 if environmental protection measures were in place. The reason for the variation in KPI 5 is unclear.

 The Next Stage

  The next stage will be to take the survey to a number of large public and private client bodies. Watch this space to see how they rate the industry.